The Nationals must have finally realized they are starting Rick Ankiel in center field on most nights, because Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that they are currently searching for an upgrade.
Nyjer Morgan wore out his welcome in Washington, so it was hard to blame them for trading him to the Brewers before the start of the season, but they’ve been stuck with a less than inspiring platoon of Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. until this point.
Ankiel is batting just .211 (12-for-57) to begin the season and isn’t an above average defender to begin with while Hairston is batting.154, albiet in just 26 at-bats. Rosenthal writes that club officials are mixed on Roger Bernadina, who is currently playing with Triple-A Syracuse.
Rosenthal doesn’t give us much as far as any current targets, writing that the Nationals could be “linked to any and all available center fielders,” but he does bring up B.J. Upton, who is from the same area of Virgina as Ryan Zimmerman. Of course, the Rays won’t likely entertain the possibility of trading Upton unless (or until) they fall out of contention.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.