After seemingly making a commitment to having Carter Kieboom play third base for them this season, the Washington Nationals have apparently significantly revised the plan.
Three days after optioning the 22-year-old Kieboom to the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Va., the Nats acquired Brock Holt, a 32-year-old veteran whose trademark is versatility. Holt has played seven positions, missing only pitching and catching. He’s a career .269/.338/.370 hitter who has driven in 270 runs in a little more than six big league seasons.
Holt has played most of his career with the Red Sox, and he’s a hero in Boston for his four-hit, five-RBI performance in Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division series against the Yankees. The Red Sox went on to defeat Houston in the ALCS and the Dodgers in the World Series.
“Here’s a guy that’s very versatile, and like I said, a left-handed hitter that we obviously need. I think we need another left-handed hitter,” Manager Davey Martinez said Saturday night.
Holt fits a profile of players on the 2020 Nationals. He can play multiple positions and has good splits against right-handed pitchers, with a .318/.394/.438 line.
He could platoon with the right-handed hitting Josh Harrison at second or third base, or he could play the outfield and give Martinez more options at designated hitter.
“Puts the ball in play, does a lot of different things that are good. So, when these guys come available, they’re nice to have and they can fit everywhere,” said Martinez.
This can’t be seen as good news this year for Kieboom, who has mustered only two extra-base hits in 107 big league plate appearances. He put together a six-game on-base streak earlier this season but otherwise came up short in RBI situations.
The team was clearly OK with Kieboom’s defense, but the lack of power or consistency at the plate has to be more of a concern than the Nats are letting on. With the trade deadline approaching, it looks like Kieboom could either be moved or potentially not see the major league roster again this season.