• Nationals Seeking Leadoff Man...After close to a hundred votes, the Nats' 23-year-old rookie infielder Danny Espinosa is way ahead of the competition for the Nationals' 2011 leadoff spot, though the idea of a first-year player at the top of the order has been questioned by some. Nyjer Morgan, in spite of his struggles getting on base (.320 OBP in '10) and staying on base when he gets there (17 CS in 50 attempts), is still receiving some support, though the Nationals' manager Jim Riggleman said yesterday he thinks Morgan, "...can be a real plus for us in that no.2 spot," (which he really was yesterday) and as others have pointed out throughout the 29-year-old left-hander's first full season in D.C., his complete inability to hit left-handed pitching (.204/.295/.275 career slash line vs LHP, .209/.287/.264 this season), should at least necessitate a platoon in center so that someone else can face the left-handers.
The options in yesterday's leadoff poll (Morgan, Espinosa, Roger Bernadina and Ian Desmond) were provided by Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman, who said, "it's gonna have to work itself out here at the end of the year and in Spring Training next year when hopefully one of them will show that they're going to get on base at about a .350 clip and solidify that no.1 spot." As of today, none of the available options are getting on base at anywhere close to a .350 clip, so barring an addition to the lineup, or the unexpected emergence of a new option from within the organization, one of the four players Riggleman mentions is going to have to step up.
MLBTraderumors.com's Zach Links picked up on the Nats' leadoff man discussion yesterday, quoting MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Nationals seeking leadoff hitter", in his own quick piece with the same title, wherein he once again mentions the Nats' rumored interest in free-agent-to-be Carl Crawford, which was first mentioned by MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling a few weeks back. Mr. Links also points out some potential trade targets, listing the Red Sox' Jacoby Ellsbury, the Angels' Reggie Willits and the Cubs' over-priced outfielder Kosuke Fukudome as options, should the free agent market not provide the Nats with the player they're reportedly seeking. (ed. note - "You'll notice I'm completely ignoring (til now I guess) the fact that Mr. Links mentions one of his MLBTR's colleagues' mentions of Corey Patterson as "another potential fit", been there, tried that.")
The Nationals' outgoing team President Stan Kasten said the nation's capital's favorite team was going to be aggressive this winter in trying to upgrade the Nats' roster, and the DC GM Mike Rizzo has put a front-end starting pitcher at the top of their wish list, but with Kasten departing and his replacement as-yet-unnamed, what Washington will actually do this winter remains a mystery...