As of now we have 5 position players (Espinosa, Lombardozzi, Tracy, Moore, and Bernadina) who have an on base percentage of under .250. Of these, only Lombardozzi is hitting above the Mendoza line. You may be thinking (as I have) that players putting up such putrid numbers have no business on the roster of a contending team. They certainly don't belong in the starting lineup. However, there are problems with replacing most of these underperformers from the standpoint of position flexibility.
An obvious candidate for AAA or the DL is Danny Espinosa. There are 3 in AA and AAA who would be likely to put up better offensive numbers (Rendon, Kobernus, and Rhymes). The problem is that Danny is also our backup shortstop. Can any of these guys give Desmond an occasional blow? I wonder if he'd still be with us if he couldn't also play short. Otherwise, Ryan Theriot might be getting a call from the 202 area code. If Danny goes, we need someone who can play shortstop. Maybe Rendon? Seems he would have enough on his plate learning to play second at a major league level.
What about sending down Lombardozzi? Even for a good field, no hit utility player his offensive numbers are pretty weak. Kobernus offers as much defensive flexibility, but would he be a better alternative? He, like Lombo, strikes out more than he walks. Still, it would be hard to walk less than Lombo. He isn't likely to hit .300 against major league pitching, but maybe he could put up good numbers until the league figures him out. It would be a crap shoot, but possibly one worth trying.
Giving Chad Tracy his walking papers would take away a left handed bat off the bench who can fill in at the corner infield spots. Who in AAA can play the corners and bat left? Will "Batman" Rhymes has played some third, and bats lefty. However, he isn't a threat to do what Tracy did against the Padres. If Lombo stays, or Kobernus is called up, they can also fill in at the hot corner. There are other options at first, including Moore (if he and his .120 average stay) and Marrero.
I was afraid Tyler Moore would be exposed if he were put in the starting lineup. It looks like he has been exposed even without starting. If he swung at one of Livo's 65 mph curves they'd probably need a corkscrew to get him out of the ground. At first I thought bringing up Marrero to replace him was a no brainer. He hit around .250 with gap power during a callup in 2011. He seems to be regaining his power stroke at Syracuse. But wait; he's strictly a first baseman. Moore can play the outfield, even if he doesn't play it that well. I think if Moore is sent down for Marrero maybe it should be after Werth returns. Another possible replacement would be Micah Owings, but he has struck out at a rate almost as high as Moore's. On the other hand, his lifetime average against major league pitching is higher.
Bernadina, even though he seems completely lost at the plate this year, is a valuable defensive replacement. I don't see this as being as complicated now that Corey Brown is off the DL. Maybe it's time to give him a shot to see if he can make it as a fourth outfielder in the Nation's capital.
As you can see, replacing our underachievers isn't an easy task. We have guys who are producing in the minors, but there are complications when it comes to filling positions. Of course there are folks who are paid a lot more than me to make these decisions. What say you?