The Nationals are, umm, struggling. After a 98-win season, they were supposed to cruise again this season. Instead they've got a losing record and their phenoms ain't phenominating. Just this morning, Cliff Corcoran pointed out that most of the blame goes to the hitters ... and much of that goes to the second basemen, who have combined for league-low batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage ... and much of that blame goes to Danny Espinosa, who's been playing hurt all season, just because he can.
But as as I wrote last week, there doesn't seem to be much the Nats can do, except hope that everyone gets healthy. Soon.
Look, the thing with Espinosa is just ridiculous. There's toughness, and then there's being a stubborn idiot who's hurting your team. Espinosa seems to have cleared the latter bar with plenty to spare. Jaffe suggests that über-prospect Anthony Rendon, currently tearing up the Eastern League, might be summoned to the majors for second-base duties. But the Eastern League's not the National League, and Rendon would be playing out of position. I'm not saying they shouldn't do it, but it's not clear that Rendon would actually be a big upgrade.
Well, it seems that someone was listening to Jay Jaffe (as everyone should, of course). Because Rendon's rejoining the big club Tuesday. Do we know that he's actually going to play second base? Yes, that does seem to be the plan:
MIke Rizzo Nats GM just confirmed me with their plans for Anthony Rendon "He's going to primarily play 2B" (he was recalled today)— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) June 4, 2013
I'm sticking by what I wrote last week. Espinosa and Lombardozzi have both been so awful this spring that Rendon almost has to help some. But second base isn't an easy position, Rendon made three errors in just eight games at that position in the minors, and OJT in the majors probably means a fair number of double plays that (oops) aren't.
If you're the Nationals, you gotta do something. But Rendon at second base seems hardly a panacea.