Last week I wrote a post that revolved around the idea that the Nationals "are who we thought they were". They are the good team on the edge of playoff contention that we thought we had going into last season, and are not up to the expectations placed upon them based on last year's success. I suggested that the Nats a) might need to trade for a real 2B, namely Jose Altuve, to fill a need at a position they didn't have a real major leaguer at b) should call up Rendon as a 3B and PH c) should keep Nathan Karns on the roster as a long reliever and get rid of Zach Duke.
A week later and Rendon is in the bigs, Duke has been released and Karns is up in the bigs, and the Nats still are still losing games. Davey has proved his genius by turning over the roster in a creative way with minor leaguers and hopefully injecting some of the hunger that we had last year back into this stagnant team.
As for what I wrote last week, an astute commentator on my previous post noted that many who are in the know believe that Rendon won't hold up at 2B (worst place for a guy with bad ankles), which I also believe. We need him in the lineup, we just need him at 3B and as our primary pinch hitter more than as a Band-Aid at 2B (World Series teams have surgery and don't cover up gaping wounds with Band-Aids). We need Rendon in the role I described- our pinch hitting is abysmal, and while it hasn't happened yet just wait until Zim costs us a game with a throwing error on a routine groundball- just wait, then come and complain that we didn't have a defensive replacement on the bench for the late innings (Tracy? Lombo?).
On pitching, I still think that Karns would be fine facing 6-10 batters over 2 innings with a short hook (although I PREFER the news that C. Guzman might be near coming back). Karns has proven that he's not ready as a starter. On other pitching fronts, the idea of giving up on Haren and trading for a 5th starter to me is ridiculous- our problem is HITTING, not pitching, if we're going to part with assets for anything it had better be for a bat. Rizzo has to live with his bad decision and hope that Haren at least comes up big when it counts.
So, for this weeks' edition of how to fix the Nationals? Similar to last weeks- get a BAT!!!!! Our 2 hole is still a hot mess- we need a .300 hitter in front of Harp-Zim-Laroche like a cancer patient needs chemo, it's going to hurt but without it this lineup dies. Span IS a good center fielder, but he's just not the plus-plus leadoff hitter who can mask the fact that on any given day we have no idea who's going to hit second. This team is one good batter away from being scary, and until we get one we're the 1990's Atlanta Braves minus one of their good bats. Take Chipper, Gary Sheffield, Tony Pendleton, Ron Gant, David Justice, or any ONE bat off of any of those teams and you have what the Nats are now- not even World Series losers. We need a big stick, and I'd love to see the Lerner's go nuts in the offseason and make Cano or frankly anybody who will listen an offer they can't refuse. We're so wrapped up in our own hype though, that even if Stanton was on the table we wouldn't consider dumping a player like Werth or Span to make room for him- we're the perfect baseball team, #1 in every preseason poll, and even if we tank this season we'll come back at or near the top of the predictions again next year. And fall into the same old DC story of unfulfilled expectations....anybody else have any ideas? Players to target? Ideas other than the tired old "we just need to keep working, it'll come" lines we keep getting from the guys wearing the curly W's?