The Washington Nationals used Ryan Zimmerman in left field while Bryce Harper was on the disabled list. Now that Harper has been activated and reinserted in the starting lineup, manager Matt Williams has a little bit of a predicament.
There are a couple items to consider: Danny Espinosa is a more natural second baseman but has struggled at the plate this season. Zimmerman has expressed a preference to remain in left field, but with Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth, the starting outfield spots are spoken for. Anthony Rendon, the man who played third while Zimmerman was in left, can play well enough at second to slot Zimmerman back into the infield.
As you can see, it’s complicated. The Nationals either play one of their longest tenured starters in a spot where he is uncomfortable or they displace a player who is used to starting. In the first night with Harper back in the lineup, Williams opted for the former, moving Zimmerman back to third base.
Harper disagrees with that plan, with no apparent regard for the feelings of his buddy Denard. As quoted by Chase Hughes of CSN Washington:
“I think [Zimmerman] is great and he should be playing left. Rendon’s a great third baseman and he should be playing third. And we got one of the best second basemen in the league in Danny Espinosa. Of course you want the best hitting lineup in there, and I think Rendon playing third and Zim playing left is something that is good for this team and I think that should be what’s happening.”
Seriously, that analysis from Harper is full of compliments for all of his teammates but poor Span.
For a while now people have wondered who will be the odd man out in Washington. For now it is Espinosa, but many have speculated that it could become Span eventually if the Nationals decide to try and trade him. If that happens, Harper will be a happy camper, apparently.