Some people have told me that I should have waited to do my writeup on the Nats’ jerseys until after they unveiled their new duds last night. I don’t think it makes a difference. The new outfits are neither the best nor the worst the Nationals have ever sported. They’re worth discussion, but they don’t change my analysis.
As for that discussion: I like the curly-W on the new home whites well enough. It’s certainly an improvement over the block “Nationals” they’ve been using. It’s being referred to as “an authentic bond with the past,” but the old Senators never put a curly W on the actual jersey. They had block Ws and script “Senators,” but the W’s were always on the caps. I like the look — it’s kind of like the Tigers English D, no? — but I don’t know I can call it my favorite. Give it time, maybe. I was thinking that a script “Nationals” to track the road grays (which I really like) would be the best move, but what do I know? The W is probably less generic than a simple script would be. This could grow on me.
The other changes are the red and blue alternates. You know how I feel about solid alternates — batting practice jerseys, blah — and this is no different. They’ve included a red, white and blue W on the blue alternate which is not my taste, but hey, they’ll probably sell a lot of them. They’re only going to be worn on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Sept. 11th and military appreciation days anyway, so it’s not like we’ll see it often.
Other changes: the road cap gets a red bill. Eh, I liked the solid blues, but this isn’t an atrocity. There’s new piping and things too, but I don’t get too animated by that sort of thing unless it’s distracting, which this isn’t.
Ultimately the Nationals are a team still searching for its identity. As far as uniforms go, I suspect they’ll find it in whatever it they happen to be wearing when they win the division the first time. For now though, I think this looks pretty good. Just wish they’d can the solid alternates.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.