The Baseball gods can both be cruel and benevolent- it's all about how they feel that particular day.
Tuesday, there seemed to be an ongoing battle for the soul of the Washington Nationals between at least two of these baseball gods.
Stephen Strasburg... our homegrown hero, the World Series MVP, will miss AT LEAST the rest of the season.
Max Scherzer, our multi Cy-Young Ace, is being head hunted by at least half of the teams in the league, and the entire world fully expects him to be traded by Friday.
Trea Turner, who also was heavily rumored to be up for trade, exited the game abruptly in the 1st inning, setting up a firestorm on social media speculating what happened. Then around the 6th inning, we learned he was pulled due to a positive COVID19 test. ... ... you can thank the Baseball God of Chaos for that one!
You'll find enough articles of each of those online somewhere. I instead want to talk about Carter Kieboom.
Reports circulated yesterday that Kieboom, like Soto, was not available for trade since he's a young prospect and that's exactly the type of player the Nats want to build on.
The issue... although I like Carter and I think he has all the potential in the world- is he is not ready for the big show.
So far in five games this season, he is batting a remarkable .000
Then he, without any outside help, nearly cost the Nationals the game three times last night.
And if you were watching, that's no exaggeration.
He dropped an average difficulty flyball, which mercifully he totally whiffed on with his glove or else he would have knocked it into fair territory- but also... that ball landed literally one blade of grass foul- It should have been caught, and also I don't think anyone would have been upset if the umpire called it fair, it was that close to the paint.
No outs- Man on first and Kieboom on the shift, the Nationals were gifted a hard, but very playable ground ball straight to him- but they could not turn the double play because Carter couldn't get the ball out of his glove... that isn't supposed to happen.
9th inning, Brad Hand looking for the save, Kieboom gets a chopped ball to third which he charges and then chooses to awkwardly spring forward on for the throw, and he sails it a solid 15 feet wide of first base, allowing the runner go to second on what should have been an out.
Three outs he missed on problems in the field against a team that can hit, all the while his own team is notorious for bullpen collapses. This, can not, happen.
Add that in with how he is performing at the plate, and I'm sorry Carter, but something needs to get done here.
Kieboom IS a good player. He can do all the stuff- but for some reason his head is in the wrong place right now and he's making these fundamental fielding mistakes. He just looks super uncomfortable when up to bat.
He needs to not only be in there with Kevin Long (Nats hitting coach) every day, I think he could also use a stint with a team psychologist. And I mean that in a sincere way... he seems terrified of something and needs to work beyond that.
I would either move Stevenson to 2nd and slide Harrison to 3rd - or what I think more likely- trade for a serviceable B/B+ Third baseman and let Keiboom acclimate for a bit more without the pressure as a utility PH or back up fielder.
Is Kieboom the absolute least of the Nats concerns right now, with All-Stars (and potential HOFers) Scherzer, Strasburg, and Turner all headlining news? Yea.. maybe.... BUT- if the Nats are in sell mode and want to build up for next year and the years after- they need to either move Keiboom or fix him, fast.