What a great time to have a 30-hour server outage. Just as soon as the hammer drops on the Nationals Roster my site went kaplunk and I couldn’t post or host comments. Grrr. Moving the site next month to some place more stable.
So, focusing on the obvious, the Nats made a series of moves that some argue were overdue by about a couple years. Some quick thoughts (since by now everyone’s weighed in so my comments are nothing obvious):
1. Henry Rodriguez DFA 16 walks in 18 innings this year in almost entirely low-leverage situations. Long overdue move; if you can’t rely on a reliever, you need someone else. I think the team hung on to him for far too long, and I struggled with the acquisition to begin with as has often been repeated here. Will he catch on with another team? Probably; 100mph fastballs don’t grow on trees. He can go be someone else’s Steve Dalkowski.
2. Zach Duke DFA: you had to see this coming; the Nats are paying the price for not tendering Tom Gorzelanny and thinking they could get by with Duke in that spot. I did too; he was decent in AAA and great in September 2012. But he’s been god-awful this year, and it looks like Rizzo is going to start spinning arms through the bullpen to find someone that can stick. Unlike Davey Johnson, I don’t believe he’s going to get picked up off waivers and he’ll likely take his AAA assignment.
3. Danny Espinosa to the D/L and then (by assumption of his locker being cleaned out) banished to the minors: it was a-coming. If he was hitting .230 with power and walks, he could have stuck on. But you just cannot cost a struggling offense the kind of at-bats he was. He’s got more than 1500 MLB plate appearances now; is this who he is? I think Espinosa’s 2013 season may end up with him spending the rest of the year in AAA relearning how to hit before the team has to make a hard decision next year.
4. Anthony Rendon back up and at 2b: had to happen. He’s ready for the MLB. He had nothing left to prove by slicing up AA. Can he play second? Yeah I think he can; it isn’t rocket science. If Rendon played shortstop in HS, he can make that transition. Stick him at 6th or 7th in the order and let him play.
5. Ian Krol: this move came out of nowhere for me. Suddenly mr “we don’t need a left handed reliever” Mike Rizzo has two of them in his bullpen. He’s also managed to already call up both guys added to the 40-man roster last fall ahead of the rule-5 draft. I’m sure both Krol and Erik Davis will struggle here and there, but should hold their own in short stints.
Summary: like the moves. It is almost as if the Nats fanboy blogosphere got to play GM for a day and rid the team of all its issues in one fell swoop. The timing couldn’t be better; 6 games against non-descript teams and even more non-descript starters. Lets hope the combination of new blood and bad opponents sparks this team.