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The Nationals are sniffing around for center fielders

Apr 18, 2011, 7:51 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers v Washington Nationals Getty Images

The Nationals must have finally realized they are starting Rick Ankiel in center field on most nights, because Ken Rosenthal of writes that they are currently searching for an upgrade.

Nyjer Morgan wore out his welcome in Washington, so it was hard to blame them for trading him to the Brewers before the start of the season, but they’ve been stuck with a less than inspiring platoon of Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. until this point.

Ankiel is batting just .211 (12-for-57) to begin the season and isn’t an above average defender to begin with while Hairston is batting.154, albiet in just 26 at-bats. Rosenthal writes that club officials are mixed on Roger Bernadina, who is currently playing with Triple-A Syracuse.

Rosenthal doesn’t give us much as far as any current targets, writing that the Nationals could be “linked to any and all available center fielders,” but he does bring up B.J. Upton, who is from the same area of Virgina as Ryan Zimmerman. Of course, the Rays won’t likely entertain the possibility of trading Upton unless (or until) they fall out of contention.

  1. pipkin42 - Apr 18, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    What about Felix Pie? He’s not playing much for the Orioles.

    • randomdigits - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      The problem with Pie is that leaves the O’s with no one on the roster or in the pipeline (unless you count 0 bat Angle) to back up Adam Jones in CF and Jones is not the icon of durability that Cakes is.

      That lack of depth will drive up the asking price for Pie.

      • jimbo1949 - Apr 19, 2011 at 12:15 PM

        What’ll it do to the price of Cake?

  2. elmaquino - Apr 18, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    That sucks. I like Ankiel.

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      I love Rick to, but since 2009, he has hit just .230/.297/.380 with 18 home runs in 640 at bats. Add in his shaky defense, and no team can justify giving him much playing time.
      That state line would be impressive if he was pitching though…

  3. cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    I’m a big fan of Roger Bernadina, the only man I’ve ever had a bromance for. How can you not? He was the only guy in spring training who was legitimately in the best shape of his life. I’m rooting for Roger Bernadina as the everyday center fielder with Ankiel as his backup.

    • sharkadina - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      Have you seen Bernadina’s unofficial blog? It’s at Roger approves of it, too!

      • cur68 - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:50 AM

        Hi Roger. I know its you. Stop blogging and go work on your batting. You got a job to compete for man!

  4. cavredleg15 - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Here is my question. If the Nationals are(possibly) looking at BJ Upton. What are they willing to give up? As a Rays fan looking at the Nats 40 man and Farm teams I’d rather the Rays hold on to BJ and let him leave as a (i think) type A FA.

  5. kcroyal - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    The Royals will take Ramos for Melky…straight up.

    • momcd87 - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:39 AM

      That would be a terrible deal for the gNats…

      • kcroyal - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:45 AM


  6. BC - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Ankiel has a cannon for an arm, but he should be playing a corner spot.

  7. Joe - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    If his bat’s a liability in centerfield, it’s a huge liability at a corner spot.

  8. sharkadina - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    The Nationals already have a Shark waiting in the minors. Roger Bernadina proved last year that he could hit major league pitching. Last year, he hit more HR than Ankiel did in the last 2 years combined (and more than Stairs hit in the last 2 years combined, for that matter) Rather than looking for options outside the organization, the Nats should look within. They would find Bernadina, who happens to be one of the best defensive players in the game. The man is a walking highlight reel.

    Promote the Shark!

    • BC - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:07 AM

      No dissing on Matt Stairs!

      • cur68 - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:55 AM

        Easy BC; Roger (or maybe its Roger’s girlfriend, I can’t tell which) is just looking to point out the obvious. Bernadina deserves a chance to play. His numbers are better than MS’s. Stairs has had an excellent career. I think its probably time to consider a coaching job, though.

  9. sharkadina - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Wrong, just a couple of Roger Bernadina super fans (

    Is Matt Stairs still batting .000?

    • cur68 - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:19 PM

      No dissing on Matt Stairs! He’s the pride of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Matt got his start with the bat in the seal hunt as boy, you know (I’m kidding), so you guys better watch out. RB doesn’t need to step on MS to get his shot, only hit well and field his position well. He’ll be up soon, I bet.

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