The best solution for the Nationals this year is for Danny Espinosa start hitting at league average for a 2nd baseman and add that to his above average defense. That is what the Nationals envision for this team. That makes Espinosa one of the best all around 2nd basemen in the National League. Obviously, the hit and power tool are not there, and his hitting is getting very close to embarrassing.
One option is to find a trade partner for a player that will contribute better to the team this year.
The paradox of the trade market usually is: any player a team would trade the Nats wouldn’t want. I am sure Milwaukee would be happy to trade Rickie Weeks, but he is actually worse than Espinosa this year. Another option is a veteran player late in their contact on a non-contending team; Chase Utley fits that category. I don’t see an inter-division trade and the Phillies are not giving up yet.
This takes us to Jose Altuve, the 22 year old hit machine for the Houston Astros. Below is where he stands this year in 2nd base rankings. He is 5’5″ and hardly walks, but he hits, and always has. He was the teams rep in the All Star game last year and looks well on his way to doing the same this year.
|1||Dustin Pedroia||Red Sox||44||0.343||0.432||0.386||1.6||2.1|
Why would they trade the one player Bo Porter writes in Ink on his score card? They have a former number 1 draft pick in the minors, Delino DeShields Jr is repeating High A because they have no place for him to play. The Astros are in no rush to move him through their system, 2nd base happens to be the one position the Astros are deep at in the minors. DeShields stole 101 bases last year, with an OBP close to .400. His performance last year was overshadowed by Billy Hamilton’s 147 stolen bases. There is not room for both players on the team and they both don’t profile at another position; DeShields is 20, Altuve 22. This is where there might be opportunity for a win / win for both teams.
The one drawback for Altuve last year was his below average fielding and range. This might be attributable to a nagging injury last year. So far this year his fielding looks improved. The Astros are still sellers, and looking to add talent to their farm system.
Below are a couple of interesting links about both players.