The acquisition of Denard Span this week has forced the Nationals to decide between keeping LaRoche or Morse. From an offensive viewpoint the Nationals are probably worse off having a lineup that includes Span-LaRoche or Span-Morse compared to the pre-existing LaRoche-Morse. Personally, I would prefer the latter, since both Morse and LaRoche will out homer Span by at least 20 HRs and have a similar BA and OBP.
Defensively, there is a net improvement with Span-LaRoche but less so with Span-Morse.
From an age perspective, the Nats gain a few years since Span is younger than Morse and LaRoche.
Regarding foot speed, Span is better than either Morse or LaRoche by a long shot.
From a control view, the Nats control Span for 2 years versus 1 year for Morse and 3 years for LaRoche, assuming they sign him for the period he will likely accept. In the absence of Span I would have preferred extending Morse now by 3 years, letting LaRoche go for the supplemental pick, putting Morse at 1B, and platooning Moore and Bernadina in LF for 2012. After 2012 perhaps one of the top prospects will alter this assessment. Even with Span I want the Nats to retain Morse for the long haul by extending him now.
My main fear is that, now with Span, in addition to losing a very good pitching prospect in Meyer, the Nats may replace a slugger in Morse, who, if healthy, gives them an elite combination of on-base pct. and slugging pct. and give them a very formidable power sequence of Werth - Harper - Zim. - Morse - LaRoche/Moore/Bernie - Desmond - Espy - Ramos. Replacing Morse with Span is not so formidable.
So, in sum I do not hate the trade for Span, but I am not really enthusiastic about it either. After Harper and Moore arrived on the scene, I have not really wanted the Nationals to make any position player changes except internally, such as letting Lombo. truly compete at 2B against Espy. If it ain't broke why fix it? However, I have and do want them to pursue more bullpen and starter pitching help, even if they must ‘over pay' to some extent. Hopefully, the Dodger, Angels, and Rangers will not drive the good FA price to the stratosphere.