While he isn’t a proven asset yet, the Washington Nationals need to give Carter Kieboom some more time to grow into one, before shipping him out of town.
If you have Carter Kieboom penciled in as the starting third baseman for the Washington Nationals this upcoming season, you may want to keep an eraser near by. While the Nationals brass has stated the job is Kieboom’s to lose, they are also open to trading him before the season starts.
There are a couple problems with moving on from Kieboom right now, if the Nationals were to do so. To this point, Kieboom has just 138 at-bats to his name. True, he’s hitting just .181 with three extra base hits during that time, but the sample size is too small to give up on this former first round draft pick.
In essence if the Nationals traded Kieboom with these numbers they would be selling low. Makes a person think of the old baseball adage of the disgruntled player who wants out of town. He tells the manager he wants to be traded. The manager retorts, then play better and someone might want you. If Kieboom plays better, the Nats get what they need, in production at third base. If as a team they struggle, but Kieboom pulls his weight, he looks more attractive to potential suitors.
Just because the Nationals are open to trading Kieboom, doesn’t mean they will. Like every good organization, they probably listen to offers on most of their players, or dangle most players, in doing their due diligence. There are very few untouchables in the business of baseball.
The reason for moving Kieboom would be the Nationals are in win now mode and don’t feel Kieboom helps them win, now. If Kieboom takes a couple years to develop (I don’t condone sticking with the guy if he hits .181 over the course of two full years) the Nationals championship window may have closed by then. Remember, Max Scherzer enters free agency next year, with Trea Turner and Josh Bell potentially walking the following year.
But, wait. If the Nationals do find themselves in a rebuilding situation in a couple years, shouldn’t Carter Kieboom be a part of it, if he’s shown some semblance of the hitter he was in Triple-A in 2019?
A first round draft pick (sure, some of those are busts), with five years team control (sure, some of those could be expensive years if he does pull it together), is worth more to the Nationals than what he would bring back on the trade market right now.
Stay the course with Carter Kieboom, and give the kid an opportunity to grow into the hitter we know he is.