The original plan, back when the Washington Nationals acquired Yunel Escobar last winter, was to move the veteran infielder from short to second base with Anthony Rendon playing third after spending time at second and third base in the 2010 1st Round pick's first two major league seasons in 2013-14.
Rendon suffered an MCL sprain early in Spring Training, however, so Escobar switched over to third base and by the time Rendon was ready to return to the Nationals' lineup in June, GM Mike Rizzo said he didn't think it was fair to ask Escobar to move back over to second base.
"Yuni does look more comfortable at third base right now and to ask him to go over to second base I think would be asking too much of him," Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.
Rendon did spend most of his time at second in 2015, playing 59 of 87 games there, but when now-former Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked about the team's plans for next season in September he said Rendon would likely move back to third base in 2016.
"Third base is Anthony’s natural position," Williams told reporters, including the Washington Post's James Wagner.
"He’s most comfortable there," Williams explained. "With the injuries and coming back, the apple cart and all of that, it would be a situation where Anthony is best served playing third."
Will Escobar move over to second as originally planned? He's under contract for 2016 at $7M with a club option for 2017 at $7M or a $1M buyout.
Rendon, who dealt with the MCL sprain, an oblique issue and a quad strain, played in just 80 games this season, putting up a .264/.344/.363 line with 16 doubles and five home runs in 355 PAs over which he was worth 0.9 fWAR, down from .287/.351/.473, 39 doubles and 21 HRs in 153 games and 683 PAs in 2014 over which he was worth 6.5 fWAR.
In the final year of the 4-year/$7.2M major league deal he signed out of the Draft, Rendon earned $2.5M.
According to MLBTraderumors.com, the third-year major leaguer qualified for Super Two status, though MLBTR's arbitration projections have him getting somewhere around $2.5M again in 2016.
So do the Nationals go with Anthony Rendon at third, Danny Espinosa at short (until Trea Turner is ready if he's not with the Nats out of Spring Training), Escobar at second and Ryan Zimmerman at first next season?
Do the Nationals, who brought Turner up early this past season and kept him with the team through the end of the year keep him in the majors at the start of the 2016 campaign, future Super Two status and earnings be damned?
Will the Nationals sell high on Escobar after the 32-year-old infielder bounced back from a down year in 2014 with a .314/.375/.415, 25 double, nine home run, 2.1 fWAR season?
Once Turner's is up for good, whenever that is, do the Nationals move Espinosa back to a utility role and go with Rendon, Turner, Escobar and Zimmerman around the infield?