Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Elephant in The Room: Sit Espinosa, Play Lombo at 2nd

When Michael Morse returns from injury on Friday to Nats Park, presumably he will move into Left Field, taking Steve Lombardozzi's spot. Kid Bryce is not moving out of RF, and Lombo's arm is no match for Rick Ankiel's in CF. (see Lombo's attempt to throw out Logan Morrison at home plate yesterday)

The question then becomes, where do you put Steve Lombardozzi?  The answer: 2nd base.

Probably not the easiest decision that Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo will have to make, but the inability of Danny Espinosa to consistently  make contact and hit for average, is going to have to be addressed sooner rather than later, and on Friday opportunity will present itself.

I'm not quite sure how Steve Lombardozzi takes a seat when Morse comes back. Through 37 games, Lombo is hitting .323 and he's only struck out 6 times. He's been a nice spark batting lead off, a role the Nats have been trying to fill pretty much since they came to Washington.

Secondly, Lombo came up through the Nats system as a 2nd baseman, anyway.

Espinosa's fielding is not in question. He's only made 4 errors in 188 attempts, and has a slightly better fielding percentage than both Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman. But his performance with a bat in his hand, leaves little to be desired.

For starters, he strikes out entirely too much. Way, way, way too much.  Over his career, Espinosa has a 30.1 strike out percentage. That is almost a strike out every 3 at bats. This season, he's striking out 35% of the time. Couple that with his .213 batting average- worst on the team of any everyday starter, and the choice for Davey and Rizzo becomes a no brainer.

Rumor has it that the Nats are shopping John Lannan. Mike Rizzo should package Lannan with Espinosa's career .233 batting average, and pick up another arm and a "player to be named later". Whatever he and Davey are working on, lets hope it involves Steve Lombardozzi in the everyday player role.


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