The Nationals have had all sorts of injury issues this spring, but here’s a bit of good news for a change.
Jayson Werth continues to make solid progress from January surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder, as Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that he played five innings in left field yesterday in a minor league game and got four at-bats. He will begin the season on the disabled list, but the belief is that he could be ready to join the Nationals within a week.
That’s welcome news for a lineup which will also be without Denard Span and Anthony Rendon to begin the year. We could see Michael Taylor and Tyler Moore in the outfield and Dan Uggla at second base on Opening Day against the Mets on Monday.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).