In 2004 Dallas McPhearson was named by just about every baseball media affiliate as the next best thing. At the age of 23 McPhearson had just finished what was arguably statistically the most dominant stretch in minor league history. The former second rounder put up a total of 40 home runs between double and triple A for the Anaheim affiliates and posted astronomical slugging, batting, and on base percentages. McPhearson’s talent and potential were considered so great, that the Angels didn’t even blink when deciding not to resign then all-star third basemen Troy Glaus to a new deal in 2005.
Unfortunately as we’ve seen time and time again some prospects just don’t pan out right away. Despite is undeniable hitting ability, McPhearson could inexplicably not hit at the Major League level in 2005 and 2006. It seemed as if he was finally put out of his misery as a hip injury took him out of baseball for all of 2007.
It seemed that the once lock future superstar’s career had disappeared just as quickly as it came. As most former flames do when recuperating from an injury, McPhearson tried to sign a minor league deal with the lowly Marlins. It was here where the third basemen finally found his stroke. At the age of only 27, McPhearson destroyed triple A looking like the kid of old. In 127 games he batted .275/.379/618 with 42 homers.
Going into the spring he seemed all but a lock to win the third base job in Florida over the one dollar man Wes Helms. Alas McPhearson struggled out of the gates and batted only .239/.314/.370 before his surprising release earlier this week.
This move has left many baseball experts scratching their heads, however regardless of the reason for the blunder, I think it provides the Nationals with a great opportunity. In signing McPhearson to a minor league deal the Nats add no risk, and reap several possible rewards. If McPhearson can return to the hitter he was last year, or pre 2005 then the Nats will have a potential 30 homer a year guy they can try and fit into a relatively packed line up. If they opt not to keep the third basemen(yes the position of our franchise player) then they have a solid bargaining chip in midseason trades.
Some may hesitate to go after a player who can only really play two positions, both of which are not viable options for playing time in the Nats lineup (first and third). However the worst thing that can happen if McPhearson succeeds here is that we have a very good potential call-up when players get injured. After all, since when have Nick Johnson or Ryan Zimmerman been the pinnacle of health?
And anyways, regaurdless of his potential performance, he has to be a better triple A option than Kory Casto….