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Washington Nationals Second Basemen Can Neither Be Created Nor Destroyed

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One day ago, the Nationals traded second baseman Jose Vidro to the Seattle Mariners (pending Vidro's physical on Friday, about which all of us are crossing our fingers so tight they're pale on the inside). Once a Mariner, Vidro is expected to serve primarily as a designated hitter---or at least Vidro expects this, I think. Today, Felipe Lopez indicated he would move from shortstop to second base, replacing Vidro.

A Natty second basemen is traded and moves to another position; his Natty replacement moves from another position to second. It's sort of like a law of thermodynamics, though not really.

According to the Nats.com article linked above, the think tank thinks Lopez is a better second baseman than a shortstop---or perhaps, to reframe things, is a worse shortstop than a second baseman. At any rate, the baseball men regard Lopez as deficient at short. The stat dorks would appear to agree. A cursory glance puts Lopez next-to-last according to Chris Dial's stuff at Baseball Primer. Another cursory glance puts Lopez next-to-last according to David Pinto's Probabiblil . . . stats stuff over at Baseball Musings. Two cursory stat drunk computer nerd glances, both reflecting Lopez was bad at short in 2006, represent all the due diligence I'll do in this matter.

The Lopez shift, expected as it is, provides Cristian Guzman with a regular spot in the lineup, expected (and resignedly accepted) as that is. Bemoan Guzman as we may---or lavish bizarre love on him, as the case may be---he's the shortstop again. Who's going to displace him, either at short or collaterally via a second baseman to push Lopez back to short? Josh Wilson? Bernie Castro? Mel Dorta? Dan (Dr.) Dement(o)? Nah. This team doesn't care about 2007, anyway. So where's the harm?

With this transition in mind, and assuming the Vidro trade goes through, as we all pray it does, the lineup might be starting to take shape. On that subject, while you're praying for the Vidro trade to go through, devote a second or an hour or a weekend to praying for Chris Snelling to experience continued health any kind of lasting health. He is a pretty fine option for a No. 2 hitter, patient enough to give Lopez a chance for some swipes and to get himself on base regularly. This is, of course, assuming Snelling has a place in the lineup and on the roster; given the glut of outfielders, and given the (at least superficial) love heaped on Kory Casto so far, Snelling's role is perhaps not a given.

All that in mind, here's a sample lineup versus righties:

  • Lopez, 2B
  • Snelling, LF
  • Johnson, 1B>
  • Zimmerman, 3B
  • Kearns, RF
  • Church, CF
  • Schneider, C
  • Guzman, SS
Except for the bottom two (well, three, counting the pitcher and remembering Livan is gone), that's not half-bad. In that lineup, Zimm the Cleanup Hitter could vulture gobs and gobs of ribbies.

Of course, Church is likely not around; insert Alex Escobar, and I'm not sure how much things are altered, if at all. Of course, Escobar is not really a great bet to stay healthy; insert Nook Logan, and the bottom of that order looks weak. Of course, Snelling is also not really a great bet to stay healthy; insert Casto, and who really knows what to expect?

Essentially, the object is to keep Logan and Casto out of the lineup? That can't be right---at least not in full. Casto is reputedly our type position player prospect (or, discounting Chris Marrero, the top advanced one). Or is he?

Trivia question: Who's older---Snelling or Casto?

Click on "Read More" for the answer.

Snelling is older---but barely. By five days.

Snelling was born on 12/3/1981. Casto was born on 12/8/1981.