“Watching these guys all play together, and grow together, it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be some work, a lot of work, but it’s going to be fun,” Davey Martinez said in discussing the middle infield duo of the future in D.C. with CJ Abrams at short and Luis García over at second base.
García, 22, played second in his first two seasons in the majors, but shifted back over to his original position at short in the minors in 2021 (and committed 11 errors in 28 games and 219 2⁄3 innings, and he made 13 errors in 59 games and 503 1⁄3 innings at short in the majors this season).
Garcìa told his big league manager he was comfortable moving back over to second after Abrams was acquired from San Diego in the blockbuster deadline deal which sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres this past August 2nd.
“He’s a young kid who just wants to play,” Martinez said when asked if García was okay with the shift. “We’re fortunate that he can play both, but he’s looking forward to playing second base next to CJ.”
García missed 11 games with the groin strain in September, when Abrams first came up, but played a few games down at Triple-A, then returned to the majors to get started working with and getting to know Abrams.
“I’m curious to see how they do together, up the middle,” Martinez said.
“I liked seeing them. The future is bright, right, for us up the middle right now,” Martinez said in his post game presser after first getting to see the duo together.
“It will take some time. The timing of the one double play wasn’t quite there, but I think once they get used to playing with one another it will get better.”
The Nationals put them close to one another day in the team’s clubhouse to foster the relationship-building, and the manager said he saw positive signs it was working.
“I’ve seen them by their lockers talking, on the field they’re constantly communicating,” the fifth-year skipper said late this past season. “It’s been kind of fun, and interesting, watching those two kind of talk to one another. I don’t know if you guys know, but CJ speaks Spanish, so they get along and they communicate well. The other day I went to make a pitching change, and they were both rattling off, and I had to look at them and say, ‘Hey, focus, c’mon, here we go.’ But they’re getting along fine, and they talk a lot, and I know today they went out there to field some ground balls and were talking about where they want the ball on double plays and stuff of that nature, so like I said, when you have young players like that, and full of energy, it will take them some time so that they really understand who they are and what they do.”
GM Mike Rizzo, who pulled off the deal to bring Abrams, four other prospects, and big league bat Luke Voit over from the Padres, told reporters before the season finale he too liked what he saw from his middle infielders down the stretch.
“Yeah, just they’re good young players,” Rizzo told reporters. “They have the capability to be in this league for a long time. I think that they’re going to be part of a nucleus that is our next group of core championship players. I like the spirit and the energy that they bring to the ballpark every day. They’re both exciting players on the field, and they exude youth and energy, and I think that rubs off on a lot of the team, and this is going to be a young team going through the next couple of seasons, and I think to have a young team that has a lot of energy, that plays the game the right way, and you know, has to learn to gel together is going to be important.”