Which Nats players could go after 2013?

After the 2013 season comes to an end, the Nationals are likely to make changes  to improve the club for next season. Here are the current Nationals who may not be with the club next year.       

OF Roger Bernadina: As one person put it, “[Bernadina] has been a disappointment this year.” He not only has problems swinging the bat, but Bernadina has made some fundamental mistakes on the bases. As one evaluator put it, “[general manager Mike] Rizzo has never been a fan of Bernadina’s.”

Bernadina is arbration eligible after this season and there is a good chance he will be non-tendered.

2B Danny Espinosa: Shoulder and wrist injuries are the reasons Espinosa is having his worst year in 2013.  If he comes back to the big leagues for Washington, he most likely will be a reserve. He could be an everyday player elsewhere. He must cut down on the strikeouts to become an everyday player again.

RHP Dan Haren: Despite pitching well in the last month or so, Haren doesn’t think he will be back with the Nationals next year because of the season he has had, overall. He is 7-11 with a 4.99 ERA in 21 starts. The Nationals signed him to a one-year, $13 million deal to be one of their five starters this year.

1B Adam LaRoche: Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is arguably having his worst year defensively, with a team-leading 17 errors. But that number doesn’t tell the whole story. He is still having throwing issues because of the surgery he had on his right shoulder. In fact in early June, Zimmerman said he expects the shoulder to be in rehab mode for the rest of the season, but it will not keep him out of the lineup. It would not be surprising if the Nationals decided to move Zimmerman from third to first base as early as September. That could mean trading LaRoche to make room for Zimmerman at the position.

OF Denard Span: The Nationals thought he would be their ideal leadoff man after they acquired him from the Twins for pitching prospect Alex Meyer. Entering Tuesday’s action against the Giants, Span is hitting .263 with a .312 on-base percentage. Even worst, he has a .167 batting average against left-handers. It’s not known if Span will get another chance next season.

Brian Goodwin is not ready to take over center fielder. The Nationals could try to acquire a center fielder this offseason. For example, Shin-Soo Choo is a free agent after the season. He currently has a .409 on-base percentage with the Reds.

C Kurt Suzuki: Most of the playing time behind the plate has gone to Wilson Ramos, so it is doubtful Suzuki will have his option vested for 2014. The Nationals have a plethora of quality catchers in the farm system, so it looks like Suzuki will take his services elsewhere after next season.

INF Chad Tracy: The leader of the Goon Squad, Tracy is not having a productive season like he did last year. Entering Tuesday’s action against the Giants, Tracy is 18-for-102 [.176] with three home runs six RBIs. He is not the only one who is not producing of the bench. The bench is one of the reasons the Nationals have been inconsistent this season.


All those need to go for sure. There are a few others that could join them as far as I’m concerned. But Span and LaRoche are at the top of my list.

Trade Danny to DiPotos Angels for
Promote Walters and Brown for goon squad auditions
Give Tracy schus old job
Franklin Guetierez off Seattle??
That ole salt mariner PH Dobbs
If he has more tread than Tracy
Determine how Skole gets used in
Future rotation of Zimmerman and if
LaRoche not traded
Lerner could spend insane by adding
Cano and Joe Girardi!!!

what did Jeff say?

Haren and Tracy are obvious. Suzuki also, although if he’d come back at a reduced rate I’d be happy to see him return (I don’t think Solano is ready). Probably Bernadina, too. He’s not doing much that Corey Brown couldn’t do, and cheaper. This is also an area where the Nats may make a free agent move (Ellsbury, Choo, or even Beltran – as a short term high $$ contract to give Goodwin, Souza et al a chance to develop). That would move Span to the fourth OF role.

As for Span, writing him off based on one season is as foolish as writing off Werth after one bad season. Span’s underperforming is almost completely tied to his struggles against LHP this season. He has never struggled against LHP before. For his career he has virtually no platoon splits (.283/.349/.390/.738 vs. RHP; .276/.355/.371/.726 vs. LHP), and often he has actually hit better against LHP than RHP in a season. Here are Span’s numbers vs. LHP over his career (most recent on top, since that’s most relevant to 2013 Span):
2013: .171/.224/.205
2012: .301/.374/.365
2011: .240/.337/.320
2010: .279/.347/.349
2009: .330/.405/.373
2008: .283/.402/.472
As the song says, one of these things is not like the others. He’s giving away 70 points in average and 113 points of OBP (!) to the only season that is remotely comparable – 2011, when he was fighting his way back from concussions. If you normalize his performance against LHP towards his recent career averages (forget about 2008 and 2009), suddenly Span is just fine.

With the “Zimmerman’s throwing woes” narrative firmly entranched, what Ladsen and many others haven’t noticed is that Zimmerman’s throwing has improved greatly as the season went on. Over the past two months Zimmerman has only made three throwing errors, a more than acceptable rate. The reports of Zimmerman’s demise, to borrow a phrase, have been greatly exaggerated.

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