The Washington Nationals have announced that they have acquired outfielder Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins in return for minor league starting pitching prospect Alex Meyer.
The #Nationals today acquired OF Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league RHP Alex Meyer.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) November 29, 2012
Span, 28, hit .283/.342/.395 with 71 runs scored an 17 stolen bases in 128 games last season. Perhaps most importantly, however, the centerfielder posted UZR/150 of 9.6, meaning the Nats acquired both a leadoff hitter and a true centerfielder in one deal.
Meyer, however, was quite a price to give up for an above average outfielder. The 22-year-old had a monster first professional season in 2012, posting a 10-6 record with a 2.86 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 129 innings between low and high Single-A. While this competition was arguably below, or on par, with what he faced every day while playing for Kentucky, the six foot nine hurler possesses incredible tools that may one day help him mold into a frontline starter in the MLB.
Mike Rizzo’s focus, however, is on the here and now. The Nationals had three major needs leading into this winter; a true centerfielder, a leadoff hitter, and another starting pitcher. They checked off two of those needs in just one move and it’s not even December yet.
The deal does have some deep implications, however, about what the team’s opening day lineup may look like. It was believed that if the Nats decided to make a move by adding an outfielder, that it would probably imply that the team would not look to re-sign Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winning first baseman Adam LaRoche. It is far more likely that the team will shift Harper to left field, move Mike Morse to first, and say thanks, but no thanks, their on-the-field leader from 2012.
LaRoche had a charmed 2012 season to be sure. The 32-year-old hit .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI, but at his age and the type of contract he is likely to demand now being on the free market, it just makes good business sense for Rizzo to say good bye.
I like the move. Frank...Upton just signed a 5 year $75 million deal, and Bourn will get a similar deal or maybe even more, how is that even close to the same salary range as Span? Also, Ross is not a good fit...might as well keep Morse out there. I personally want the Nats to resign LaRoche and trade Morse for a good middle relief player. With the Nats not having to spend a ton of money on a guy like Upton or Bourn we can get Span and Laroche on cheap 3 year deals and then use the money we didn't spend on a good starting pitcher. Greinke may not be in the cards but Sanchez to 5 years and $80 million would be a good fit.
Are paying him 5 mil next year? We could get better value on the open market without trading a 1st round draft pick. Thats all I am saying. Cody Ross, Michael Bourn, BJ Upton.... all better options for similar price and then we would have still had Meyer.
Time will tell. Agreed we do need to replace Michael Morse in left. Great hitter but not an outfielder. First base for Michael would be good, but what about Tyler Moore? That guy is great at the plate and needs to play
Frank Perney, what value do stolen bases bring you? He gets on base and scores runs, and plays excellent defense. The point of comparing Harper is that he is FAST even though he doesn't steal bases. His speed is still an asset on the base paths. I am not arguing that Span is equal to Harper as a ball player.
Are you seriously comparing Span to Harper? Since Span does not possess the bat or arm or hustle of Harper...then yes he needs to steal more to have any value to me.
Stolen bases do not equate speed. In general stolen bases are frowned upon these days as statistically the risk isn't really worth the reward. Bryce Harper was 18 for 24 stealing this year...would you not say he is very very fast?
17 for 23 SB is not plus speed for a lead off man. His bat is dead. Maybe the one thing he has going for him is in 2009 he won the Twins "Good Guy Award". Yay!
Span has plus speed. He's one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. Why do you want Tyler Moore over Mike Morse?
Plus Meyer was a first round draft pick and had a great 1st year...for .280 Dernard Span with his 5 hrs and non plus speed?? Please!
To be clear, after this trade we have 3 outfielders. Bryce Harper, Denard Span, and Jayson Werth. Mike Morse is the starting first baseman.