3) WHAT ABOUT THE NEW FACES?
By now, we know more about Adam Eaton than we could imagine. How Derek Norris and Adam Lind fit in with the Nationals is an unknown.
Norris is expected to be the everyday catcher for Washington. After two years at the barren desert of hitting at Petco Park with the San Diego Padres, Norris is ready for the friendlier hitting confines of the NL East. Oh, and he must learn a new pitching staff and frame pitches too.
A catcher’s job is never easy.
As most fans wait and see whether Washington would sign the slugging Matt Wieters for this year, he remains a free agent. This is Norris’ job to lose. Really. He could get a push from the catcher of the future Pedro Severino, but Severino would need to tear the cover off the ball as Norris slumps to dislodge the veteran.
While Severino likely gets regular playing time with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, Norris and Jose Lobaton get the playing time this year.
Meanwhile, Lind gives the Nats a lefty power bat than can play first and give Ryan Zimmerman a blow. Although his role is a bench one, his ability to hit for power strengthen the Nats late game options.
With a year in Milwaukee under his belt recently, the transition from the American League to the NL should not be difficult. Because Zimmerman is usually eased into a full playing load, Lind will get plenty of work early in the exhibition season.
Given a major-league contract for this year, he is all but guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster come April. If he hits .250 with 10 home runs, that is the smartest million spent by the Nationals all year.