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Anthony Rendon, Danny Espinosa involved in “open competition” at second base for the Nationals

Feb 16, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

Anthony Rendon AP

Danny Espinosa didn’t exactly have a great 2013 season. Due largely to playing with a fractured wrist, Espinosa posted a .465 OPS, resulting in a stint on the disabled list and a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. Anthony Rendon took over and was more or less average offensively with some hiccups on defense. Nonetheless, an upgrade.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington, Espinosa asked new manager Matt Williams for a chance to win back his job at second base. As a result, Williams is holding an “open competition” at second base between Espinosa and Rendon during spring training.

“I believe it’s open competition,” Williams said. “And that’s all you can say about it at this point. They haven’t even taken their first grounder officially yet. But I think that it’s good to have competition in spring. It makes guys come into camp ready … There’s no favorite at this point. We’re going to give them both ample opportunity to become the starter, and we’ll see where we go.”

Despite what Williams said, one would have to consider Espinosa the underdog. In the event Rendon remains the starter, Espinosa could serve in a utility role, backing up at second base, third base, and shortstop.

Second base is one of the only areas still up in the air for the Nats. The #5 spot in the rotation will see some competition between Tanner Roark, Ross Detwiler, and Taylor Jordan. Otherwise, you can write just about everyone else in pen.

  1. David Proctor - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    There are some bullpen spots up for grabs. Soriano, Clippard, Storen, Stammen and Blevins are all locks, but there’s going to be a lot of competition for the last two spots. There are about 15 guys in camp.

    I also don’t believe for a second that Espinosa wins this “competition” (nor do I believe it’s actually a competition).

  2. lphboston - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    This is not going to end well for Espinosa, who has seemed unwilling to accept responsibility for anything that happened in 2013. And the Nats have too much time invested in Rendon to make him a utility infielder.

  3. stoutfiles - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    Espinosa was a joke last year. He doesn’t deserve the spot even if he plays better than Rendon in spring training. Rendon could get the job on Opening Day and from there it’s his to lose.

    • tuberippin - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:38 AM

      It’s tough to be useful when you’re playing through a wrist injury and your primary job is to hit and field with said wrist.

  4. craigssideburns - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Boobies

  5. jamaicanjasta - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Danny “Nostradamus” Espinosa will be riding the pine this season; you’d think with his prescience he’d realize his play this Spring will not be “open” or a “competition”.

  6. tomtravis76 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    No chance Anthony isn’t the starter opening day, unless there is an injury.

  7. dcfan4life - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:01 AM

    Anthony Rendon had mediocre numbers, but he had a solid batting average, getting on base a lot. However, offensively as a whole, the entire Nats slumped last year, with less men on base, meaning less runs and RBI’s for everyone. For individual play, at times, Rendon was the Nats best hitter. This isnt a competition at all, Rendons the starter.

    • jeffbbf - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      wow. a .265 batting avg is “solid” these days?
      a .329 OBP is considered “getting on base a lot”?

      no wonder Cano get that contract.

  8. jyoung1891 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:19 AM

    Best case: they both perform. Then you put Zimmerman at 1B, Espinosa at 2nd, and Rendon at 3B.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      Not so fast, friend. Best case is that LaRoche hits the ball in the first half and Zimmerman keeps his arm slot low enough to throw from third without shoulder pain. Then Rendon plays 2B and hits in the 7 hole (since he doesn’t walk enough to really be the 2 hitter). Danny is the super sub with pop.

  9. timmmah10 - Feb 17, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Rendon is FINALLY truly healthy. This will be the season he either shines or fades. My money is on shining. He was one of the best projected hitters in the minor leagues before he was had his last ankle injury.

    Also, he was average at 2B because he was a 3B until they tested him out at 2nd. Usually, that is a tough transition across the diamond for anyone.

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