Major League second baseman who bring some pop at the plate are rare to find. When a team has such a player, they will go to great lengths to find a way to get them involved in the team’s plans. They will also show great patience when things start to fall apart for that player in hopes that he will rediscover the production that made him so valuable in the first place (see Uggla, Dan).
After Danny Espinosa hit 21 home runs in 2011 and 17 home runs in 2012, he struggled mightily in 2013. In only 44 games at the big league level with the Washington Nationals, Espinosa batted .158/.193/.272. With top prospect Anthony Rendon looming as a possible option at second base, the Nationals are trying to decide what to do with Espinosa as he tries to rebound.
The team has reportedly explored the option of using Espinosa some at shortstop as a way to get his bat in the lineup. They have actually used Espinosa primarily at that spot so far this spring, which could mean they are grooming him to come off the bench. Or could they be trying to bolster his trade value?
Buster Olney of ESPN wonders if the Nationals could get trade interest in Espinosa from teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Yankees (subscription required). The Dodgers still have uncertainty at second base and the Yankees have uncertainty everywhere in their infield. Olney also notes that the Nats might not be motivated to trade Espinosa now because his value would be so low.
Either team would look to add Espinosa as a low-risk guy who could compete for a spot. It will be interesting to see what the Nats decide to do with their displaced second baseman.