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How do Nats compensate for Werth’s prolonged absence?

May 29, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

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The Nationals are going to be without Jayson Werth for awhile, likely until sometime in August after a specialist at the Mayo Clinic discovered two small fractures Thursday in his injured left wrist.

That’s not good news for the Nats, who now face at least two more months without their No. 3 hitter and trusted veteran outfielder.

But that doesn’t necessarily make it crippling news. Sure, the Nationals would much rather have Werth than not have him. But they’ve already established their ability to thrive without him. And they do have options to replace him in the short- and long-term.

The absence of Werth from the lineup for prolonged stretches is nothing new for the Nats. He missed three months when he broke the same wrist making a diving catch in 2012. He spent time on the disabled list in 2013 with a strained hamstring. And he battled through a shoulder injury last season, one that eventually required surgery to repair the AC joint.

Werth missed all of spring training and the season’s first week due to that shoulder ailment. Now he’s going to miss another long stretch of time with an injury to the same wrist that has plagued him several times during his career.

The Nationals, though, have shown they can win with Werth sidelined. Lest anyone forget, they won 98 games in 2012 despite that 3-month DL stint, including a 47-34 record when he was out of the lineup. (That’s a .580 winning percentage.)

And they’ve established they can win without him already this season. Since Werth last played May 15, the Nationals have gone 9-2.

So the notion that general manager Mike Rizzo needs to go out and acquire another left fielder to take Werth’s place is a bit misguided. For one thing, Werth isn’t out for the season. He will be coming back, and Rizzo isn’t the type who usually gets pressured into picking up a player to fill in for only 2 1/2 months.

Werth also remains under contract for two more seasons after 2015, owed $21 million in 2016 and again in 2017. He’s not going anywhere.

What of the Nationals’ options to replace Werth until he’s healthy again? They may not be awe-inspiring, but they’re far from a black hole, either. Michael Taylor, Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson have held their own while filling in for Werth and actually have been just as productive at the plate as the man they back up.

Nationals left fielders this season are hitting a collective .210 with a .281 on-base percentage, .307 slugging percentage and .588 OPS. That’s not very good.

Werth, though, sported a .578 OPS at the time of his injury, and even though he had picked up the pace in the final week before getting hurt, he still wasn’t producing up to his career norms.

Take Werth’s stats out of the mix, and the Nationals’ remaining left fielders have been just as productive, even more so in some cases: a .215 batting average, .271 on-base percentage, .329 slugging percentage and .600 OPS. Still below-average, but the guy they had for most of the season’s first six weeks was producing at below-average levels to begin with.

Point is, the Nationals should be able to get away with what they already have. Taylor has sparkled at times, struggled at others. But he’s guaranteed to provide excellent defense, and given the current makeup of the lineup, he’s not really needed to do much at the plate. Moore remains a solid threat against left-handed pitchers, while Robinson continues to be a threat against right-handers.

Besides, it’s too early in the season to make significant trades. They rarely happen at this stage of the game. If, come mid-to-late July, the Nationals still aren’t getting any production out of their left fielders and Werth remains several weeks from returning, they could always try to acquire a stop-gap at the trade deadline.

But that’s a decision that doesn’t need to be made for awhile. Yes, the Nationals will be hurt by the loss of Werth. But based on what we’ve seen over the years, they’re plenty capable of making up for his absence.

128 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. laddieblahblah - May 29, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    “How do Nats compensate for Werth’s prolonged absence?”

    They really can’t. Not completely. Despite Jayson’s poor numbers to start the season, he finally seemed to be getting his stroke back just when he got hurt. There is no one else on the roster who can bring what a healthy JDub could have brought to the table.

    While Taylor has sparkled at times, the league seems to have finally figured out that he is a dead FB hitter but seems clueless when dealing with off-speed breakers down and/or off the plate. Lately, his strike out rate is around 40%. The Nats have guys who can do a lot better than that right on their current roster.

    I don’t know why they can’t try Desmond out there. He is an even better athlete than Taylor, and seems to have the athletic tools to handle the defensive tasks of a left fielder better than any of the other in-house options other than MAT, himself. Plus, Taylor makes Desi look like a contact hitter. You get very good defense (he has to be better than Ryan was, or Kobernus, or Frandsen, or CRob, or TyMo) plus a very nice upgrade on offense from that position.

    You also eliminate the Nats biggest hole in their IF defense by plugging Espinosa in at SS (or, alternatively, you move Danny to 3rd and Esco to SS) with Uggla filling in at 2nd, essentially replacing Taylor’s bat with Uggla’s in the lineup, a trade-off that would work to the benefit of the Nats’ offense, IMO. While Uggla’s defense will never be gold glove caliber, he has acquitted himself very well, thus far, for the Nats this season. Difo fills in as the 4th infielder until Tony returns.

    When Tony comes back, he goes back to 3rd, Danny to 2nd, and Esco to SS, with Uggla the 4th infielder. Difo goes back down to AA (or maybe AAA) to polish off his already impressive skill set.

    Tony at 3rd, Esco at SS, Espi at 2nd, and Desi in LF gives the Nats their best possible defensive alignment while also giving them the best available hitters, overall, from their current roster.

    What defensive alignment works better than that one? And which other lineup(s) would give the Nats a better offense than one with those guys being the every day players?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 6:44 AM

      “he finally seemed to be getting his stroke back just when he got hurt.”

      That HR in Arizona was encouraging but difficult to project what the season was going to look like for JDub. If there is any good news, he’s able to rest that shoulder and get it to 100% as his wrist heals. That’s the silver lining I can find.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 6:41 AM

    “That’s not good news for the Nats, who now face at least two more months without their No. 3 hitter and trusted veteran outfielder.”

    If this was last year I would be internally freaking out but let’s get real and think of Jayson’s 2015 season. It’s been awful and we all know it’s been because of the shoulder, but the Nats have options to replace him.

    Just as Jayson showed signs of coming around in Arizona, his season as a whole has been as one of the worst defensive outfielders in the Majors according to UZR that has him last, and yes, worse than Tyler Moore. On offense, Jayson’s slash has been .208/.294/.287/.581 That’s near the bottom for all LF starters and then you find out that the combined rest of all Nats leftield OPS has been just over .602 with a team average of .588 with a slash of .210/.281/.307/.588

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 6:50 AM

      .208 .294 .287 .581
      .256 .357 .463 .820
      .219 .265 .375 .640
      .208 .283 .438 .721
      .229 .260 .333 .593
      .259 .320 .413 .733

      Care to guess the slashes on that list?

      1. Jayson Werth
      2. Danny Espinosa
      3. Michael Taylor
      4. Tyler Moore
      5. Clint Robinson
      6. NL LEAGUE AVERAGE LEFTFIELDER

      • rayvil01 - May 29, 2015 at 7:00 AM

        But, the beauty of baseball is that there are 8 fielders. What’s the outfield as a unit look like when you take the average of MAT, Moore, and Robinson in LF, Span in CF, and Bryce in RF as a unit? I bet it’s well above the NL League average LF.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 7:03 AM

        Of course it is because Bryce has an OPS in the stratosphere.

        The offensive weaknesses on the team are LF and 1B. The success is other players picking up the slack.

      • rayvil01 - May 29, 2015 at 7:01 AM

        Ooops, NL League average Outfield.

      • Nats Fan Zee - May 29, 2015 at 8:13 AM

        Keiunta Denard Span Has an OPS of .892. Think he might be helping the average a touch.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 8:19 AM

        He’s near the top of all NL CFs and should be an All Star but I fear Bochy will only take Bryce, Storen and Scherzer.

      • dcwx61 - May 29, 2015 at 8:33 AM

        great stuff.
        Thanks

        When Rendon comes back, his bat replaces Werth’s absence in the lineup.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 8:38 AM

        That was a fun excercise and I was surprised with how much better the NL LF Ave was compared to the Nats players but also vs the AL.

        Mark seems fairly optimistic that Werth returns and is productive. Ask Hank Aaron how important the wrists are in batting.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:07 AM

        If NL Avergae LF is OPS’d at .733, your only current option is Tyler Moore whose OPS is .721. Thats the direction I would go in.

        Do you really think Espinosa can keep up that .820 OPS

      • Doc - May 29, 2015 at 9:44 AM

        Good stuff, Ghost.

        Hope Rizzo is looking at similar stats!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 9:53 AM

        Rizzo is 2 steps ahead because he knew Werth was hurt worse than what the public knew and right now the options are few in you deall with his replacement as you have been with TyMo, CRob and MAT.

        From there, who knows and I say this as someone with great respect for the Je ne sais quoi of Werth that I always refer to as he has been the intangible on this team but he’s now 36 and at some point you have to separate the reality of age regression and injuries and real stats and the real stats are negative WAR but the fact that the lineup got a boost with him in there is the quoi, the rightness.

    • davebinmd - May 29, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      Werth’s 4 – 5 weeks or so before this injury was his spring training and his rehab assignment rolled into one. Holding his numbers against him during that time as if he was never going to improve for the rest of this year seems very unrealistic considering his consistant track record of production. He was clearly heating-up when he got hit on the wrist, but it’s all speculation now.

      As I’m pretty sure you know, Werth was voted the 2nd most valuable position player on the team last year, and the most valuable the year before. He is the only Nats player to figure in the NL MVP voting each of the last two years. The numbers they need to replace aren’t the numbers he put-up in April, they are the career norms he was expected to put-up going forward. The Nats do not have anyone to replace him who can offer that kind of production.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        36 years old and shoulder surgery is a big red flag. We will see. Now add another wrist injury.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 6:59 AM

    “Robinson continues to be a thread against right-handers.”

    Thread or threat? Given his real stats, somewhere in the middle.

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    Mark, how come you don’t consider another internal option which is taking Espi or as Laddie suggests and move Desi to LF when Rendon returns?

    • alexva6 - May 29, 2015 at 7:03 AM

      moving either Danny or Desmond to the outfield is a last resort, not first option

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 7:05 AM

        Until Rendon returns, yes. The Full Zobrist can play anywhere.

      • alexva6 - May 29, 2015 at 7:07 AM

        he’s only the FZ in your mind, I dealing in reality

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 7:46 AM

        My mind thinks ahead. Remind me again that Ryan Zimmerman can’t play Leftfield. I was called names when I suggested that also.

        I guarantee if you ask Danny if he’d want to do it vs sit on the bench it’s an easy decision, YES.

      • alexva6 - May 29, 2015 at 8:08 AM

        I know RZim, Danny is not RZim.

        if you ask Danny is he wanted to close he’d say yes. he is still a utility infielder, albeit a good one.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 8:14 AM

        Short-term you play TyMo as your starter with MAT replacing him with a lead.

        Stats say that’s your best option unless you have a fastball dominant starter where you’d want Taylor.

        I see little value starting Robinson who is a poor defensive LF unless you absolutely felt compelled to give him a start vs a righty who he could dominate. So far I haven’t seen him dominate anyone except in Spring Training.

        When Rendon comes back you have additional options.

      • Hiram Hover - May 29, 2015 at 9:57 AM

        Moving Desmond to the OF is not an option, period. It just ain’t gonna happen.

      • infideljack - May 29, 2015 at 1:54 PM

        +5

    • infideljack - May 29, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      +10

  5. alexva6 - May 29, 2015 at 7:02 AM

    send Taylor to AAA, bring up denDecker. platoon Moore/Robinson in left.

    this assumes Rendon is back at 3rd and the lineup is Span/Escobar/Rendon/Harper/Zim/TyMo-CRob/ Desmond/Ramos. you can move these eight around if you prefer

    Danny platoons in for all three infielders, please don’t get carried away with his current production

    you can win with this lineup assuming pitching/defense preforms as it should, LF the exception

    MW needs to rally the troops to pull together and do their job, no more

  6. rabbit433 - May 29, 2015 at 7:25 AM

    Believe me…….if we can get along without Rendon, we surely can get along without Werth.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 7:47 AM

      We? Weren’t you the guy on April 17th who was defecting to the Baltimore team?

      • rayvil01 - May 29, 2015 at 8:08 AM

        Oh yeah, he sure did. Was going to watch “quality baseball” up in Riot-more.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 8:17 AM

        Thought so. I watched that empty stadium with the pumped in crowd noise yesterday just to see LaRoche, Zach Duke, and others. Got to see Machado thrown out of the game for a temper tantrum. What a complete buffoon. No wonder Rabbit returned.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 8:44 AM

        When times are good its “We”. When times are bad its “You”. When hoisting the trophy it will be “Me”. Have to love posters like rabbit433, it takes balls to come back after his goodbye forever speech on his way up to B’more hun.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 9:10 AM

        That needs to be on a Demotivation poster.

      • rabbit433 - May 29, 2015 at 10:42 AM

        Ghost, I love the replies!!!! Actually I have hats for both teams. Depending on how the wind is blowing I know which hat to wear. I do wear the Nat hat more often. Our club seats have cushions.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 10:46 AM

        Thanks for the honesty and Machado is an overrated punk.

  7. Candide - May 29, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    Put Scherzer in there on his off days. He seems to be able to swing a bat as well as any of these other guys.

    • Nats Fan Zee - May 29, 2015 at 8:15 AM

      +1

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      I wanted to make that same line! Unfortunately it’s true. With more playing time he probably would be able to surpass a .588 OPS. It’s what also makes him so great. He starts 1 out of every 5 days and is ready to play just like JZim and Fister on most days.

      This is a really good group.

      • markinarlington - May 29, 2015 at 10:22 AM

        “This is a really good group.”

        Been thinking the same thing. In my own mind, I compare them to the pitching staff of the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers where Hersheizer, Valenzuela, Tim Leary and Tim Belcher were each pretty good hitters in their own right. As a group they had key pinch hits and even scored as pinch runners.

        Another thought about Michael A Taylor and Treinen, Grace et al in the bullpen: they’re immensely talented, but still raw. I think we’ve seen Matt Williams (and, by inference, Mike RIzzo) give the rookies extra chances during the early part of this season. I like it. They’re taking the long view, believing that they’ll need the entire roster to play in key situations later in the season and into the playoffs. This method inevitably results in failures now, which are painful for the team and fans, but hopefully will translate into success later.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 10:34 AM

        All good points and MW has done a good job building guys up. Grace needs a ‘re-boost.

        Barrett’s talent is too good for what I saw on Tuesday. I wish he would do less clowning and just be the killer I know he can be. This bullpen needs a stopper and he’s had varied success.

        Study your charts and know exactly what you want to do on each pitch if called again in a ROOGY spot.

      • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 10:43 AM

        Totally agree re: the long view and extra chances now to increase the odds of success later when the pressure mounts.

  8. NatsLady - May 29, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    I’m not ready to put Desi or Danny in LF. Part of the problem in April was guys playing unfamiliar positions, with unfamiliar relay/doubleplay partners. (I wasn’t the only one pointing this out, I believe even Matt Williams said that.) Let guys who have at least SOME familiarity with the outfield play the outfield.

    Not everyone is Ryan Zimmerman. In fact, most people aren’t Ryan Zimmerman. See the article in today’s Post about how he’s made himself into a Gold Glove first baseman in two months…

    • Theophilus T.S. - May 29, 2015 at 8:42 AM

      Wish Zimmerman would turn himself into a Silver Slugger 1B. He still doesn’t seem to have the concept of the strike zone; it’s called “strike,” not “watch,” for a reason. Behind in counts, forced to choose between bad pitches and worse.

      • jfmii - May 29, 2015 at 8:45 AM

        I believe Zim’s focus on learning a new position is a large factor in his struggles at the plate. He may not get back to annual career numbers–but he will end up way better than where he is now.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 8:52 AM

        I agree Theo and I disagree with NatsLady. None of Desi’s errors were becuz of unfamiliar relay/doubleplay partners. Desi was booting them fine all on his own and the only time MW mentioned it was that ridiculous play where Desi called off Uggla on a popup. None of the others were remotely related to who was playing on 2nd base. Lets get real and stop writing stuff for the sake of writing.

        LF has already been a revolving door with let’s count them, 6 players:

        Werth
        Moore
        Taylor
        Robinson
        Reed Johnson
        Den Dekker

        So your telling me that it would make a difference putting someone else out there. OK.

      • Nats Fan Zee - May 29, 2015 at 9:42 AM

        Give him a little more time and you may very well get your wish 😀

      • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 9:46 AM

        +1 NFZ. I think he’ll be just fine. What I would really love to see is a healthy Zim play a full season and beyond this year.

      • infideljack - May 29, 2015 at 1:46 PM

        Zim has always had a habit of watching belt high FB’s down the middle.
        Maybe he needs corrective lenses?

      • therealjohnc - May 29, 2015 at 5:31 PM

        Meh. Zim has never been an aggressive hitter, and rarely swings at the first pitch. Werth is the same. Both will occasionally “ambush” a first pitch to keep pitchers honest, but it’s clear that they tend to take pitches and work the count. Which we tend to praise and wish more Nats would do … until we don’t. We fans are a fickle lot. Zim is about the most comfortable batter I’ve ever seen when hitting with two strikes.

        And no, I’m not that worried about Zim. He’s much more of a second half hitter than a first half hitter generally, and we’ve been down this road with him before. In 2012 he was worse than this and people were calling for him to be benched/dumped (especially combined with the occasional errant throw). Zim came back and raked. As the saying goes, there’s a reason they call them “averages.” Zimmerman is amazingly consistent over his career, putting up a 120 OPS+ and about the same wRC+ year after year.

    • Nats Fan Zee - May 29, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      +1

  9. jfmii - May 29, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    rayvil01, “Riot-more” is uncalled for.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 29, 2015 at 10:26 AM

      +1

    • rayvil01 - May 29, 2015 at 6:05 PM

      I was being kind. That place is a sore spot here.

  10. jfmii - May 29, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    Baseball in a vacuum, no human element, I love moving Desi to left when Rendon comes back.

  11. Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    Folks? We haven’t had Werth for most of the season, including during most of the rebound, and when he was in, he was a weak link, primarily due to his injury, and the recovery from it. I have always had nothing but high respect for Jayson as a player, and a leader, but he has played a very small part in the success that they have had so far this year. I can even go so far as to say that they were winning in spite of his play. Taylor. Robinson, and Moore are not perfect, but I think with the rest of this team intact you can win with them, just as you have been.
    And Ghost, Ryan played admirably in LF in 2014 out of an attempt to get his bat back in the lineup, and he caught most of the balls hit in the air in his vicinity, but base runners were circling around the bases like an out of control carousel when a throw in was required from him. Espinosa has improved at the plate. Most of the time. Over a very short time. I wouldn’t be so quick to anoint him as the next Zobrist, or even anoint him as being anything more than a below average hitter yet. And sure, ask Danny and he’d say he’d be willing to play any position on the field rather than sit on the bench. I’m glad it’s not Danny’s call. You want to play him in the outfield. I think he’s a good enough athlete that he could learn how, but teach him how in spring training. There is no need to do an on-the-job training experiment right now. We’re not desperate. I’d continue status quo. It’s working.

    • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 8:59 AM

      “base runners were circling around the bases like an out of control carousel when a throw in was required from him”

      Thats pure fiction. Back that up with any facts. We all feared it would happen and in the end he actually threw out 2 baserunners who tested his arm. His % was pretty good in actuality.

      This must be Fiction Friday.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM

        OK, nobody was holding any runners at third. Desi had to come very far out to relay balls. Ryan just couldn’t consistently make ML level throws into the IF, much less to the plate. 3B coaches exploited his weakness on numerous occasions. My point is, Ryan caught most of the balls hit to him,and played better than many expected,but some here make it sound like he played a Gold Glove caliber LF.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:32 AM

        Dont make stuff up to support your point. Where are you coming up with 3B coaches exploiting Ryan Zimmerman’s arm on numerous occasions? There were few opportunities on the 50 balls he fielded.

        Its fiction. Yes, Desi had to go out further on relays and RZ certainly didnt possess a gun out there but the fact is he still threw out 2 runners at 2nd base who tested his arm.

        No, he was never a Gold Glove caliber LF and wasnt going to be but neither is Michael Cuddyer who is really bad. Ryan at least could catch balls in LF.

      • Bruxtun - May 29, 2015 at 10:06 AM

        +1

        I remember being nervous that guys would run all over him. But I also remember that it didn’t happen.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 10:14 AM

        Bruxtun, thanks for backing up the non-fiction. Joe Seamhead is telling some tall tales as my Papa used to say. That was a nice way of saying someone is BSing.

        Over time, we all know RZ would have been exploited but it just never happened in reality. I held my breath alot.

        Espi has a cannon for a arm. Would love to see what he can do with his range and arm and athleticism then waste him on the bench. Now if Espi isnt hitting, this is a whole different discussion.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        OK, go back and look at the Astos series in June ’14. Yes the Nats won 6-5 but in both the games the Astros ran freely, and I do mean freely. That’s where my merry go round reference came from. Or look at the Cards game on June 15th. Look, Ryan did OK, overall, but they ran successfully on him.As did the Cubs on June 24th. Most of those games the strategy coming in by the opposition was to be extra aggressive when balls were hit his way. And just because he had 2 assists doesn’t mean that his arm was ML good, and not every IF can just go and play the OF well.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 11:13 AM

        You are just flat out lying right now. Ryan Zimmerman fielded 4 balls in the June 17th game and 3 were outs and no runners advanced in any case and the only ball that resulted in anything was an Altuve double down the line that even if Harper was playing LF, Altuve would have been safe on the double.

        On June 18th in the 4th inning is the sucession of 3 straight balls to RZ in LF. One was a single, then a double and then a Sac Fly. I just watched it on MLB TV and while his throws in were weak, I dont think a average LF would have gotten different results. The Sac Fly was to the warning track and it looked like it was going to be a HR. The carousel was Gio pitching like garbage as he walked the leadoff man then HBP’d the 2nd batter then 2 straight singles, a double, and a Sac Fly all in a row. Your blaming RZ for that?

        Stop writing fiction.

      • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 11:16 AM

        Man.

        Is it time for first pitch yet?

      • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM

        Shortly after that series Chase did a piece complimenting Zim’s throwing from LF. There were only a few comments in response on this board and none of them from LOD types, but there was no agreement of Chase’s assessment:

        http://natsinsider.com/2014/06/20/zim-showing-he-can-throw-from-left/

        I wasn’t the only one.

      • davebinmd - May 29, 2015 at 12:29 PM

        Joe’s point is valid, RZim had no arm in LF, he looked like he was throwing shotputs out there, and the balls weren’t going much further than shotputs. Fortunately, his time in LF was very limited and there weren’t many occasions when he was tested or made to look bad. That talk about the throws from the OF being different and easier on his shoulder than throwing a ball from deep at 3B to 1B were questionable at the time, and laughable now, that was nothing more than a cover.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 8:56 PM

        Stay out of it. Joe said it was a carousel out there and its just bull and he keeps lying threw his teeth.

        We all know his arm was weak and it never ended up being a problem because there were few opportunities for teams to run on him.

        If you want to shill for Joe, its obvious.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 12:37 PM

        Thanks, Dave.

    • rlndtln - May 29, 2015 at 9:04 AM

      Danny can only hit right handed pitching .Why would you play him over Robinson against righties and Tyler Moore against lefties.They have experience as outfielders.To move Danny to the outfield is a desperate move that would need a full spring training.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:20 AM

        Danny just hit that HR against left handed pitching in the last game. His RH hitting is fine, its been his LH hitting thats been the boost to his overall numbers.

      • therealjohnc - May 29, 2015 at 5:39 PM

        Danny can only hit RH pitching? WTH?

        My first thought was that this was taking SSS in 2015 and ignoring Danny’s entire MLB history … but no, Espinosa’s 2015 OPS against LH pitching is .987 (!) and against RH pitching is .775. Not only are his career splits lopsided, he has never had even one season where his numbers against RH pitchers was better than his numbers against LH pitchers.

        Now, I do agree that there is no need right now to move him to the OF and throw him in – the Nats have other short term options. But I also think that they might start working with him on OF defense – just in case.

    • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM

      “Espinosa has improved at the plate. Most of the time. Over a very short time. I wouldn’t be so quick to anoint him as the next Zobrist, or even anoint him as being anything more than a below average hitter yet.”

      Yes, the Espinosa record hasnt been great in a long term view however 141 PAs is close to what he did in the entire 2013 season.

      Your choice is sticking Espi back on the bench when Rendon returns or come up with another solution besides being the player who gives rest days to Rendon, Esco and Desi and the occassional PH.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 9:32 AM

        “Your choice is sticking Espi back on the bench when Rendon returns or come up with another solution besides being the player who gives rest days to Rendon, Esco and Desi and the occassional PH.”

        Yep. Unless a trade is made. But even the great Anthony Rendon is probably going to show some rust, and other effects from his long recovery. I doubted will just step back in and play 9 innings, every day.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        Rendon will probaly play every day and yes will have to shake off the rust. Prudently, you would hope for some rest days and thats why you still have Dan Uggla also.

  12. nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    “natsjackinfl – May 28, 2015 at 4:49 PM
    I am now officially in the “Espinosa to the outfield” camp.

    Once Rendon returns, Espinosa becomes the NL version of Ben Zobrist as others have called for on this site.”

    I wonder how many Zobrist types there are. Most are pure position changes and you look at Mookie Betts going from 2nd base to CF which is extreme and hes been excellent.

    How many Boston fans whined about that.

    • Theophilus T.S. - May 29, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      Disagree re Betts. The times I have seen him on TV he looks untrained in CF. Athletic, yes, and capable of good plays, but sometimes unsure where he is going, or throwing. Calling for Espinosa to be Zobrist ignores that Zobrist himself is — without doubt — available. Losing time to injury, pending FA (short term rental), eating money on a team that hates spending money and is going nowhere. I think Oakland would trade him at or before the deadline for minor league depth. I’m not advocating it because I think (A) the Nats should see, first, what they’ve got (2012 Tyler Moore?), second, what the situation is on or near July 31.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        Centerfield is a premium position and Betts is the 9th rated CF in baseball in defense according to Fangraphs.

        Id say hes doing fine.

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:36 AM

        As Mark said, theres still time to determine a trade. Zobrist would have to be high on the list but he will cost you players. Just add him to a long list of players in a bigger deal if it comes down to that.

        Rizzo wont blow the chance to improve.

  13. peewilly - May 29, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    Desi’s not going to the outfield so we can put that to bed. The problem is not how to replace Werth but how to replace the bench spot is creates. I think Rizzo will take a wait and see approach on a decision to make a move. If anything I think he’ll acquire a veteran OF/PH if the current options don’t work out. Shifting players like a Chinese fire drill is not the answer.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 9:27 AM

      +1

      • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:56 AM

        +2 and I respect Laddie, but yah, no.

    • Hiram Hover - May 29, 2015 at 9:59 AM

      Desi’s not going to the outfield so we can put that to bed

      That shouldn’t even need saying, but apparently it does.

      So–well said.

  14. natfan33 - May 29, 2015 at 9:31 AM

    If you give Moore and Robinson more at-bats, they will only improve. This Taylor experiment is hurting those 2 guys. And moving Desi or Espinosa to the outfield is only a slap in the face to Moore/Robinson. Let them play and they will produce. Taylor needs to be back at AAA, as others have posted.

  15. Eric - May 29, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    I’m with Joe as far as feeling apprehensive about moving Espi to left during the season. I’m also not quiiiiiite convinced Espi can sustain a semblance of his 2015 production to date; however, this:
    Span
    Escobar
    Rendon
    Harper
    Zim
    Desmond
    Ramos
    Espi

    Is currently much more appealing than this:
    Span
    Escobar
    Rendon
    Harper
    Zim
    Desmond
    Ramos
    MAT-TyMo-CRob

    • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 9:35 AM

      All that said, I’m with camp calling to maintain course, at least for now. If it ain’t broke…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      Eric, I like #1 a lot and you know what they say about #2’s.

    • infideljack - May 29, 2015 at 1:33 PM

      I agree that #1 gives us a greater chance for success after Rendon gets back. I expect Danny will continue his level of production, because he has changed he approach at the plate. My only worry id if the BABIP gods interfere, he may start experimenting. Hopefully Rick Schu won’t let that happen. I have even seen Desmond adjusting, but he seems more volatile and occassionally reverts to closing his eyes and imitating a helicopter.

  16. tcostant - May 29, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    Don’t worry Nate McLouth will come to the rescue.

    • TimDz - May 29, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      I am assuming that is snark (and rightfully so).

      I posted in March that McLouth will either remain on the 60 day or get released. I don’t see him ever coming back to DC (to play baseball for the Nats, at least….there are plenty of great sites to visit, so….)

      • tcostant - May 29, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        It was. He is an afterthought that Zuck didn’t even note his existences. This was the exact reason; Rizzo paid him $10M, what a gaff.

      • virginiascopist - May 29, 2015 at 9:50 AM

        Is MacLouth on the 60-day? Was he ever?

      • tcostant - May 29, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        He is only on the 15 day DL:

        http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/team/roster_40man.jsp?c_id=was

      • TimDz - May 29, 2015 at 9:55 AM

        He is not on the 40 man roster…I am pretty sure they put him on the 60 day in order to call someone up (someone that needed to be added to the 40 man roster) early in the season.

    • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 9:57 AM

      I cant tell if that is tinged with sarcasm becuz the only thing McLouth rescued was his sagging bank account. When he leaves the Nats he will be $10,750,000 richer.

  17. natsfan1a - May 29, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    Not sure but I’m thinking maybe they’ll “man” up. 😉 Seriously, I trust in Rizzo (because I’m guessing he doesn’t give a rat’s patoot what I think he should do, and I don’t do armchair GM, anyway).

    “How do Nats compensate for Werth’s prolonged absence?”

    On another note, my nonagenerian aunt the Indians fan headed to that big ballpark in the sky the other day. Will miss talking baseball with her, her excellent pies, her humor and, yeah, her moxie. She had moxie, my aunt.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      Sorry to hear.

      • natsjackinfl - May 29, 2015 at 10:33 AM

        Same here. The World is a better place with more baseball fans, especially ones with moxie.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 29, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      RIP

    • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      Sorry for you loss, 1a 😦

    • Hiram Hover - May 29, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      Condolences

    • natsfan1a - May 29, 2015 at 11:25 AM

      Thanks, guys.

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    “@JamesWagnerWP: Jayson Werth has two fractures in left wrist, which will be immobilized for four weeks. He’s expected back in August”

    As I wrote yesterday 4 to 6 weeks. Then he will need to start working back into game form. That seems by my calendar to not jive with why it would take until August. Should be ready near the All Star break.

    The good news is his shoulder is getting a long rest too.

    • Bruxtun - May 29, 2015 at 10:15 AM

      Ghost – whether that comes to fruition, it makes me feel better just to read it.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        Wagner is making a case for MAT as the replacement. I like the TyMo with the late double switch or straight switch to being in MAT but there will certainly be times to start MAT.

        As Laddie explained, if MAT starts they will exploit him if the pitcher can throw a decent breaking pitch. He’s striking out at a 36.5% pace.

    • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      I agree August seems like a bit of an extended timeline. Maybe they plan to get him more reps than they did in the spring, in the hopes that he won’t struggle so mightily to get in a groove this time.

    • DaveB - May 29, 2015 at 10:39 AM

      I think it depends on what you mean by “should be ready”. If they immobilize the wrist for 4 weeks from now (which seems reasonable based on my experience), then an additional month afterwards to regain strength, timing, etc.. and then get some MiLB rehab games … starting to sound like the beginning of August is about the earliest you could hope for being “ready” for a return to the Nats lineup.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 29, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        That’s still 3rd week of July.

      • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 10:48 AM

        I doubt it would take a month to build up sufficient strength to start a rehab assignment, although maybe with his history of injury to that wrist it will take some extra time.

        As for timing, wouldn’t that come from playing?

      • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 10:50 AM

        Yeah, 8 weeks from now is July 24. If he *starts* his rehab assignment then, than it likely would be an early August return.

  19. Just. Dave - May 29, 2015 at 10:10 AM

    I am in the camp for starting MAT. He is going to get a shot in the lineup at some point, and he will struggle for periods. So, no time like the present to get through the rough parts now. No time like the present.

    • nats128 - May 29, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      I hear what your saying altho isnt that what AAA is for. His game is very incomplete. A few shades of greatness and a whole lot of hype and a boatload of strikeouts. The only reason his OBP is up to .265 is from the 3 walks he got to get to the pitcher. In total he has only 6 walks to go against 38 strikeouts.

      His full season comp is 186 strikeouts. Hard to absorb another player with that many Ks.

    • Hiram Hover - May 29, 2015 at 10:54 AM

      Back in ST, a # of posters here were saying that MAT had turned the corner on his K problems.

      Obviously, that was mistaken, as a # of others of us cautioned at the time.

  20. micksback1 - May 29, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    My feeling is the Nats will be fine without Werth as long as there are no other injuries to key players and if he is back by the fall

    This could work out well for both Werth and Nats, it gives Taylor and others more reps and it allows Werth to be rested and not worn down for the home stretch

    having said this, this is what he all feared with Werth since his arrival, he is old and more inclined to injuries each season

    • natsdial8 - May 29, 2015 at 10:52 AM

      Jayson contributed zero in last year’s playoffs and zero this year save for perhaps some rah rah on the bench. Hard to count on him with much confidence that he will get healthy and help much this year. If a decent option presents itself Mike will make a move .

  21. Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    Nats 128? I wasn’t making stuff up. Read my post above at 10:45 a.m. Go back and look at what the Astros runners did against our LFer in both games of the June 14 series.

    • NatsLady - May 29, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      I will be ignoring Nats128 until that person stops insulting people. Not worth it. I’ve seen your work for years, Seamhead, and have a TON of respect for it.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 12:34 PM

        Thank you, NL. I don’t care much for being called a liar. Disagree with my opinion is fine, even heartily. But the name calling is bush league.

      • Eric - May 29, 2015 at 12:37 PM

        +1 on Joe’s work. Calling a difference of opinion “lying” is weak sauce.

      • natsfan1a - May 29, 2015 at 2:13 PM

        I consider our time here as play, so I can’t speak to Joe’s work, but I do have a ton of respect for him as a person.

  22. langleyclub - May 29, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    Surprised by some of the MAT comments here. No doubt that he still has contact issues, but his numbers are better than Werth’s , and his upside is beyond anyone on the roster except for Harper and Rendon. I expect MW will share the playing time, and expect both MAT and TyMo’s numbers to get better as they get more PT. Would not be surprised to see either MAT or Ty Mo to go on a tear in the near future.

    • Hiram Hover - May 29, 2015 at 12:04 PM

      his numbers are better than Werth’s

      If you’re talking about 2015 #s, that’s just barely true, Werth has a 64 wRC+ and MAT is 69.

      But of course Werth had shoulder surgery and missed ST, so judging him by his 2015 #s would be pretty unwise.

      Using Werth’s career (or Nats only) #s, there is really no comparison.

      MAT has struck out more than 37% of the time this year. Saying he has some contact issues is like saying the Titantic had some iceberg issues.

      All that said, I think in the short term MAT plays a fair amount. But my expectations are low.

  23. zmunchkin - May 29, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    I’d start MAT. For a couple of reasons.

    • will regular ABs improve his offensive numbers?
    • for all the emphasis on offense, you win more games by scoring more than the other team (duh). And MAT is the best defender of the bunch.
    • this is the chance to learn if he really can replace Denard in CF. if not, make Denard the QO and we either get him for another year, or we get an extra pick.

    • letswin3 - May 29, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      I’m reluctantly with you. MAT has been “presumed” as the starting CF for 2016 (or 2017 at the latest), so this would provide a test to find out where he is and IF he really is the CF for the future. I can’t imagine that hitting and base running coaching is better at AAA, so let him start every day for 6 weeks, or so, and then take inventory of where he is and what he has to improve to be a major league total player. If he’s not going to be “the guy”, then restart the search to replace Span in ’16, or QO him for one more season.

  24. Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 1:06 PM

    I like a lot of things about Taylor. He has power at the plate and he is by all accounts coachable. He has shortened his swing up from what I saw in Harrisburg last year, where to my eye he looked at the time like a JMax clone. He is generally a bad 2 strike hitter at this point in time. He still reminds me of Justin when he reverts to the loop in his swing on 2 strike off speed pitches.Will he get better? The ML level isn’t the easiest place to make the adjustments, but I’m holding off on throwing him under the bus.It’s easy to forget that he’s a rookie. I wish that he had played a little more AAA, or even more AA ball.His natural outfielding radar is really very good, and though he still misjudges one now and then, he gets great jumps most of the time. He is one of the best overall athletes on the team, imo. The one area that I really worry about him is base running. I feel that his mistakes there are more of an instinctive flaw than those that are correctable by coaching. I’m pretty sure that you can’t teach instincts. I still think that he’s got the abilities to be great player.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 1:09 PM

      Also, [again barring a trade], with Werth out, he would be my choice as the primary LFer right now. Personally, I am so far not that impressed with denDekker, which isn’t to say that he can’t come on.

    • NatsLady - May 29, 2015 at 1:16 PM

      Right that you can’t teach “instincts,” but a lot of instinct is experience and repetition. Situations may not have come up in minor-league ball where you don’t have a lot of guys with great arms who make the right decision–those guys are in the majors. 😉

      The more that Michael A. plays against major-league talent the more his decision-making on the basepaths should improve. I hope.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2015 at 1:21 PM

        Agreed, NL, regarding the stuff that you got away with in the minors doesn’t translate to MLB. But even in AA the rap on MAT was that he was he had TOOTBLAN tendancies.

  25. rlndtln - May 29, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    Nats will keep MAT up to play left field but more important to give Denard a day off.MW seems not to want to play Bryce in center.MAT will play the majority time in left as the nats do not want him sitting around.Occasional use of Tyler and Robinson when favorable match ups occur.This will be the deal and forget about all those crazy changes for Danny or Desi.

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