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.
The Rays have acquired shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The Marlins will receive minor league outfielder Braxton Lee and pitcher Ethan Clark. The Rays are expected to assume the remainder of Hechavarria’s $4.35 million salary for the 2017 season.
Hechavarria, 28, has only played in 20 games this season due to an oblique injury. He has mustered a meager .277/.288/.385 triple-slash line with four extra-base hits and six RBI across 67 plate appearances. He still plays decent defense, though, so that may be enough for him to take the everyday shortstop job in Tampa.
Lee, 23, was selected by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. This season with Double-A Montgomery, his second stint there, Lee hit .318/.387/.391 over 296 PA.
Clark, 22, was taken in the 15th round of the 2015 draft by the Rays. In his first stint at Single-A in Bowling Green, Clark has a 3.11 ERA with a 50/18 K/BB ratio in 55 innings of work.
Tom Boswell of the Washington Post does frequent Q&As with readers and today he had quite the A to one of their Qs.
The question was about the Nats’ bullpen, which is obviously a glaring weakness on an otherwise excellent team. Following a long answer talking about the approach to bullpen construction, he dropped this:
On Friday, yet ANOTHER National simply walked up to me and said, “When the hell are they going to get this done? What are they waiting for? Waiting is just doing more damage.”
He didn’t even have to say what subject he was talking about or whom “they” were but it’s the bullpen and the Lerners.
A team has a problem when all a reporter has to do is say, “How’s it going?” and an established part of the team blasts the owners for not understanding what’s happening in their own dugout/clubhouse.
The Nats have a bit of a history venting to the Post’s reporters in ways a lot of players don’t vent, but that’s usually when things are going bad overall. These days, things are going pretty good for the Nats, the bum bullpen notwithstanding. I guess one weakness on an otherwise good team is annoying as hell.
But I guess now that they’re getting K-Rod, all of that will end.