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Hot-hitting Nats not named Bryce Harper

May 19, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images

Bryce Harper is receiving a boatload of attention right now, and deservedly so. Win back-to-back NL Player of the Week honors, get talked about a whole lot.

But Harper alone is not responsible for the Nationals’ resurgence over the last three weeks. Yes, he has contributed to their 15-4 record since April 28 more than anybody else, boasting a .412 batting average, an insane .529 on-base percentage and a 1.471 OPS. But the Nats haven’t averaged 6.6 runs per game during this stretch (moving them all the way into second place in MLB in runs scored for the season) via one (admittedly scorching-hot) bat.

No, a whole host of other members of the lineup have been tearing the cover off the ball as well. They just haven’t been recognized for it. Until now…

DENARD SPAN
The Nationals’ record-setting, 13-12 victory over the Braves on April 28 was punctuated by Dan Uggla’s dramatic homer in the top of the ninth, but don’t discount the role Span played in that game. He went 5-for-6 with 11 total bases that night, coming a triple shy of the cycle. And since then, he’s been lights-out.

Entering that game, Span was hitting and slugging .207, still trying to find his way after two core muscle surgeries in three months. But since that game, he’s hitting a stout .391 while slugging .672. That leaves him with a .333 batting average and .906 OPS for the season, big-time numbers that are surpassed right now only by Harper on the Nationals’ roster.

We saw last year just how important Span was to the Nationals as a whole. And over the last three weeks, we’ve seen it again.

WILSON RAMOS (and Jose Lobaton)
Ramos has been remarkably consistent (and durable) so far this season. And he currently sports an 18-game hitting streak that is the majors’ longest in 2015, by a long shot.

Ramos is hitting .371 during this streak, driving in 11 runs along the way. Overall, he’s now hitting .314, and though his power stroke has been sparse (only one homer to date) it feels like only a matter of time before that clicks.

On top of all that, Ramos has been an iron man behind the plate, starting 30 of the Nationals’ 39 games. That puts him on pace to catch 125 games this season, long a goal for the oft-injured Buffalo.

Let’s not ignore the guy who occasionally replaces Ramos, though. Lobaton may not get much playing time, but he’s making the most of what he does get, hitting .353 with two homers since April 28.

Put the Nationals’ two catchers together, and they’re collectively hitting .297 with 25 RBI. Not bad at all.

YUNEL ESCOBAR AND DANNY ESPINOSA
We’ve talked about each of these guys several times, because their contributions have been surprising to different extents. Most importantly, though, the production of Escobar and Espinosa has made up for the loss of Anthony Rendon to knee and oblique injuries, a development that should’ve had a profound negative impact on the Nationals.

Instead, with Escobar hitting .366 since April 28 (.326 overall) and Espinosa hitting .317 since that date (.275 with an .853 OPS overall), the Nationals really haven’t noticed Rendon’s absence very often.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN
It feels like Zimmerman is still stuck in an early season rut, but quietly he has been climbing out of it for several weeks now. The overall numbers (.243 batting average, .297 on-base percentage) look weak, but he’s been quite Ryan Zimmerman-like for more than two weeks now.

Over his last 17 games, Zim is hitting .300 with an .800 OPS and 16 RBI. And his 29 RBI for the season actually rank fifth in the NL, ninth in the majors. He also has played in all 39 games to date, a vital stat for the man who has been ravaged by so many injuries in recent seasons.

A productive (and healthy) Ryan Zimmerman is vital to the Nationals’ success, because he’s the man hitting behind Harper. That means both 1) tons of opportunities to bat with runners on base, and 2) fewer opponents pitching around Harper because there’s another dangerous threat in the on-deck circle.

121 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 6:59 AM

    Nice write up, Mark. Too bad about JDub, as he started coming alive at the plate over the past ten games,too Now, if Desmond can get hot, and Taylor also, this club is quite intimidating from top to bottom.

    As to the Werth/Difo rumor, if true, that’s a heck of tip that GOSM got in on last night.Have you heard anything about this report, Mr. Zuckerman? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 7:08 AM

      Ghost is the only one running with that story. Ladson saying Werth’s MRI came back clean with no ligament damage or bone break.

    • laddieblahblah - May 19, 2015 at 7:13 AM

      FWIW, Ladson was interviewed on MLB yesterday and I just happened to tune in just as they got to him. He reported a rumor that the Nats were in the market for Tulowitzki, with “prospects” expected in return. Ladson has been as close to the Nats as any media guy, so I didn’t just dismiss it.

      I won’t even speculate on what, if anything, the Difo move may, or may not, have to do with that rumor. Ghost usually knows what he stalking about (e.g. in re Difo), but he may have only part of the story.

      • laddieblahblah - May 19, 2015 at 7:38 AM

        “is talking” about, not “stalking” about. Who knows, but auto-correct may be right about that….;o)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 7:41 AM

        Difo is already in Washington now. Of course it’s possible that they don’t activate him.

        They did the same with Burriss when Escobar hurt his groin. They told him to get to DC then Esco woke up the next day feeling fine and didn’t go on the DL.

        There’s no trade now on Tulowitzki. Sorry to tell you.

      • laddieblahblah - May 19, 2015 at 8:24 AM

        “There’s no trade now on Tulowitzki. Sorry to tell you.”

        Don’t be sorry. Ladson is a serious source, but he reported it as a rumor, or scuttlebutt, but not as a done deal. I would not have even mentioned it, if not for the Difo move you reported on. We will know, soon enough, what that is all about.

  2. laddieblahblah - May 19, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    “Now, if Desmond can get hot…”

    They don’t need Desmond to get hot, just to get out of the way. Right now, they could start Esco at 3rd, Danny at SS, and Uggla at 2nd. Add Difo to that mix, or Tulowitzki, and Desi is superfluous. Rizzo has a way of surprising everybody by pulling off the trades that no one else sees coming.

    If Desi goes to Denver, it could give his career a needed boost. Those breakers which are driving him nuts do not break nearly so much in Denver, as they do here. Desi is, by far, the weakest link in what otherwise has been an intimidating lineup.

    Difo is still hitting around .310 at Harrisburg, and has been playing mostly at SS there. That is, for certain, per Rizzo.

    I’ve been waiting for news on the off day, and I had expected it to be the activation of Janssen. As usual, probably wrong, again.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 8:34 AM

      Laddie, there seems to be something happening here, What it is ain’t exactly clear, and there’s a man with a phone over there telling him to get his locker clear…but as of now Ian Desmond is still the shortstop. He is a big clubhouse/locker room presence, and there is a team chemistry issue here. Dan Uggla has performed better than I ever epected him to, but with that said, no way do I see him as being the everyday second baseman for this team. The next few hours may prove to be very interesting.

      • Section 222 - May 19, 2015 at 8:46 AM

        Stop children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down…

      • Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 8:56 AM

        Battle lines being formed, nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong….(which is never the case here).

      • letswin3 - May 19, 2015 at 9:58 AM

        You guys are good with those old lyrics.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        Step out of line the man come and trade you away

    • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:04 AM

      I don’t see the need for Tulowitzki. The infield is doing well now and will be even better with Rendon.
      I’ll bet a virtual beer it does not happen.
      Another reliever with experience would be nice, IMHO.

      • Eric - May 19, 2015 at 9:05 AM

        I’d rather wait and see how Janssen does once he’s here…but it’s certainly something to watch.

      • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:06 AM

        yes, that makes a bit more sense. agreed

    • rlndtln - May 19, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      Uggla stinks.He will be gone as soon as Rendon returns.Desi has been a 20-20 the past 3 years.He is the best hitting ss in the majors.He will get so hot you will never remember Dan Uggla being a Nat.

      • adcwonk - May 19, 2015 at 12:35 PM

        Oh, I think there’s a certain HR that Nats fans are going to remember for a long time . . .

  3. npb99 - May 19, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    If Span keeps playing this well, he’s going to be much more of a potential loss in free agency than Desmond. Taylor has lots of potential but he’s still raw in many ways.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 8:53 AM

      I am a huge Span fan. I wish that he could play the rest of his career here, but there is a log jam forming.

      • Eric - May 19, 2015 at 9:21 AM

        +1 on wishing he could play out his career here.

      • masterfishkeeper - May 19, 2015 at 10:06 AM

        I’m a Span fan, too. If he keeps this up, doesn’t he get a QO?

      • Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 10:13 AM

        I would think so, MFK, but then again he might just go and accept it if he did.

      • nataddicted - May 19, 2015 at 10:29 AM

        So could that happen?

        I still rate DSpan way above MAT in center and at the plate. MAT has upside, but DSpan is a known quantity. Even if he’s not won one, he’s a Gold Glove fielder; he runs beautiful routes, and he’s been killing the ball at the plate for well over a year from an extremely critical spot in the order.

        In 2012 for the Twins, his 28 year old season, he made 3M. He came to the Nats for 4.75, 6 and 9M this year.

        In his position I wouldn’t take a two year deal. I can see him getting 12M+ next year as a 32 year old, and the price going up from there, so it will take three years (or more) at about 40M+ (or more), does that sound real?

        During those three years MAT would be under team control, so basically making peanuts. And remember MAT pretty much skipped AAA. I guess I better be hoping that MAT can continue to improve his game and reach Span-like levels.

        I love the player, but I have a feeling Rizzo lets him walk and pencils in MAT.

        I could have said almost the same things about Fister, love to see him stay! Love his game.

        Desi and JZ can find their future elsewhere, as it seems the writing has been on the wall for years for those two guys.

      • TimDz - May 19, 2015 at 10:30 AM

        No way Span accepts a QO….He could easily get 4/48 as a free agent, and that is guaranteed money…he won’t risk taking a QO for 16 million when he can get 48 million…..

      • nataddicted - May 19, 2015 at 10:37 AM

        http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/11/players-to-reject-the-qualifying-offer.html

        The Qualifying Offer last year (2014) was 15.3M and every player walked, in 2013 it was 14.1M, the year before 13.3M

        Anyone here offering DSpan 16+ for one year?

        That’s a nice pickup from the 9M this year, but we knew when we got him we were saving a million or two each year because I rate he was on an undervalued contract.

  4. Candide - May 19, 2015 at 7:47 AM

    Seeing rumor on Facebook that Wilmer Difo’s been called up.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 7:52 AM

      Read last night’s thread. He’s in DC already but won’t be official until they put Werth on the DL.

      • virginiascopist - May 19, 2015 at 7:55 AM

        “… won’t be official until they put Werth on the DL”

        Unless they put him on the DL, right? As you said, with Escobar, Burriss’ presence was just a precaution.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 8:00 AM

        Exactly. I guess Werth could wake up this morning and get to the park and the swelling is down. Kind of like Esco if its just a couple of days with Thursday being an offday they wouldn’t make the roster move.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 8:06 AM

        Also remember Janssen is getting activated today which will require a pitcher to be sent down.

        Will be a busy day.

      • Candide - May 19, 2015 at 8:20 AM

        Was past my bedtime…😴

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 8:25 AM

        Candide, past my bedtime to and I usually dont comment at night. Stayed up for that one.

        Exciting for Difo but they cant even get Uggla playing time.

        New outfield of LF, Span, Harper.

        Im also not buying that the Nats just traded for Tulowitzki. I think if they told Ladson that its like all the other false rumors that Bill has run wtih over the years.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 8:27 AM

        “virginiascopist – May 19, 2015 at 7:55 AM
        “… won’t be official until they put Werth on the DL”

        Unless they put him on the DL, right? As you said, with Escobar, Burriss’ presence was just a precaution.”

        Thats the caution to the wind.

      • rayvil01 - May 19, 2015 at 8:40 AM

        Wagner is out with a post that the MRI was negative. Bad Bruise. But, that doesn’t exclude a DL stint back-dated to make sure he’s healed.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM

        By the way, Wilmer Difo isn’t saying anything publicly. If you go to his Facebook page, others are posting messages and even teammates family members are commenting, but he’s not so he’s at least learned to say nothing until it’s official.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 9:04 AM

        Did you ever see the Mighty Ducks movie when Banks has the wrist injury and couldn’t play then one morning wakes up and he puts the hockey stick in his hand and rotates his wrist to Coach Bombay. Who knows, maybe Werth comes in today and is completely healed. In that case Difo drives back to Harrisburg.

        All I can tell you is Difo is in Washington and could be precautionary.

      • Eric - May 19, 2015 at 9:16 AM

        Hopefully the bruise Werth has is not a bone “bruise”. That can be a painful and slow recovery.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:20 AM

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZwQeHaXfNo

        Mighty Ducks D2

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 9:22 AM

        “Coach, I woke up and the pain is gone”

        I used to say that about my first ex-wife 😉

      • nataddicted - May 19, 2015 at 10:41 AM

        rimshot

    • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:14 AM

      can someone help me understand why they bring an infielder up when an outfielder may go on the DL ?
      Otherwise, I’m starting to believe the trade theory thing (but not for Tulo) ?

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:19 AM

        They have guys like Tyler Moore and CRob who both can play LF. Looks like they have extra outfielders. Taylor can play all 3 outfield positions and so can Bryce.

        The choice is calling up Den Dekker or Difo. I also would want Difo.

      • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:22 AM

        ok, makes sense…they only have Uggla as backup for 2b/ss.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        The Nats have been the whole season short on infield help once it was determined Rendon would start the season on the DL and no Frandsen it made Espi the starter and Uggla the only bench player.

      • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:26 AM

        thanks. if werth goes on the DL, it gives them the opportunity to shore up the IF depth

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        Doubt they would need Difo to play. Really shores up the bench as a pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, get playing time in a blow-out.

        Goes back to Harrisburg when either Rendon gets called up or JDub returns.

      • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:31 AM

        and nice to have another IFer just in case…

  5. rayvil01 - May 19, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Off-topic. The Cardinals went 0 for 11 with RISP last night. That’s hard to imagine. Got one run on a sac fly.
    Mets pitching is pretty darned good.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 8:08 AM

      The Cardinals had multiple opportunities. #13 was frustrated all night.

    • adcwonk - May 19, 2015 at 9:13 AM

      Mets pitching is pretty darned good.

      And getting better. They just brought up #1 prospect 22-year old Syndergaard and next year will get Zack Wheeler back.

      Their pitching is getting scary-good. (Fortunately, for the rest of us, their hitting is . . . well, their team BA is second worst in NL)

    • Section 222 - May 19, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      The Cards must be awful. How could any team blow that many opportunities with RISP? Fire Matheny, fire the hitting coach!

      Wait a sec, I’m being told they are 25-13.

      Never mind.

  6. laddieblahblah - May 19, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    The latest on the MASN-Nats dispute. This is taking forever, and Angelos is asking, basically, for do-over:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-masn-final-hearing-20150518-story.html#page=1

    • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 8:44 AM

      There was a previous article also which the Baltimore Sun had some great quotes that I copied and pasted last night.

      The one that basically said they had the tactic near the end of the original arbitration to object to Prokauer’s involvement was to throw up the red flag just in case they didnt like the arbitration panels decision and would give them one more reason to discredit.

      The irony is last year MLB had Prokauer working for them on the Senne case against MLB and the Orioles. http://leagle.com/decision/In%20FDCO%2020140905B25/SENNE%20v.%20OFFICE%20OF%20THE%20COMMISSIONER%20OF%20BASEBALL

      Prokauer is everywhere in baseball.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 8:55 AM

        MASN lawyers asked New York Supreme Court Justice Lawrence K. Marks to toss out that arbitration decision, which it said could render the network “economically unsustainable.” By asking the network to accept a profit margin of less than 20 percent, Phillips said Monday, MLB seemed to single out the Orioles. Team attorneys have said that the agreement that created MASN in 2005 implicitly calls for a profit margin of that size. “We are in fact treated worse than every other team,” Phillips said. MASN did not provide financial statements.

        MASN and the Orioles said the commissioner’s office asked MASN to pay the higher fees to the Nationals under threat of sanctions. John Buckley Jr., an attorney for MLB, said it is “certainly not true” that top MLB officials influenced the panel’s decision.

        Analysts say the burden is on MASN and the Orioles to prove bias in the process. “It’s a pretty high bar to overturn the arbitration when you agreed to participate in the arbitration,” said John Mansell, president of a Washington-area sports and media consulting firm.

      • texnat1 - May 19, 2015 at 9:44 AM

        Interesting. A best case scenario would be for MASN to just go out of business. Would that get the Nats out of that deal altogether?

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:49 AM

        You would think so.

    • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:10 AM

      Well the Nats could continue to threaten to hit the nuclear button.,..OTB: Open The Books
      to which MLB would pay anything to not make that happen

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:14 AM

        Thats the card Angelos has tried to play. No reason for the Nats to do that. The article even says MASN made claims about profitability levels but then didnt even provide financial statements.

        Sounds like do you want WHINE WITH THAT CHEESE.

      • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:18 AM

        ahh…it’s Angelos that opened the OTB argument….ok, he knows he doesn’t have a case and wants to force MLB’s hand to pay ???
        I don’t know…Da## it Nats, I’m a blogger, not a lawyer

      • natsfan1a - May 19, 2015 at 9:43 AM

        Permission to speak freely, sir.

        “Da## it Nats, I’m a blogger, not a lawyer”

      • letswin3 - May 19, 2015 at 10:25 AM

        As I stated here about a year ago, Angelos is one of the most litigious people on the planet, including (if my memory is right) within his own family. As I contended then, and still do, he will fight this issue with every fiber of his intellect until he is told there are no more courtrooms open to his arguments. Some thought that this would be settled early in 2014, but I will believe it is settled when there is not a single appeal that remains open for Mr. Despicable. I still believe that the Nats ownership and brain trust ought to simply buy out of the MASN/Angelos deal through floating a capital bond or note that would be used as an all cash ransom payment to pay Angelos, and the note/bond would be secured by, and amortized with, the proceeds of an independently negotiated new Nats only media deal … check out the sizes of the most recent media deals to see how my concept is feasible. The all cash payment buyout flopped on the table would dwarf any cash flow over the years generated by Nats broadcasting revenue streams.

      • letswin3 - May 19, 2015 at 10:28 AM

        My last sentence is intended to say that the existing stream of revenue that Angelos receives would be dwarfed cy the buyout number offered.

      • nataddicted - May 19, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        One thing here on the MASN deal… They have to pay the O’s the same thing they pay the Nats. So if the Nats are undervalued at 40M/yr, and want over 100M, and have been given in arbitration 60M, then the O’s rights fee raises to 60M too? Yes?

        So there’s another 20+20 or 40M that MASN pays in rights fees to the teams, and that lowers their profit. It’s the profit that the O’s want, and they’re happy to take the 20M less per year, to get the 84% of the profit on the leftovers.

        Also rights fees are shared with the league, so both teams pay more rights fees at 60M/yr than they currently do, AND the O’s get less profit.

        I like the ‘Buy-em-out’ idea. We’ll make more money in the long run with our own network, and have control of it.

        One thing is for certain, MLB screwed us royally on this deal, and they knew it when they did it. We need their help to get out from under this yoke!

  7. nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    My memory is faulty and I cant remeber all the times Ladson has reported the hot rumor only to be totally wrong. Someone once compiled a list and this Tulowitzki thing will have legs for a while. I just dont see a fit with the Nats. The guy just cant stay on the field and the main reason Desmond has won those Silver Sluggers.

    • adcwonk - May 19, 2015 at 9:16 AM

      I cant remeber all the times Ladson has reported the hot rumor only to be totally wrong.

      Can’t remember, or can’t count that high? 😉

      (Or, seriously, I suspect you meant: both)

    • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 9:24 AM

      Agreed – I do not find Ladson particularly credible.

      There are commenters here who are not and never have been fans of Ian Desmond, and may be giving credence to this rumor because they would like it to be true.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:26 AM

        Ian Desmond is going nowhere. Tulowitzki is as likely to become a Washington National as Craig Kimbrel.

      • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        FWIW, Desmond BA has increased almost 30 points since May 1….at least in the right direction.

  8. Theophilus T.S. - May 19, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    I’m not trying to influence the debate — just add some trivia — but Proskauer Rose — was Richard Nixon’s law firm between the vice-presidency and his 1968 campaign.

    • dcwx61 - May 19, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      to which Angelos replied ” I am not a crook” 😉

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        I just spit out my coffee. BTW, they are going to line Angelos coffin in asbestos when the time comes. Its amazing how he really made his millions as a class-action lawyer taking the largest share for himself most times.

        http://www.angeloslaw.com/personal-injury/mesothelioma/

        http://www.angeloslaw.com/personal-injury/product-liability/lumber-liquidators-class-action-lawsuit/

        You will also see all of his class action lawsuit ads during MASN broadcasts including my favorite for vaginal power morcellators.

        I guess Lumber Liquidators wont be advertising any more with MASN.

      • ArVAFan - May 19, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        + about $1M

        nicely played!

      • Doc - May 19, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        Class action suits are opportunities for law firms like Dewey, Cheatum, & Howe and Angelos to make money for themselves. Participating successful litigants are lucky to get a coupon worth 25 bucks on a cheap TV.

  9. natsjackinfl - May 19, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    I’m more in the “Difo is in town just as a precaution” move.

    Not only is Werth somewhat questionable remember that Escobar acted like he may have hurt his hand on that check swing Sunday in San Diego.

  10. natsfan1a - May 19, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    1. Had to look that one up.
    2. Ewww.
    3. Carry on.

    “You will also see all of his class action lawsuit ads during MASN broadcasts including my favorite for vaginal power morcellators.”

    • natsfan1a - May 19, 2015 at 9:46 AM

      D’oh! Why is this here? I thought I hit “reply.” Oh well.

      • natsfan1a - May 19, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        4. Plus a number of musings that I didn’t post here. You’re welcome.

  11. Theophilus T.S. - May 19, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Escobar’s hand makes a more credible story but it hardly seems D-List material. If — and that’s a big if — Werth needs to go to the DL AND Escobar needs to put his wrist in an ice bath for a couple of days then it would justify another IF. Recalling Difo for any other reason does not serve his long term development.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 19, 2015 at 9:55 AM

      Not sure a two-week call-up will hurt his long-term development. Use him as a pinch-runner a few times, get him a couple of ABs here and there, get him into a few games at SS or 2B…just give him a taste of MLB.

      • Theophilus T.S. - May 19, 2015 at 10:10 AM

        Why?

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 19, 2015 at 10:29 AM

        Well, presumably you need a 25th man on the bench and you think Wilmer Difo gives you more in-game options than Matt den Dekker. They’re not bringing either in to start, just to be available as needed. I’m not pushing it, just offering my interpretation and saying it’s not an unreasonable decision.

  12. Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    @Ken Rosenthal: Sources: #Nationals expected to promote IF Wilmer Difo. Werth a candidate for DL.

  13. MicheleS - May 19, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    GHOST STRIKES AGAIN!! Good job.. makes me wonder what this means. Are they trying to get a good look at him for a potential trade? Or does this mean that Uggla is done?

    • Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 10:09 AM

      Since May 2nd Uggla has had a total of 8 AB’s/10 PA’s. That’s pretty minimal. Should anything be read into that?

      • ITGSOT - May 19, 2015 at 11:12 AM

        Yeah. You can read into that that Espinosa has really been playing well of late.

    • masterfishkeeper - May 19, 2015 at 10:09 AM

      I think it just means he’s the best hitter in the minors right now. I doubt it means Uggla is done, at least until Rendon is back.

      Or maybe Ghost is right and they’re converting Espinosa to full Zobrist. He’ll start in left tonight. 🙂

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        +1 Rizzo has often gone to the play who is the hottest. Den Dekker is in ice cubes. Difo is hot. Trea Turner not available 😉

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      Thanks and Uggla isn’t going anywhere. Difo was just the best to pick from A pool of Den Dekker or Difo.

      Not many options. Get Difo some Low Lev work.

      Get Espi that outfielders glove.

  14. Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    I think the talk of trading Desi is crazy talk.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 19, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      +1

    • Theophilus T.S. - May 19, 2015 at 10:12 AM

      +2

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 10:14 AM

        +3 Continuity and Chemistry. I still think reduced playing time is a possibility but also think Espinosa needs to do the Full Zobrist.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 10:26 AM

        They cant even get Uggla playing time. How will they get Espi playing time when Rendon comes back.

    • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 10:34 AM

      + another.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 10:54 AM

        Ghost of Steve M. – May 19, 2015 at 10:14 AM
        +3 Continuity and Chemistry. I still think reduced playing time is a possibility but also think Espinosa needs to do the Full Zobrist.

        Maybe next year in spring training. I don’t see the logic in trying it in the middle of a season, especially if JW is only going to miss a little over a week. Taylor, Moore, and also CRob are already pinched for PT and AB’s. Danny is playing well. He is hitting as good as he ever has. Are you sure that he has Zobrist’s mental fortitude to deal with the stress of learning to play the OF and to keep his head into the game at the plate? Again, try it in ST, not in the middle of a season that you’re in it to win. Just my opinion.

  15. Section 222 - May 19, 2015 at 10:09 AM

    • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 10:18 AM

      Ghost,

      Are you Rosenthal’s source?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 19, 2015 at 10:23 AM

        You would have to ask Ken.

        The next news is AJ Cole sent back to AAA to activate Janssen but they have Cole listed as the Wednesday starter.

      • drazthegr8 - May 19, 2015 at 10:27 AM

        Ghost, you are everywhere… great work on the Difo scoop.

      • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 10:34 AM

        Where are folks getting this about Cole as the starter on Wed? On Nats website, TBA is starting on Wed.

        http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/probable_pitchers/index.jsp?c_id=was

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        They must have removed it. On Sunday it had Cole and on Chase Hughes preview of the upcoming week he also listed Cole as the starter.

      • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        I saw where Chase listed it, but the website all along said TBA–at least, that what commenters say in that thread, and what I remember seeing as well.

        In other words, I’m not sure anyone but Chase ever said it, and he does have a propensity for typos and mistakes.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 10:50 AM

        I didnt believe when Cole was brought back and Fister to the DL that it was definitive like some said that it would be Cole.

        The schedule gives MW options. Still could be Cole. This team is full of suprizes.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 19, 2015 at 10:57 AM

        Matt Williams has stated that he thinks that they only need 4 starters for the time being due to the two scheduled days off this week.I don’t see Cole, or Roark imminently starting.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 11:01 AM

        With the days off he has options and Taylor Jordan could also make sense and add to that Cole, Roark, Solis and Treinen.

        More immediate, some pitcher is getting sent to AAA today to make room for Janssen.

  16. langleyclub - May 19, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    Would guess that Cole will be sent back to AAA after Wednesday with Janssen joining the Nats on Friday. They still would need a 5th starter next Tuesday in Chicago, but at that point, the Nats could have Roark ready to start.

    • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      Janssen is being activated today.

  17. letswin3 - May 19, 2015 at 10:50 AM

    Just to get in on the speculation train about the reason for Difo’s call-up (btw, thanks Ghost for the scoop), is there a possibility that the Nats have received phone calls inquiring about Espinosa’s availability ? If Rizzo thinks that Rendon is getting closer to returning to his position, he may consider an offer for Danny, while giving Difo some big league experience as he backs up Uggla for awhile???? Just trying to think outa the box.

    • masterfishkeeper - May 19, 2015 at 10:53 AM

      Doubt it. Defense is important to Rizzo, and Danny is one of our best defenders. Also, Danny will be needed next year, even if Difo is MLB ready. You need three middle infielders.

      • Eric - May 19, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        Not to mention, if you’re even remotely all in on this season, why would you deal someone who has been helping fill in for Rendon with incredible success so far?

  18. David Proctor - May 19, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    To be completely honest, this Difo news doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. I’m extremely high on Difo and I thought he could move quickly, but I never imagined this. He only has a few games above A ball for goodness sake. That’s asking a lot out of a young player. If he struggles (and I would expect him to), that could really hurt his confidence.

    I’m also not sure how it makes sense to replace Werth with another infielder. Granted, Taylor, Moore and CRob can all play out there, but it’s still an odd choice. I do understand that Difo is probably the best option on the 40 man, but Stammen could always be moved to the 60 day DL to clear a spot if necessary.

    I’m just not sure how they’re going to use him or what purpose it serves to sit a prospect like him on the bench.

    • nats128 - May 19, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      Hes not starting. Hes bench filler. Your choices were Goodwin, Den Dekker or Difo or going a step further and putting someone on the 40 man and why do that.

      Give Difo a taste and you send him back when Rendon or Werth are ready.

    • Section 222 - May 19, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      If Werth does go on the DL, who would you bring up instead? We certainly don’t need another OF. Seems to me the best possible PH off the bench is the right call. I guess that’s Difo.

      • David Proctor - May 19, 2015 at 11:02 AM

        Is what you’re going to get out of him as a PH worth the delayed development? He’s not going to develop sitting on the bench. He needs to see pitches and refine his skills. He’s still pretty raw.

    • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      Not much to gain, but not much to lose either.

      It’s likely only a short stint, so the amount of time he will miss in the minors is pretty negligible. Gives the big league staff a chance to spend some time with him, and for him to get a brief and low stress introduction to the big leagues.

      • David Proctor - May 19, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        Isn’t Difo the guy they kept at low-A much longer than necessary so that he could build confidence? Because he’s a guy who can gt down on himself. I’m not sure facing major league pitching at this point in his career helps that cause.

      • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 11:20 AM

        As you pointed out yourself, he’s likely spend most of his time sitting on the bench. He’ll get no more than a handful of PA, and MW will–or should–manage to make them low-leverage situations. I have trouble believing that will ruin him, however it turns out .

        Whatever there is to gain probably has as much to do with practice, and being in the clubhouse and dugout, as with being on the field. But as I said, I don’t think there’s much to gain or lose here.

    • langleyclub - May 19, 2015 at 11:01 AM

      Kind of agree. When Nats brought up MAT after Reed Johnson went down, MW said that the plan was to give both Span and JW days off and that MAT would get at least 2 starts a week (which he has). Unless Desi or Espinosa is getting traded, hard to see scenarios where Difo gets any playing time other than pinch hitting or pinch running. Uggla essentially does not play, and now the Nats are adding another IF? Seems odd.

      Also, if Janssen is coming up today and Cole is starting tomorrow, does that mean Solis is getting sent down? That seems like the logical move.

  19. Theophilus T.S. - May 19, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    The only argument for Difo is that the Nats are currently short on IFs. It’s not the first injury that gets ’em — because Uggla is on the bench and Espinosa and Escobar are multi-tooled. It’s the second injury — the guy who jams his thumb sliding into second with no one left on the bench. Difo “solves” that problem until Rendon returns. I’m not in favor of interrupting his time at Harrisburg but if The Brain Trust is at all concerned about Escobar, or wants to give his hand/wrist a rest (late innings or otherwise), then Difo is the only IF in the minors remotely qualified for a call-up.

    No matter how talented your best prospects may be, or how capable they are at staying afloat in the major league pool, watching Taylor’s learning exercises with breaking balls, routes and base-running make it clear that the FO can’t short these kids on their minor league development.

    • Eric - May 19, 2015 at 11:34 AM

      Mark posted about it, too.

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