Danny Espinosa doubles down on Braves comment

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You may remember yesterday’s post which dealt with comments made by Nats starter Stephen Strasburg and second baseman Danny Espinosa where both said they were not impressed by the Braves. Espinosa had said this, after the Braves took the first two games of the three-game series in Washington:

“They’re good, I don’t think they’re better than us,” Danny Espinosa said. “They’re a good ballclub, they have talent. They’re hot right now, they only lost one game, but they’re hot. It all evens out.”

The Braves stomped the Nats again this afternoon, completing the sweep with a 9-0 win. The Nationals dropped to 7-5, while the Braves bumped to 11-1, the second-best start after 12 games in franchise history. Espinosa did not back down from his comments when he spoke to the media after the game, though.

The two teams meet in Atlanta for a four-game series starting on April 29, so Espinosa won’t have to wait very long to put his money where his mouth is.

Espinosa, by the way, had to leave this afternoon’s game after being hit on the right wrist with a pitch, but x-rays were negative. Steve Lombardozzi replaced him in the game and would fill in for him if Espinosa needs to miss any time.

Rangers don’t plan to make qualifying offer to Adrián Beltré

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Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he doesn’t expect the club to make a $17.9 million qualifying offer to free agent third baseman Adrián Beltré, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. Daniels has been in touch with the 39-year-old, who may retire.

Beltré battled hip and hamstring issues throughout the past season, limiting him to 119 games. He hit .273/.328/.434 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI in 481 plate appearances. Going by adjusted OPS, his mark of 98 — 100 is average — was his lowest in a season since 2009 with the Mariners. Beltré’s career average is 116 and he put up a 132 in 2017 and 128 in ’16.

Beltré appears to have some stuff left in the tank. He may not be an All-Star-caliber player anymore, but he can still hit at an average level and he is still an above-average defender. It’s just a matter of his body holding up to allow him to do what he needs to do. If Beltré does decide to re-up with the Rangers for 2019, the club will be prepared to move Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Jurickson Profar over to the hot corner as they did in 2018 in the event Beltré gets bitten by the injury bug.