The Trickle-Down Effect of No Carter Kieboom for the Nationals

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Carter Kieboom looks to shore up his play at the hot corner and at the plate; otherwise the Nationals will have to get creative. (Photo: Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

Anthony Rendon is gone, and that leaves a gaping hole at the hot corner for the defending World Series champions. As I mentioned in my Spring Training primer, the ideal scenario was for top prospect Carter Kieboom to take over the starting job. Whether it was his job to lose or if it was simply his to compete for has come into question recently, but either way, Kieboom starting early in 2020 was undeniably the organization’s preference. If it wasn’t, they would’ve pursued a third baseman — Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Escobar; the list goes on — much more seriously this offseason.

As time passes, it looks increasingly likely that Kieboom starts the season in the minor leagues. There’s still a chance that he wins the third base job, but he hasn’t done himself any favors offensively — he was 1–12 (.083 average) this spring before going 2–2 off the bench yesterday — or defensively — he has two errors (and a third that could’ve gone against him) on only 13 official chances. Nonetheless, he still has a chance to improve before Opening Day — and get off the bench. For the sake of this exercise, however, I’ll assume he doesn’t crack the initial 26-man roster.

Who could replace Kieboom on the Opening Day roster, and how might that impact who plays at third base? Continue reading “The Trickle-Down Effect of No Carter Kieboom for the Nationals”

Erick Fedde Closes on Austin Voth, Luis Garcia Outshines Carter Kieboom

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Luis Garcia headlined AA Harrisburg’s lineup in 2019, but now has his eyes set on a promotion. (Photo: Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

I wasn’t sure if I’d end up writing again so soon after my last post, but some things have caught my eye in the last couple games. First, the battle for a spot on the Opening Day pitching staff might not be as settled as it appeared. Second, the gap between the Nationals’ top two prospects appears to be closing. Continue reading “Erick Fedde Closes on Austin Voth, Luis Garcia Outshines Carter Kieboom”

Round One of Spring Training Goes to Austin Voth and Joe Ross

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Joe Ross looked to strengthen his case for the Nationals’ fifth starter job in his Wednesday outing against the Yankees. (Photo: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Before the start of Spring Training, I touched on the key roster battles the Nationals were faced with. Most of those don’t have significant clarity yet, but one appears to have taken center stage: the fifth starter role.

Aside from Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin who will make their debuts over the next two days and Max Scherzer who just made his second appearance last night — every starter has thrown one time. With that in mind, here’s a look at how round one went for the men whose jobs are most in limbo and how they project going forward. Continue reading “Round One of Spring Training Goes to Austin Voth and Joe Ross”

Washington Nationals Enter Spring Training 2020 With Voids to Fill

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The Nationals enter life post-Anthony Rendon, which means reconfiguring the infield and top of the lineup. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Well that was fast! The Washington Nationals are back, and it’s time for them to begin their title defense. With that said, here’s a look at what’s changed since they last took the field and the questions they’ll need to answer. Continue reading “Washington Nationals Enter Spring Training 2020 With Voids to Fill”

The Adventure of Jonny Venters in D.C.

He’s already won Comeback Player of the Year once before. If Jonny Venters pitches next year, he should win it again by default.

Venters has already undergone “three and a half” Tommy John surgeries. He also looked like his prime self — one of the most dominant left-handed relievers in baseball — in 2018. The fact that he was even available in late May (when the Nationals signed him to a minor league contract) was largely due to his checkered past health-wise. Continue reading “The Adventure of Jonny Venters in D.C.”

Fernando Rodney Deserves an Apology

Fernando Rodney is a unique case. Sure, he’s pretty well-removed from his days of being a top 10 closer. He’s not someone who should be relied upon that heavily.

And yet that’s precisely what Dave Martinez did when the Nationals signed him to a minor-league contract in June and purchased him from AAA Fresno shortly thereafter. Continue reading “Fernando Rodney Deserves an Apology”