Washington Nationals Mailbag: Predicting a possible second base signing
By Blake Finney
Christmas is tomorrow and the Washington Nationals hope to have a second baseman in their stocking. We look at the most likely options in our mailbag.
Mike Rizzo has played the role of Santa Claus this winter, bringing Washington Nationals fans plenty of presents in the form of new players. There have been seven additions in total as the front office is determined to get their team back to the playoffs.
While there are still a few needs to go, one of the top remaining needs is at second base. We look at that as well as some of your other Nats questions in our semi-regular Monday Mailing. Let’s get this underway.
Will Henline (@WillHenline): 2B signing predictions?
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A second baseman was one of the team’s needs that wasn’t too high on the priority need list for the Nationals coming into the offseason. However, the focus has seemingly changed and now they are looking more active in that pursuit
The names that the team has reportedly discussed the most are Josh Harrison, Brian Dozier, and DJ LeMahieu. All of them have very different pros and cons, so it likely depends which direction management wants to go. They could go for the best player in LeMahieu, a solid veteran in Dozier or versatility in Harrison.
In terms of a prediction as to which they will end up going with, I think Josh Harrison is the most likely option. The front office seems more than confident in Carter Kieboom as the long-term solution, which rules out LeMahieu. Then I think they will value Harrison’s versatility over Dozier’s veteran presence.
Drewski (@numberthirty6): Starting CF opening day?
Clearly, the overwhelming favorite to open the year in centerfield for the Nationals is the organization’s top prospect, Victor Robles. However, the team does have a nice insurance policy with Michael Taylor who can step in if they still think Robles isn’t quite ready.
Back at Winterfest, Dave Martinez didn’t tip his hand on that matter, still seemingly keeping his options open. He told Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports “[Robles is] itching to play. We’ll see how that transpires. And look, we’ve got another guy, Michael Taylor, that I think will bounce back. He’s going to work with (hitting coach Kevin Long) this winter and cut down on the strikeouts. And, hopefully, those two will fight for the job.”
To be honest, given the flashes that we saw these past two Septembers from Robles, it would be stunning if he isn’t roaming center on Opening Day. From everything we’ve seen, he’s clearly big league ready and already an upgrade on Taylor, so a possible injury would be the only thing that may Robles out of that first regular season lineup.
The Dom and Thunder Show (@domandthunder): Who is more likely to start the season in the bullpen: Joe Ross or Erick Fedde?
There’s a lot to unpack from this question because there could still be some moving parts in the Nats’ starting rotation. After the addition of Anibal Sanchez, we now know he will combine with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin to form the top four starting pitchers.
However, that leaves one spot where there will probably be a Spring Training battle to join the four names above. Now, Joe Ross is probably the favorite for that spot right now, as he has the most starting experience in the major leagues, however, that doesn’t answer the question.
That’s because if Ross wins the battle for that spot, then Erick Fedde would likely be optioned to the minor leagues as the first man up if there’s an injury. So Ross would actually be more likely to open the year in the bullpen to manage his innings if the Nats bring in another starter, or someone like Henderson Alvarez wins the final rotation spot. But my bet is neither will start the season in the major league bullpen.
We’ll be back with our mailbag article in the new year to answer even more of your Washington Nationals questions. Happy holidays readers!