Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Zim sighting

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Quickie - Zim sighting

Zimmerman DH'd over the weekend. So good! He's playing DH today, too. Double good! If it goes well today he should play first this week. Triple good! It's kind of funny he started playing again right after a "the Nats will play me when I'm ready" interview. That kind of hints that this is a real day-by-day type of thing, but as long as we're on the right side of that for now - what more can you ask?

Soo.... what do we talk about then?

As we discussed, there is no CF battle. The bullpen, at least as of right now, isn't being set into a 7-8-9 rhythym (unless you think Nick Lee could end up the 8th inning guy). Arroyo vs Roark? Well Roark should win and is winning that.  Hmmm. I suppose right now we'll focus on when Danny Espinosa will get a hit (0-14 with 7 strikeouts). 

But this is good! Spring training talk that we care about is injury talk and with Zimm getting back into the lineup we don't have any of that. I'm all for a nice quiet Spring.

Let's check on the rest of the NL East

Mets : deGrom has a stiff back, probably nothing. Asdrubal has a knee injury, not nothing. Nimmo, their top prospect has a minor injury.  Wheeler still isn't back. Wright has been out - should start playing this week.

All-in-all not terrible but the Cabrera injury threatens to throw the first monkey wrench in their title defense. The important thing though is no SP injuries yet. That's this team.

Marlins : Capps, an important reliever, is out for year with TJ. AJ Ramos, another important relief arm, hasn't pitched yet due to a calf injury. Stanton is taking it slow in Spring (only a few ABs so far). Cosart gave them a scare but appears ok.

I'd be worried. We all know how a bad bullpen can help to derail a season. It's not like we think the Marlins are very good across the board that they can handle the failure of one part of their team.

Phillies : Aaron Altherr, OF propsect who might have started this year, is out for basically the season with a wrist injury. Jerad Eickhoff, P prospect, who likely would have started in the rotation, fractured his thumb, may or may not be ready by Opening Day. Cody Asche, who would have played OF too, has an oblique injury and it's up in the air when he comes back.  David Hernandez, important pen arm, hasn't pitched in two weeks. Other minor injuries abound to the half-prospects and retreads.

They were looking up, or at least looking to be better than Atlanta. Lose 2 of 3 OF starters though and you can book a return flight to Garbage City.

Braves : Freeman went out with wrist discomfort but apparently is fine. Andrew McKirahan, possible relief arm, is out for year with TJ. Tyler Flowers, who will back-up for the Braves at catcher, has had some minor issues.

Biggest issue related to injury for the Braves is actually other team's injuries. They are still ready to trade everything and Peralta going down for the Cardinals means Aybar might be gone.  Even if things break for this team they'll use that as a way to help rebuild, not challenge in 2016.

Short recap. The Nats are sitting pretty. The Mets haven't gotten off track yet but any thoughts they might be better in 2016 are on hold with Cabrera's injury and Wright/Wheeler getting back. The Marlins are on the cusp of a bullpen emergency already, questioning their threat to the top two teams.  Phillies are crashing and burning before the season starts. Braves are having no issues, but are committed to rebuild and it would take a miracle for them to compete.

No changes. Nats vs Mets for NL East and as of March 14th, things are a brighter injury wise for the Nats.


Bjd1207 said...

To help give the Danny thing more teeth, where are people setting the bar for giving Turner the starting spot right out of the gate? He hasn't looked AWESOME in ST but he's been decent, and Danny is once again toeing the line between "replace me" and "holy crap you can't have a contending team with this kind of anchor in the lineup."

Is anyone in the camp to leave Turner down until Super 2 passes no matter what? If you do grant some possibility that he can be the starter on opening day then have you already seen what you need to see? If not, what else?

blovy8 said...

I'd answer that with saying Espinosa can't lose his roster spot even with an 0 for 40, but he could lose his starting job to Drew. Turner hasn't forced the issue with his fielding troubles and 3 for 17. The team control is too important to not have somebody come up with a "Espinosa's is still taking good swings and his timing will come soon, but maybe he'll only face lefties for a bit", or some such blather.

How about a battle for backup catcher between Severino and Lobaton, with the former going 6 for 11 and looking pretty athletic behind the plate? He hasn't even struck out yet - Dusty has to like that.

Bjd1207 said...

@blovy8 - I think you're probably right, and I'm like 90% convinced of that plan myself. The other 10% of me just can't believe that we're walking into another season eyes wide open with Danny in another starting spot...

Fool me once, twice, screw it how about 4 seasons in a row?

Anonymous said...

The folks who aren't really paying close attention will look at the record and think things are going splendidly, but so far I'm not very encouraged by what I'm seeing. Of all the starting position players, Revere is the only one who looks like he's truly prepared and ready to go.

At least there's still three more weeks.

1natsfan said...

Is the performance of a player in spring training indicative of how he might do when the season starts? How many times does a starting pitcher not make the roster if he has several rough outings in ST? Also, if some minor leaguer is tearing it up in St, do you replace a veteran? It seems that for a contending ball club, the purpose of spring training is to knock the rust off so they're ready for when the season starts and not to insert some unknown rookie into the starting line up.

blovy8 said...

It's probably true that since winning doesn't really matter, players behave in a different way in spring training unless they're competing for a job. If you're the guy who hits a homer off a hanger someone is working on as a third or fourth pitch, it can inflate your stats and the reverse is true. The wind could be blowing in or out, and maybe you're basically playing scrubs from the other team when you're at home against a team that traveled without most of their regulars.

To tell you the truth, I was more encouraged by Ramos running in the OF after his day was over than the three hits he got in the game.

Flapjack said...

Agree with b8 about Drew. It's hard to imagine Espy reverting to anything, though, when from one year/month to the next he's Good Espy and Bad Espy. Still, I'm rooting for him. He's been around forever, and this is his first year making a baseball salary ($2.9MM). With Werth and Revere in the OF and Murphy at 2B, the Nats are a diminished team defensively as it is.

Ryan DC said...

As long as Danny is still good defensively, a month or two of him rather than Turner is unlikely to make or break the team unless he puts up truly a abysmal slash line. The problem being, of course, that he totally could.

Harper said...

blovy - forgot about Drew. Vet player... Boras... Arizona... got all the intangibles in his favor!

1natsfan - no it isn't. Or more accurately it probably is for a handful but we never know which so it's not really useful. For a team with set roles, ST should basically be ignored for all but the most outlier cases. So even if Danny doesn't get a hit in Spring - I'd probably still start him. (well I'd start Turner but that's me)

Flapjack - Well Good Espy is really just ok regular player so there's that, but with Murphy at 2nd and potentially hobbled Zimm at first you can't just dismiss his D.

Ryan DC - this is kind of key. If EVERY WIN matters than you're gambling even putting him out there for a few weeks. Of course he could do that if he was hitting .400 in spring too. It's up to the baseball guys to do their job. Danny's stats are off. Is it indicative of something more? If you think so, pull the trigger early.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say, but Werth is more completely toasted than a Quizno's sub. It's all over for him.

Bjd1207 said...

Random Thoughts -

Mets lineup gets scarier every time I look at it...

In Danny's current situation why the hell would they have him bunt twice yesterday? If he and they think his problem is fastball timing then why waste 2 AB's where he could have worked on that?

blovy8 said...

If he bats eighth (and he should), there are going be times you know a pinch hitter is coming in for the pitcher. He can either move the runner to second or it's a way to get on himself. A fast guy can get half a dozen hits that way if he's willing and the infield is back. Combine that and his propensity for HBP, and maybe he's on base enough not to be as much of an offensive liability even with a lousy batting average and ton of strikeouts.

Well, it's a theory at least...

Donald said...

If you are looking for post ideas, could you do a series on who should start vs who will start at various positions and maybe where people should bat in the order vs where you think Dusty will put them.

Flapjack said...

Harper, it's beginning to feel like you're doing a LaRoche on us. Please, do not forsake the blog to spend quality time with your kids. Remember, there's the fans, not to mention the big bucks. And leaving the game you love.

No one asked me, incidentally, but I'm siding with the Sox. Performance wise, LaRoche was LaDouche. And look, he's invested the $75MM he earned well: He has a thriving Duck Dynasty franchise, raises organic cows, hangs out with the cream of the Trump crowd, shooting things. Unlike many (Arroyo comes to mind) he used the off season to train for Real Life. Let's face it, all the additional $13MM would have done is padded Drake's inheritance. He asked Drake; Drake said, forget it. Case closed.

I don't make it habit of agreeing with my wife, but it seems eminently sensible for LaRoche to start accompanying Drake to school, where he can busy himself at the back of the classroom all day.

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