So Denard Span in center field in the nation's capital, with... maybe... Steven Souza as a fourth outfielder for the Washington Nationals and Michael Taylor in center in Triple-A Syracuse to get some more at bats in with the Nats' top minor league affiliate before he's called up again and then takes over in 2016? Span will be back in D.C. next year, we know that much, (barring a trade that some commenters around NatsTown are sure will happen).
The Nationals announced on Thursday that they picked up Span's $9M option for the 2015 season, bringing the soon-to-turn 31-year-old outfielder back for a third campaign in D.C. Not exactly a surprise after the Nats' leadoff man and "defensive ballhawk" of a center fielder's impressive 2014, which saw him post a .302/.355/.416 line with 39 doubles, eight triples, five home runs and 31 stolen bases in 147 games and 668 PAs over which he was worth +3.8 fWAR.
The fact that the Nationals declined Adam LaRoche and Rafael Soriano's options wasn't much of a surprise with Ryan Zimmerman expected to move to first in 2015 and Soriano struggling in the second half of his second season in the Nats' bullpen.
The Nationals also announced that Asdrubal Cabrera, Scott Hairston and Nate Schierholtz officially hit free agency on Thursday, though the Nats can negotiate with each exclusively until Monday.
Do the Nats bring Cabrera back to play second? Sign/trade for a second baseman? Get a third baseman and let Anthony Rendon play second?
The Hot Stove season follows the postseason. And the World Series is over.
There was actually some real news for a change yesterday and people wrote about it...
Links and links and links... starting... RIGHT NOW!!:
• Denard Span's option articles:
• "The Nationals formally announced Span’s option pick-up on Thursday afternoon, but also declined options for first baseman Adam LaRoche and reliever Rafael Soriano..." - "Nationals pick up Denard Span’s 2015 option, decline options for Adam LaRoche, Rafael Soriano" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "The decision to bring back Span was a no-brainer on the heels of his impressive, all-around season." - "Nationals pick up option for Span, decline LaRoche and Soriano" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Span set a team record with 184 hits, tied for the most in the majors, scored 94 runs and had a career-high 31 stolen bases in 38 chances." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats exercise 2015 option on Span, decline options on LaRoche and Soriano" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Span said general manager Mike Rizzo called to inform him that he would be back with the team in 2015." - "Nationals exercise option on Span" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "Span, who will be 31 on opening day, hit .302/.355/.416 last season, leading the Nats in hits and setting team marks for hits and multi-hit games." - "Washington Nationals exersize option on Span; decline LaRoche and Soriano" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page
• Nationals' offseason starts articles:
• "Teams have five days to exclusively negotiate with their own free agents, so the Nationals have until 5 p.m. Monday to attempt to re-sign any or all of their players before they are free to sign elsewhere." - "Three Nationals officially become free agents" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "With the World Series over, the offseason officially kicks into gear and winter begins now." - "Welcome to the offseason" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• What the [expletive deleted] is a GIBBY?:
• "Relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard are nominees for the Setup Man award, while Anthony Rendon and Tanner Roark could be named Breakout Hitter and Breakout Pitcher, respectively." - "Zimmermann, Souza highlight Nats' GIBBY nominations" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "Severino's Mesa teammate and fellow catcher Spencer Kieboom has also stepped up his game after recovering from right ulnar collateral ligament surgery in 2013." - "Catchers Severino and Kieboom coming along well at the plate" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):
If we cherish non-violence and concern for others’ well-being it is possible to make this a more peaceful century.— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) May 6, 2014
• Early, early, co-favorites:
• "The Washington Nationals share that honor with the Dodgers. Both teams, which were knocked out in the NLDS this season, are listed at 15/2 odds." - "Dodgers, Nationals are early favorites to win 2015 World Series; Giants rank fifth" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports
• And in the center of the book, there was a photo that had been pasted. It was 'El Gordo,' the Fat Man." - Vin Scully:
• "Livan Hernandez was the first to defect, turning his reputation as the most prized pitching prospect not already in Major League Baseball into an opportunity with the Florida Marlins." - "Nationals Buzz: Livan Hernandez's story chronicled in ESPN's 'Brothers in Exile' on Nov. 4" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:
• "Who are the best free agents on the market this offseason? Here are the top 34 baseball players that money can buy." - "2014-2015 MLB free agent power ranking" - Grant Brisbee, SBNation.com
• "While there’s no guarantee that the Hall of Fame will put it on exhibit, a ball, but not the ball, from Zimmermann’s no-hitter is on its way to Cooperstown." - "Ball from Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter is latest D.C. addition to Cooperstown" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
• "The Brewers, who have had no luck finding a first baseman the past two seasons, have been heavily rumored to have great interest in acquiring LaRoche." - "Nationals decline Adam LaRoche's option, 1B officially an option for Brewers" - Noah Jarosh, Brew Crew Ball
• "Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams has agreed to be the featured speaker at an annual fundraiser for the University of Nevada baseball team in January." - "RENO, Nev.: Matt Williams headlines Nevada baseball dinner" - FresnoBee.com
• "The LaRoche Baseball Complex currently under construction in the Fort Scott Industrial Park received a visit from its namesake Wednesday morning." - "Fort Scott Tribune: Local News: LaRoche gives congresswoman tour of baseball complex project" - Jason E. Silvers, Fort Scott Tribune
• NL EAST UPDATES:
• Mets: "One outfielder on the market who could fit the profile is Alex Rios. The Rangers declined an option on him this month, making him a free agent." - "MLB hot stove: Do Mets have interest in Alex Rios?" - Mike Vorkunov, NJ.com
• Marlins: "Right-handers Kevin Gregg and Brad Penny, second baseman Rafael Furcal and utility man Reed Johnson are part of the initial pool. Free agents can begin signing with teams Tuesday." - "Furcal, Penny, Gregg elect free agency" - Juan C. Rodriguez, Florida Sun-Sentinel
Marlins 40-man roster at 37: • @JDFernandez16 reinst from 60-Day DL • Reed Johnson, Kevin Gregg, Brad Penny, Rafael Furcal elect free agency— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) October 30, 2014
• Phillies: "As expected on Thursday, the Phillies declined Mike Adams' $6 million club option for 2015." - "Phillies decline option on reliever Adams" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com
• Braves: "As the Braves prepare for what will likely be an active and interesting offseason, their first significant decision will involve Ervin Santana..." - "Braves have decision to make about Santana" - Mark Bowman, braves.com