It’s no secret that the Washington Nationals will face an excess of position players once Bryce Harper returns from injury next week, but Manager Matt Williams insists he has a plan to combat the potential problem. Whether the organization’s plan involves a trade is still unknown, but if they do trade a player who is currently in the majors, it will most likely be Danny Espinosa.
Ryan Zimmerman has made it clear that he would prefer to stay in the outfield, but will move back to third base if it helps the team. The only way he could stay in the outfield regularly is if the Nationals trade Denard Span, which would be a counter productive move. For two years the Nationals looked to acquire an elite defensive center fielder and a traditional leadoff hitter, to move him now, they must get an exorbitant return.
In my opinion, the only logical trade chip the Nationals currently possess is Espinosa. He is a player who has started in the big leagues before, but will be forced to the bench when Harper returns to the lineup. However, I do not believe the Nationals will trade Espinosa, as to trade him now the Nats must sell low. As crazy as it sounds, many within the Washington organization still see Espinosa as a future all star.
At the moment Espinosa possesses a slash line of .217/.284/.348 but his strong defense has allowed him to remain a viable backup at second base. Though second base needy teams such as the San Francisco Giants or Toronto Blue Jays may inquire on Espinosa, the Nationals should not trade him due to his current low value. When teams attempt to trade for Espinosa, they will not be offering compensation that resembles that for a future all star. Therefore, the Nationals should hold off on dealing Espinosa until his stock increases or he falls out of favor with management.