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Nationals shopping infielder Danny Espinosa

Dec 9, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT

Danny Espinosa AP AP

Danny Espinosa lost his starting second base job to Anthony Rendon this past season and now he could be on the move. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Nationals are listening to offers on the 26-year-old infielder.

Espinosa attempted to play through wrist and shoulder injuries in 2013 while batting just .158/.193/.272 with three home runs and a ghastly 47/4 K/BB ratio through 44 games at the major league level. His struggles continued following a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse in June and the Nationals decided against bringing him back as a September call-up.

The Nationals traded Steve Lombardozzi to the Tigers in the Doug Fister deal last week, so Espinosa is currently projected to fill his utility infielder role. Of course, things could change if someone comes along with the right offer. While Espinosa has obvious issues with plate discipline, he doesn’t turn 27 until April and offers defensive versatility along with pop and speed. He could be a buy-low target for someone.

  1. phillysports1 - Dec 9, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Oakland .

    • Old Gator - Dec 9, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      How far is that from Macondo?

    • clydeserra - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      no. they have 4 middle infielders now. all better than espinosa. he can play a little short which is his only saving grace

  2. rhmurphy - Dec 9, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Boston

  3. spudchukar - Dec 9, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    I know the dude’s stock has fallen, but a lot of talent to be totally dismissed.

    • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:39 AM

      Considering that he is a switch hitter that can play plus 2B and solid SS and probably could learn to play a plus 3B, he’d be a pretty sweet bench piece for the Cards….and might finally get them to DFA Kozma (or trade Descalso)….depending on the cost, of course.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 8:12 AM

        Yeah, that was what I, of course was considering too. However, I disagree about the DFA and trade of Descalso. Kozma should be sent out to Memphis, he still has value as a stop gap SS in case of emergency, his glove is better than anything they could find elsewhere, and Descalso, who is also the emergency third catcher should be retained as a second utility infielder. Each could also take reps in the corner outfield spots.

        With both Jay and Robinson still viable outfield replacements it will be interesting to see who stays as utility guys, and whether the Cards make a move for a right-handed hitting corner outfielder/first base type guy to spell Adams against tough lefties. This assumes of course that Taveras starts in AAA, where he probably should, if nothing else to show he has fully recovered from the ankle.

        As much as I am not a particular fan of Trumbo, he would fit that need, but is probably too expensive.

        A plethora of young arms is nice, but with 9 viable starters battling for 5 spots, and teams clamoring for the likes of Arroyo, Hudson, Kazmir, Colon etc., it is hard to see how guys like Gast and Lyons aren’t in demand. Particularly for cash strapped team. Maybe the thinking is better to be in our Minor League system than some competitor’s roster, but at some point it does become a glut.

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        I don’t see Trumbo fitting any need at all. He can hit HRs, and he plays okay 1B, and that is it. He’s big, not young, not fast, not athletic, not versatile, and can’t figure out how to get on base or how to not swing at breaking stuff out of the zone.

        Kozma is pretty much useless. He probably can’t hit AA pitching. AA is full of guys that can play good SS and can’t hit. To me, Descalso is versatile in that he can play bad defense at lot of positions and he generally can’t hit. Neither guy is really very useful…the only good thing about having them on the bench is that you aren’t wasting development time….because there isn’t anything there to develop.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        We will continue to disagree. Kozma isn’t just an OK defender. He lacks some range, particularly to his left, other than that he is as good as there is in Baseball.

        Descalso, gets miscast when forced to play SS. He wasn’t as good defensively in 2013, a little too quick with his hands, and at times tries too hard to make fantastic plays, but prior to that he was a Gold Glove worthy defender at 3B, and above average as a second baseman, and his versatility, makes him an ideal utility guy. His bat isn’t great, but it isn’t bad either, and he displays some pop, and he shows signs of progressing as a hitter.

        You seem to contradict yourself regarding Trumbo. As I stated, I am no fan. He isn’t athletic, makes poor contact and is limited to 1B, DH, and pinch hitting. My point was that if the Cards are looking for a right-handed power guy to spell Adams against some tough lefties, some pop off the bench, and the ability to sub in the outfield in a serious pinch, then Trumbo would fit the bill. However, I wouldn’t give any more than Lyons or Gast for him and I doubt that would get the job done.

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        I expect Craig to be playing a lot of 1B soon, at some point in the very near future Taveras is going to be ready to play RF. The Angel’s value Trumbo more than he is worth, and for the Cardinal’s he’d be a very short term solution to a very minor “problem”. Right now they already have a lot of depth of corner OF guys with some power that will be knocking on the door in 2014 and probably banging on the door in 2015.

        Craig may prefer to play the OF, but he is a better defensive 1B than OF. No, I don’t know what the Cardinals plan to do with Adams, but they may just use him as a bench player until Craig gets hurt, which seems to happen in weird ways every year.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        Adams is just too good to be relegated to the bench. The Cards are in great shape heading into 2014, but one could question their offense. They need Adams in their line-up, at least until Taveras can prove to be not just serviceable but a star, at least offensively, and coming off his injury AAA is most likely his place until at least the middle of June.

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        I think their offense will be fine because they just don’t have many holes in it. The possible weak links are Wong and Bourjos, and each of those guys are capable of being above league average hitters. No, they don’t have a lot of power, but every guy has at least some, with a lot of doubles power, a lot of hard contact, and generally good approaches at the plate with solid OBPs.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        Look I tend to agree about their offense, and I don’t give a rat’s ass about HR’s. But if one were nitpicky, one might doubt the return of the career years of Carpenter and Molina, and the hopes of Wong and Bourjos as you indicated, and the expectations of Peralta.

        Personally, I think they will be just fine, but I do think a power hitting 1B/corner outfielder is an acquisition that makes sense, if they only lose a Lyons/Gast type guy, and isn’t too expensive.

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Yeah, they could trade one of those types…but I don’t think that gets you a power bat. Power bats are rare these days.

        One thing I think they are changing is their approach to defense. Last year, they punted on defense in a LOT of positions (and had guys go down hill unexpectedly), and that really hurt their run prevention. I think a big part of the Freese trade was trying to improve defense around the diamond. Taveras will already be a huge upgrade defensively and on the bases over Craig/Adams. Trumbo is a butcher everywhere he has played but 1B…..I just think he’s going to cost more in talent than he is worth.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        You are probably correct about the likelihood that the Angels would be happy with Lyons or Gast. It is just that either is actually as good a move as Skaggs.

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        Yep.

        The Cardinal’s ability to take non-prospects and teach them how to get out hitters has been crazy good, to the point that teams that evaluate guys only on “stuff” would be unimpressed. I am guessing that is why no deals have been made with Lynn or Kelly. Even though Lynn can be frustrating and is not good against lefties, he kills righties and his numbers are every bit as good as Samardjia’s…but he isn’t valued that way….and Kelly seems to be very dynamic in his approach to hitters, which is not typical. I expect him to continue to out perform his peripherals because evidence suggests that he is doing it on purpose.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        I wholeheartedly second everything you said there. In fact if I had to choose between Lynn and Kelly, I would keep Kelly.

        I see Kelly as still in the developing stage, and while Lynn still has learn how to make pitches when in trouble, Kelly seems to have a knack to do just that.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        PL, do you think Axford would have opted out if the Cards had matched his number, resulting in a pick, or do you believe that would have significantly diminished his signability?

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        He wasn’t a FA. Just arbitration eligible. No possibility of a pick. They could have tendered him a deal and either worked it out or gone to arbitration. He probably would have got $5-6M in arbitration.

        I think he is worth that….they may have felt that they had enough arms to save the money and roster spot. While they didn’t do it last year, they have shown before that they are willing to add payroll during the year. I would guess the move was more about need/flexibility than money per se.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        Yeah, you are right, my bad. And I have argued the same about the cash. The Cards didn’t let him go to say money, but because they have better options.

  4. David Proctor - Dec 9, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Rizzo has already rejected offers by Tampa Bay and. St. Louis who attempted to buy low, per Kilgore of the Washington Post. So while I’m sure Espinosa is available, Rizzo is going to want a decent return.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      Kinds like that high return he wanted for Daren Harren. “Want” does not equal “Get”. If that stays the case, looks like the Nat’s have their Triple A 2nd base position set

      • David Proctor - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        And with Dan Haren, he kept him when he didn’t get what he wanted. I think Rizzo would absolutely be okay keeping Espinosa. Espinosa was a 3+ win player in both 2011 and 2012, there’s no need to sell low after one bad year–even if it was a really, really bad year.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        And he should have traded Haren. And it seems to me they are done with Espinosa. Get what you can, but don’t out fox yourself, ala Haren

      • David Proctor - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:46 PM

        You only sell now if you think Espinosa won’t rebuild his value. It’s not like this is a one-year deal like Haren. Rizzo can keep Espinosa, let him re-establish some value, and then trade hm next year. Given that Espinosa was a 3.4 win player in 2012 and was injured for much of 2013, there’s reason to believe he’ll rebound at least somewhat. So if you get a good offer, trade him, sure. But I don’t think Rizzo will sell just to unload him. That doesn’t make much sense.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        “Rizzo can keep Espinosa, let him re-establish some value, and then trade hm next year”

        Agreed, he could. But it seems to me Rizzo is done with him. So if they keep him, they need to play him. And I don’t think they will. But we’ll see I guess

      • David Proctor - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:49 PM

        I mean, he can re-establish some value in AAA or as a utility infielder.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        It’s tough to re-establish his value as a utility infielder, since his past success as a regular is going to drive his salary up in arbitration next year, past what one would pay for a utility player. Unless he’s at least a super-sub who gets quasi-regular playing time, it’s going to be tough for Rizzo to get more value out of him going forward.

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:47 AM

        Playing in AAA won’t establish any value, it’ll just be an old guy playing well against younger guys. If he demonstrates he is healthy in ST, that might help, but him sitting on the bench or playing in AAA isn’t going to do much for his value.

        Rizzo is a good GM, but sometimes his decisions are odd. Getting nothing for Haren was dumb. If you are not going to the playoffs and have a player on an expiring contract that will not be given a QO, you should get anything you can for him because it’ll be more than the nothing you get after the season.

  5. jonrox - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    At Redsfest, Walt Jocketty said the Reds will be targeting a middle infielder with some power. Seems like a good fit. Maybe something like Logan Ondrusek for Espinosa?

    • paperlions - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      An average 28 yr old middle reliever? Guys like Ondrusek have almost no trade value, and the Nats don’t really need more bullpen arms.

      • someguyinva - Dec 10, 2013 at 8:18 AM

        Slight correction: The Nats don’t really need more right-handed bullpen arms. Ondrusek’s not a lefty, (and Ondrusek for Espinosa isn’t a good deal for the Nats, regardless) but the Nats do need a lefty or three in their bullpen.

  6. blovy8 - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    A left handed reliever for Espinosa would be reasonable for the Nats, but that’s a risk for the trading partner unless they were really desperate for SS help. There aren’t a whole lot of good signs that Espy is going to stop striking out way too much without enough power to make it ok. But with guys like Bloomquist getting what they are, I guess he’d have to be worth something.

    At the usual point where teams were looking for pitching last year, Haren’s numbers were terrible. The Nats were going to have to pay most of his contract to even get a non-prospect, so there wasn’t much point in dealing him. Maybe his decent August made him more attractive, but it also pushed the Nats closer to contention, right about the point where they got DeJesus and were making a push. You don’t deal him for scraps then, if you think you have any chance at all. It was a longshot, but again, Rizzo is a guy who loves the developmental side of the game, so I bet if there was someone useful available for Haren, he’d have made a deal.

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