WHAT ABOUT TREA?
With $20 million to play with, do the Nationals let Trea Turner have a full season in center and keep Danny Espinosa at short?
It is hard to see Washington filling their three big holes at catcher, closer and center if they are adding a veteran salary to the mix. Unless they opt for Shawn Kelley or Blake Treinen as closer, or the dreaded closer by committee, keeping Turner at center is the next logical move.
Washington needs a catcher, aside from the rookie Pedro Severino. If they are happy with Wilson Ramos’ progress coming off his torn ACL, they can bring him back. But, whoever they have will eat into that flexible $20 million.
If they can stomach Espinosa’s ability to strike out at will with his outstanding defense, they can defer one more year and see what a full year of Turner at center brings. Given time, Turner’s route running will turn instinctual. He may never be a Gold Glove outfielder, but he is not a terrible defender.
Remember, this year’s team scored more runs than any other in Nationals or Expos history over a full 162-game season. Espinosa was one of six to slug 20 homers, a feat not seen since the 1965 Milwaukee Braves.
Because fans are frustrated with Espinosa, he can hold his own if Rizzo feels another starter is the answer.