Nats willing to deal Denard Span after only one season in DC?
Last offseason, the Washington Nationals acquired Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for highly rated pitching prospect Alex Meyer. The move was a bit of the shock in that some has figured the Nats would be involved in the Michael Bourn bidding.
The deal for Span occurred before the winter meetings, so Washington took themselves out of the Bourn sweepstakes at an early time. Seemed like a shrewd move as Span would be the least expensive option considering Bourn was rumored to be asking five years for $100MM, which isn’t what he got from the Cleveland Indians.
So we fast forward to only one year later and it appears the Nats are willing to listen to offers on their center fielder. Or so says Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
The flexibility on Span could be related to a potential corresponding move, and it was reported here that the Nationals were one of many teams interested in free-agent center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
The link inside that quote is to Heyman’s piece about the teams that do have interest in Ellsbury.
And let’s think about all of this.
Span’s one season in DC produced a batting average of .279 and an OBP of .327, both below his then-career averages of .284 and .357, respectively. Span did lead all of baseball in triples with 11. His defense was good (DRS of 3) and he did play in 153 games. Span was better in the second half of the season (.302/.337) as compared to the first half (.263/.320).
There is risk here.
Many teams have interest in Ellsbury as Heyman noted. If Washington were to sign him, their position in dealing Span would be lessened as teams would obviously know of their willingness to make a deal. The return wouldn’t be of the value the Nats gave to the Twins (Meyer).
Say you trade Span before having Ellsbury in the fold…only to lose the Ellsbury bidding. What now?
Though Heyman mentions the possibility of the Nats chasing Jacoby Ellsbury, it is also worth bearing in mind that the club could hypothetically add a corner outfielder and shift Bryce Harper to center.