Sep 20, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays second basemanBen Zobrist
(18) hits a RBI single during the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field. (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
1. Put the finishing touches on the infield: It’s been a broken record over the past year or so. The Nationals have one of the best infields in baseball, but they just can’t seem to drum up enough offensive production out of their second baseman. Anthony Rendon was the exception for a while, but when Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing struggles moved him to third, the problem resurfaced.
Mike Rizzo made a marginal upgrade by acquiring Asdrubal Cabrera at the 2014 trade deadline, but Cabrera has since moved on to Tampa Bay in the offseason, and the Nationals are back at square one. The team signed Dan Uggla to try and create a little competition, but it’s hard to envision the Nats going with Uggla as more than a pinch-hitter and role player.
For 2015, I’d like to see Mike Rizzo bring someone in at second. This time, however, I’d prefer to see them improve the position more radically. Don’t get me wrong, Cabrera’s contributions were incredibly significant in the Nats’ run to the postseason last season, but there really wasn’t a significant increase, from a pure numbers standpoint, from Danny Espinosa.
If the Nationals want to do it right, I’d like them to bring in someone like Ben Zobrist. The switch-hitting second baseman from Tampa Bay would bring balance to a Nats lineup that’s heavy on righties, and provide a little more power.
Of course, if the price for Zobrist is too high, I’m okay with the Nationals pushing this resolution to next season. There’s not exactly a lot of quality depth on the open market for middle infielders.