The month long Carter Kieboom saga may finally come to a close in the waning days of spring training. The desired outcome will not be pretty for anyone involved, especially the Washington Nationals, who were counting on their former first round pick to lay claim to the third base job this year.
Maybe the biggest storyline of camp, the most under the microscope player in camp, and the future of the Washington Nationals at the hot corner, will be destined for the minor leagues to begin the regular season. The third base job was Kieboom’s for the taking, and he just could not take it.
Nationals third baseman Carter Kieboom has struggled the entire spring and now will be jettisoned to the minor leagues to begin the season.
Manager Davey Martinez has said the best 26 men will head north with the club. Kieboom isn’t one of the top 30 players right now. If this was the Selection Sunday and players were being chosen for the Big Dance, Kieboom wouldn’t be in the tournament, on the bubble, or headed to the NIT. His season would be over.
The clock struck midnight with another dreadful Kieboom performance last night.
The entire spring has been a struggle, and as the sands of time slipped through the hour glass for Kieboom, his efforts at this point seemed futile. Back to back games with extra base hits, a handful of days ago gave him some life, though he never could gain the momentum needed or find the stroke at the plate.
Capping off his 0-5 night were two strikeouts looking. He stranded two runners with the first backwards K, and left the bases loaded with his final U-turn of the night.
I have been an ardent supporter of Carter Kieboom, going back to last season. However, my allegiances have switched, as he just doesn’t deserve a spot on the roster at this point. His trade value has plummeted and he’ll begin the year at AAA Rochester. If he gets off to a hot start there (nothing tells me he will), I’d welcome the sight of him back in the big leagues. However, at this point in a competitive National League East Division, the Nationals can not afford to give at-bats away. Kieboom is handing them out like voting stickers.
With the hot start some Nationals hitters are off to during this spring, the production Josh Harrison provides will suffice until a more permanent solution is found. We may have seen the last of Carter Kieboom.