While the chatter this winter has surrounded the Washington Nationals' interest in free agent outfielders like B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, the Nats apparently returned to an old target to fill their need for a center fielder, agreeing upon a deal announced this afternoon that will send 22-year-old 2011 1st Round pick RHP Alex Meyer to the Minnesota Twins in return for 28-year-old center fielder Denard Span. The Nationals have previously talked about acquiring the outfielder, with the two sides reportedly coming close to a deal before the 2011 Non-Waiver deadline.
According to multiple reports this afternoon the two sides have finally found a deal that both sides liked:
The #Nationals today acquired OF Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league RHP Alex Meyer.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) November 29, 2012
Span, who was born in Washington, D.C., was drafted by the Twins in the 1st Round of the '02 Draft out of Catholic High School in Tampa, Florida. In five MLB seasons, the 6'0'', 210 lb left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder has posted a combined .284/.357/.389 line with a 162-game average of 29 doubles, 10 triples and six home runs. Span is coming off a .283/.342/.395 2012 season which saw him hit 38 doubles, four triples and four home runs.
Alex Meyer, the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 Draft, finished his first pro season at Class-A Potomac after starting the year at Low-A Hagerstown. In 18 games and 90.0 IP with the Hagerstown Suns, Meyer had a 3.10 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 34 walks (3.40 BB/9) and 107 Ks (10.70 K/9). Once he moved to High-A Potomac, the former University of Kentucky right-hander had a 2.54 ERA and a 3.23 FIP with 11 walks (2.54 BB/9) and 32 Ks (7.38 K/9) in seven starts and 39.0 IP.
In an interview this morning on 106.7 the FAN in D.C., Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told hosts Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier that the Nationals continued to search for what he described as a, "... "... dynamic type of... if possible... a guy who can play center field and lead off for us, [and] make [Bryce Harper] more comfortable in a corner outfield position which is where we see his future down the road."
The Nats' general manager had a conference call with reporters scheduled for 4:45 pm EST this afternoon. More news and quotes to follow...