Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 10/20/14
The hot stove is burning, and winter meetings start this week. There will be endless rumors of who is signing where and what player is available to be moved. One guy that seems to be on the block, according to multiple sources, is Nats second baseman Danny Espinosa. I’m not so sure he should be. Espinosa certainly comes with his share of problems. Primarily, he led the National League in strikeouts in 2012, which is the last place you want your second baseman to be in the rankings. While that’s a big issue, he has many redeeming qualities in the lineup and on the field. While Espinosa struck out an exorbitant 189 times last season, that’s going to matter less in 2013. The Nationals traded for center fielder Denard Span last week, who will automatically be put in the leadoff spot. That probably slides Jayson Werth down to the number two slot and Bryce Harper into the four or five spot. That’s all a fancy way of saying Espinosa will still hit seventh or eighth this year, unchanged from last season. He’s not going to be counted on as a significant part of the offense. Since the top of the lineup got way better, what does it hurt to allow Espinosa to remain in the bottom part of the order? The answer: it doesn’t. In fact, it may help the Nats a whole lot. Espinosa is quickly becoming among the best defensive second basemen in the NL, meanwhile he provides the Nats great wins above replacement (WAR), even with his extraordinary strikeouts. For the MLB-best Nationals, Danny Espinosa provided the fourth-most WAR of all players. The only Nats who had higher WAR than Espi: Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman. That’s not terrible company. Espinosa was also tied in WAR with Adam LaRoche, who was widely considered the Nats MVP last year. WAR isn’t a tell-all stat, but it’s certainly a good gauge of quality. Espinosa also provides much better defense than the guy who would inevitably replace him, Steve Lombardozzi. I’m a fan of Lombo’s, personally. However, he doesn’t have nearly as much range, his glove work isn’t as good, and his arm isn’t as strong as Espinosa. The bottom line is the Nats wouldn’t gain much, if anything, on offense, and they would lose on defense with Lombardozzi compared to Espinosa. With Span in the lineup, both Espinosa and Lombardozzi will sit at the very bottom of the Nats batting order, so why would you want to get rid of Espinosa’s defense and ability to hit for power? The only reason is more pitching. If the Nats were able to trade Espinosa for a quality starter, likely from the Tampa Bay Rays organization, then it may be a smart move. Otherwise, the Nats would be giving up a bottom of the order power threat with plus defensive ability for very little reason. If Espinosa is moved this week, or this offseason, it will be for something huge, not for a marginal improvement. With the shrewd moves that GM Mike Rizzo has made in the last couple seasons, I’m not worried that he’ll make the wrong move.  
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NBA Board of Governors votes against NBA draft lottery reform

Jamaal Charles admits he hid concussion symptoms

Kobe Bryant on ESPN article: ‘I just kind of roll with it’

Georgia releases statement about Todd Gurley's status

Michigan QB talks about racist messages he receives

Giants dethrone Royals in Game 1 of World Series

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Devils winger sends zinger about nasty facial cuts

Wife of Royals pitcher leaves World Series ticket as tip

Report: Chandler Jones to miss a month with hip injury

Lance Briggs left Bears' locker room to avoid the fighting

Could the Seahawks have gotten more for Percy Harvin?

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Fan blows $300 buying hot dogs for his section at World Series

Mo’ne Davis' Chevy commercial won't affect amateur status

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas forces OT, stares down Mayweather

10 bold predictions for Week 8 of NFL season

WATCH: Arkansas St. RB scores improbable touchdown

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1 loss at World Series

Matt Flynn had a blast at Pearl Jam concert

Report: Back injury could end Nathan Horton's career

Report: Ray Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups E – H

PHOTO: Fans place Manning’s 509 football in Hall of Fame

Jets sign Jeremy Kerley to $16M 4-year extension

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

The San Francisco Giants are zombies

10 bold predictions for NFL Week 8

Pitcher's wife leaves generous tip

Nicklaus defends Jameis Winston

NFL players who could be traded by the deadline

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge'

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.