Originally posted on The Nats Blog old  |  Last updated 12/2/12
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.  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Bulls trade Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, No. 7 pick

Report: Spurs, Cavs trade talks now include LaMarcus Aldridge

LaVar Ball says ‘Zeus and Jesus’ told him Lonzo would go to Lakers

Cavs are reportedly talking about a trade for Danny Green with Spurs

Report: Blazers pursuing lottery pick due to Damian Lillard’s desire for better supporting cast

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lonzo Ball wears Big Baller Brand bow tie to NBA Draft

Markelle Fultz wearing shows made out of actual basketballs at NBA Draft

Kings reportedly showing major interest in Andre Drummond

WATCH: George Springer exits game after HBP

Chiefs part ways with GM John Dorsey

Oilers, Islanders swap Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

It’s quarterback contract silly season, starting with Derek Carr

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

2017 NBA Mock Draft

Box Score 6/22: Emotion-filled Knight for Pens fans, Preds fans... and Knicks fans

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'Golden Knights will begin with a Fleury of activity' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Ricky Davis Award for most irrationally confident shooter

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

Which vets the Vegas Golden Knights should build around

Box Score 6/21: Summer of NBA trades heats up

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

It’s quarterback contract silly season, starting with Derek Carr

The 'Golden Knights will begin with a Fleury of activity' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Ricky Davis Award for most irrationally confident shooter

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

Which vets the Vegas Golden Knights should build around

The Giants' failures for 2017 are complete, time to think of the future

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker