Signed to a 1-year/$1.5M free agent deal this past March, Ehire Adrianza, a 32-year-old, 10-year veteran, gave Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez multiple options in his infield mix.
“Adrianza, obviously he’s another super-u guy that we plan on using everywhere,” Martinez told reporters early in Spring Training.
“Can play some second, some short, some third, and even some outfield,” the manager said of the addition. “And he has played first base as well.”
“Adrianza is going to play a little bit of everywhere, that’s why we got him,” Martinez added a few days later.
“He can play everywhere in the infield, he can play the outfield, he’s a switch-hitter, but I love having him here.”
As Spring Training wound down, however, the veteran infielder suffered a quadriceps injury which landed him on the IL before Opening Day, and Adrianza spent the first two months of the season rehabbing before he was reinstated from the Injured List earlier this month.
“He’s a veteran guy that understands the game, he can play multiple positions,” Martinez told reporters before the series opener with the Marlins in Miami on Tuesday. “So it’s really good to have him back. I talked to him a little bit today, he’s excited to be back. He feels like this is the first day of the season for him, so he’s getting out there and getting to know everybody a little bit, but I told him, I said, ‘Hey, we need you. You’re going to play. You’re going to play multiple positions, but just be ready, so I’m excited to have him back.”
Though he’ll come off the bench, as a super utility guy, as Martinez said from the start this spring, the fifth-year manager also said Adrianza could spell some of his players who have been playing a lot over the first 57 games.
“He’ll get some starts,” Martinez explained.
“We’ve got some guys that have played every day so far, so having him around is kind of nice to get some of these guys off their feet, but also too, coming off the bench with him will be nice because he can do so many different things.”
The Nats’ skipper said Adrianza’s presence could also benefit recently-recalled 22-year-old infielder Luis García.
“I think honestly with him he’s going to help Luis out a lot,” Martinez said. “And just having him off the bench, understanding the game, can help some of our younger players as well, so like I said, the reason why we brought him here is because we love what he can do on the field. He does a lot of different things. He’s experienced coming off of the bench, pinch hitting, so he does a lot of different things for us.”
Adrianza got a start at third in the second of three with the Marlins in Miami last night.
“I looked at everything, it was a good day to give [Maikel] Franco a day off,” Martinez said in advance of the first pitch of the game. “I think yesterday was the first inning [Franco’s] ever had off [this year]. So I wanted to give him a day, get Ehire in there today, and there will be some other guys who get days off here fairly soon. But it’s nice to give [Franco] a day off. This guy has been playing and playing really well, he’s done amazing for us, so I just want to get him off his feet today, but as I always tell them, I said, ‘Hey, it might only be for half a game, so just be ready to play late in the game and he’s all up for it.”
Trade Deadline - Premature Talk:
Following last year’s sell-off of expiring contracts at the trade deadline, GM Mike Rizzo said more of the same this season might make sense as he built the roster for the 2022 season.
“I think some really good one-year deals make sense. We implemented that last winter, and we signed a couple of really fine one-year contracts to some players,” Rizzo said, and when the Nationals were clearly out of contention at the deadline, they dealt those players for the mostly-major-league-ready group they got in return, who could help jumpstart the reboot in the organization.
This time around, with another trade deadline six weeks-ish away at this point? What’s the outlook for the club?
“We still have a long ways to figure that out,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning. “But I would assume that if we’re playing at the rate we’re playing, we’ll probably be careful sellers, and make sure that we maximize the players at least with expiring contracts, and I don’t think that would come as a shock to anybody at the radio station right now.”
What will the Nationals get in return this time if they trade Josh Bell (if they don’t sign him to an extension), Nelson Cruz, César Hernández, Maikel Franco and more to give the rebooting organization another boost as they continue building the next contender in D.C.?
Luis García ❤️:
As the Nationals noted before last night’s matchup with the Fish, “In six games since being recalled on June 1, Luis García [had] a .391/.375/.609 slash line,” going into the 2nd of 3 in Miami. “He has gone 9-for-23 with two doubles, one homer, six RBI and one run scored,” as the Nats added, and he’d, “... hit safely in five of the six games.” Not a bad start for the 22-year-old shortstop, who tore up Triple-A pitching until he was called back up to the majors.
Garcia had also, “... hit safely in four straight games and [had] recorded multi-hit efforts in his last three,” going into Wednesday’s game.
“He’s getting ready on time, and he is very short to the ball,” manager Davey Martinez said when asked about some of the adjustments García’s made since the last time he was up in the Nationals’ lineup. “And it’s really nice. So like I said yesterday, he smoked that ball, but the at-bat against the lefty [Richard Bleier], was really nice that he was able to get his hands back, stay up the middle, and put a really good swing on it.
“So he’s done well since he’s been here, he’s done well. so he’s working really hard on his defense with [coaches Tim Bogar and Gary DiSarcina] so he’s going to get a chance to play every day like I said.
“He went down there to Triple-A and did everything we asked him to do and did really well, so he’s getting an opportunity to play here every day.”
“It’s a very small sample size, but he can hit,” GM Mike Rizzo told The Sports Junkies on 106.7 the FAN on Wednesday morning.
“And he’s always hit throughout his very young minor league career, and in the big leagues, so yeah, we feel good about where he’s at in his development, he’s a work in progress at shortstop at the big league level, which is a very, very difficult position to be in — a work in progress as a shortstop in the big leagues, because to me it’s the second-toughest defensive position on the field besides catcher.
“You’re the quarterback of the infield, and I think that added responsibility adds to the workload of a young, 22-year-old player. I think he’s handling it well. I think you’ve seen a little bit of improvement in his footwork from the opening couple games to that series in Cincinnati where I think he took a step forward defensively. I think at the end of the day he’s going to be fine, but there’s going to be some lean moments at shortstop. But when he’s in that batter’s box, he’s exciting, he’s got bat speed, balance, and power, and like I’ve said, he’s at the age of college senior right now, so he’s a pretty good prospect.”