“We’re very happy with the group we have”
Even though you can't trust Rizzo to speak the honest truth to the media*, this quote from late last week can't help but make you a little bit nervous.
Zuckerman outlines the team roster at this point and there remain three big holes. All three might not be filled but leave it the way it is and factor in Hairston's limited usefulness and you have the recipe for another bench disaster.
Danny Espinosa shouldn't be the middle infielder of choice. Did everyone forget 2013? He couldn't hit in the majors. He couldn't hit in the minors. I know they say he's healthy now. They said he was healthy then too. I suppose a whole nother offseason off might heal his shoulder up but who wants to go in with that being plan A. While Desmond can be considered a lock, Zimmerman is a perennial injury risk and Rendon has yet to prove himself. The Nats need more of a sure thing backing up these guys.
Tyler Moore shouldn't be the 1st base back-up of choice. Really? The Nats are doing this again? Third time's the charm? Let's recap - Moore can't field, can't run, doesn't hit for average or get on base. He does one thing - hit for power - and he didn't do that last year. In his first 25 games Moore was great, in the 110+ that have followed he's hit .220 with a .260 OBP and slipping slugging numbers. Last year Adam LaRoche was pretty damn bad. Replaceable at the plate overall, useless versus lefties and continuing a downward trend in the field. I think he'll bounce back a bit but you can't look at the above for a 34 year old and bet on it. The Nats need more of a sure thing backing up this guy.
Jhonaton Solano and Sandy Leon combined (in very limited at bats) to hit something like .140 / .170 / .175. Solano in AAA hit .214 / .245 / .279. Leon in AA hit .177 / .291 / .252. And you want these guys to be your latex salesmen? Wilson Ramos is the obvious everyday starter but he broke a finger and injured a hammy in 2009. In 2012 he tore his ACL. In 2013, he injured his hammy again and again again. In his healthy seasons he's played 113 games and 113 games. The Nats need more of a sure thing backing up this guy.
I doubt Rizzo is done with his moves but just in case he might be thinking he is, let's keep his feet to the fire rather than say "hey this roster looks pretty good now" because on the bench it doesn't.
*This isn't a slight against Rizzo. Telling the honest truth to the media rarely serves to make the team better. You got to puff up the team sometimes. Make the players feel better. Make the players seem better to both potential trade partners and potential ticket buyers. You don't want straight out lies from your team's management but if you're not getting a steady stream of half-truths they probably aren't doing their jobs right.