You always wonder who the person(s) are who analyze and compile these team depth charts. They left 2 relievers off the list ( Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelley) and had Aaron Barrett as the 6th reliever so clearly much to be desired overall. Trea Turner is listed as the starting shortstop!
Screengrab from Nationals.com ©
Rizzo was asked about Trea Turner’s future with the Nats. If you read this following quote and believe it than you could see someone penciling in Trea V. Turner for the Opening Day starter as unlikely as it seems to many who believe he really does need seasoning and the team would benefit from having him wait for May 30th to get his maximum team control in check.
Rizzo said, “We love competition. Trea’s going to come to spring training with the rest of the big leaguers and compete for a job at shortstop, and we love the depth that we’ve created there. His talent level is extremely high, and we’ve got extremely high hopes for him, and we’re going to develop him the way that he should be developed.”
Many think that the outfield could benefit by having a proven leadoff centerfielder which Rizzo could acquire through Free Agency with Dexter Fowler or through a trade for a player like Charlie Blackmon. There aren’t many good options and Blackmon has certain limitations and uncertainty how his numbers would translate out of Coors Field.
Rizzo was asked if his roster is now set, “If there’s a value out there that can help the ballclub, then we would certainly look into it, but we like our depth and we like our talent level. I like the roster. I think we’ve achieved a lot of our goals going into it. We’ve balanced our lineup, we’ve acquired high skill sets, and I think the roster as constructed today is something that we really like.”
If the Nats stand firm and go with Michael A. Taylor who finished 2015 with a slash of .229/.282/.358/.640 overall and that .640 OPS would rank Taylor near the bottom of all CFs and below a few CFs who were DFA’d. Rizzo addressed the Michael A. Taylor situation with quotes of “I love Michael Taylor. He’s our guy”. His K/9 was the worst of all centerfielders as the game evolves in baseball to a premium for contact hitters (Daniel Murphy). Rizzo was asked again if he would trade for an upgrade in the outfield.
Rizzo said, “[Michael A. Taylor] had a heck of a year for us last year, first of all, for a player that was probably 3 or 4 months ahead of schedule and forced into an everyday role that he probably developmentally wasn’t prepared for, but mentally he came through. Mentally he was extremely prepared, and as the season wore on he got better and better and better every month. And again, I say it when I describe Daniel Murphy, this guy, when the pressure was the biggest, he performed at his best. This guy got as many big hits for us as anyone on the ballclub did last year, and performed extremely well for us. I have very high hopes for Michael Taylor, and a guy we really like.”
It is true that Michael A. Taylor stepped up in the clutch and he attacked the pitchers in the stretch and especially the lefty pitchers. There is plenty to like but there has to be a healthy does of cautious planning.
Can the Nats go in another season counting on aging veterans who have suffered injuries of varying degrees in each of the last 3 seasons? That becomes the million dollar question.
Notes: Various quotes were taken from the public domain from MASN, Washington Post, and Twitter quotes. Depth chart graphic was a screengrab from Nationals.com and all copyrights are with those companies