Danny Espinosa has been traded. This is a minor tragedy as the thought of singing "Danny Espinosa" to the tune of "Gary, Indiana" will go through my head far fewer times now that he's on the west coast. It's also a shame because as I noted earlier - Danny ain't problem #1. The Nats had the 2nd worst 1B situation last year in all of baseball. In case you think that's an aberration, the year before that they were in the lower third of baseball. This is a pattern that isn't changing as Zimm and Robinson keep getting further from their primes. And catcher - well there is good reason to believe it won't just be worse next year (how could it not - it was nearly best this year) but potentially terrible.
But still Danny occupied a spot that the future of the Nats franchise is penciled into. His secondary and tertiary positions were occupied by players more productive than him. To keep him playing someone had to be out of position, with one exception which we'll get to in a second. And he wasn't a good enough player to start moving things around for.* He's a speed and defense guy with the added skill of HR power. But he can't hit for average at all and he strikes out all the time. That's good enough to start somewhere, but expendable on a contending team. Much easier than accommodating him would be solving the CF issue, shifting Turner to where he belongs, and pushing Danny to the bench or out the door. And that's what happened.
I guess Danny could have been kept around on the bench but he supposedly is not a happy camper when sitting, everyone seems to love (former D-back!) Stephen Drew, and you might even get Drew for cheaper than what Danny would cost (5+ mill). In the end it just wasn't a difficult choice to send him on his way.
Who'd they get for him? Two nobodies. Kyle McGoohan is a starter with stuff that's not particularly missable and with pretty bad control. But he's not old! Austin "Don't call me Kearns. Don't call me Amy" Adams is a reliver with no control who's worked himself through the minors by... inertia I guess. Maybe they figure out what's up with one of these and come up with a good player. I'm not betting on it. This was a dump trade. But I do believe Rizzo when he says this was in the works for a while. This was a planned dump trade. Like Gio to the Yankees that's on hold as they decide if they want to spend that money on Jansen or not.
The Nats aren't better today then they were Friday but they aren't significantly worse and a Drew signing would make it a wash. Now if they go with Difo instead... that would be a mistake. It would also be telling. I've said how the Nats are around budget this year. Well what I mean is that they are very slightly over, just a few million more than last year. Going with Difo instead of Drew, assuming nothing else happens this off-season would suggest that even that small increase is too much. It doesn't mean the Nats won't spend money in the future - when MASN is figured out, when Werth's contract gets off the books - but it means we know where the Nats will be for the near future and it's not payroll competitive. Doesn't mean they aren't team competitive, but it keeps the job harder for Rizzo.
Oh that's right - the one exception. Move Murphy to first. Play Danny at second. That's the optimal solution. But the Nats didn't/don't have the guts to do that. (and the fans don't want it either)
*of course neither was Yunel Escobar but they did that anyway.