Late yesterday, the Nationals announced that they had completed a deal with the Minnesota Twins to bring center fielder Denard Span to DC in exchange for minor league pitcher Alex Meyer. Span’s early career has been nothing short of impressive, with a .746 career OPS, a slash line of .284/.357/.389, and some plus defensive skills that will make a Harper/Span/Werth outfield a place where balls go to die.
Span was 9th in the AL last year among position players in Wins Above Replacement, which determines a player’s overall contribution level to their club.
Span comes with a contract of $12M over the next two years with a club option for 2015 at $9M. This deal has been favorably compared to the recent signing of BJ Upton, whose 5-year $75M deal for similar skills is a bit of a fascination with the sports world right now. It appears the Nationals have found themselves quite a deal.
So what does this mean for the Nationals? Well, unless the Nats suddenly move to the American League, it appears that the Nats are taking an either/or position regarding the futures of Michael Morse or Adam LaRoche. At this time, it would appear that the outfield is fully stocked for the Nationals in 2013, and that Morse will either be playing first, or he’ll be playing for someone else. The same is true for LaRoche, who is currently in negotiations with the Nationals for what is believed to be at least a 3-year deal.
The Nationals’ off-season is far from complete, and the hot stove continues to be a topic of focus, especially as Baseball’s Winter Meetings approach next week in Nashville. At this point, the Nationals have some question marks in their starting rotation and bullpen, as well as the need to either re-sign LaRoche or move Morse into the position full-time.
There are just 74 days until pitchers & catchers report for the Nationals in Viera, Florida.