Originally written November 29, 2012 on isportsweb.com:
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Is Denard Span the missing piece that the Washington Nationals feel they need to get over the top? With BJ Upton landing in Atlanta, the Nats finally got the man they’ve been chasing for a few years in Span. Washington blew away the competition during the 2012 regular season before falling victim to some standard St. Louis Cardinal October magic. It’s actually hard to imagine a team that needs much less help than Washington. Davey Johnson leads a team onto the field in 2013 that possesses nothing short of jaw-dropping talent. Denard Span With Span, Johnson now has what the organization feels to be an everyday centerfielder and leadoff hitter. Just as rumors of Michael Bourn to Washington started to catch fire, Span enters the mix. Span is signed through 2014 with a club option for ’15. Next year he will make $3M and then get a raise to $4.75M in 2014 before the option year. The breakout season by Ian Desmond answered one of the very questions they had heading into 2012. Danny Espinosa represents another potential question mark, but how much is he really hurting this roster? In my opinion, let Espinosa be. He might just be one season away like Desmond was. Michasel Morse and Adam Laroche are also names to throw into the fire now. Span will play center, which bumps Bryce Harper to left and Jayson Werth will man right. The Nationals, without question, want to re-up Laroche after a dominant and clutch 2012 campaign by the sweet-swinging lefty. If they grab Laroche, Morse is suddenly expendable, and he will no doubt receive a ton of attention from other teams. If they can’t sign Laroche, then Morse or even Tyler Moore will neatly fit into the vacancy at 1st base, though with less defensive aptitude. A potential lineup for the Nationals in 2013 might look like this: Span – CF Harper – LF Zimmerman – 3B Laroche/Morse – 1B Werth – RF Desmond – SS Espinosa – 2B Flores/Ramos – C Impressive. With the arms that Washington has returning to the fold and a lineup like this, they are once again poised to take down all competition in the National League. In exchange for Span, the Nats gave away top pitching prospect Alex Meyer, someone whose services the Minnesota Twins organization will immediately require.
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