It has become a spring rite of passage around Natstown for the desire toreplace on middle infielder with a younger fresher model even if said prospect has yet to learn the middle infield. Last season the trendy thought was to trade Desmond, move Espinosa to short, and start Lombardozzi at second. Lombardozzi had a good spring, but the Nats viewed him as more of a utility player and that is where he ended up while Ian Desmond went on to have a career year batting .295/.335/.511. Lombardozzi was important to the Nats filling in for Werth, Zimmerman, Morse, and Desmond when they all missed time and softening the blow normally associated with losing a star player.
As intense as the Espinosa vs. Desmond debate was last Spring Training, it wasn't without merit. Up until that point in his career Desmond was barely a 1.0 fWAR player and his only true value was derived from positional scarcity. Danny Espinosa in his rookie season was a 3.5 fWAR player and some scouts had him as a better defensive shortstop than Desmond. That argument made a lot more sense than the one to replace a 3.8 fWAR, top 10, second baseman with a minor league corner infielder that has never played the middle infield for a sizable stretch.Read More