First Day on the Job

The Nats have called up Jesus Flores to take Ryan Zimmerman’s spot on the roster for at least the next 15 days.  Flores is like the guy who comes from the temp agency while the guy in the next cubicle is recovering from bypass surgery.  He’s almost certain to be a round peg in a square hole.  With Wilson Ramos and Pudge Rodriguez, the Nats don’t need another catcher — except so that one of them could pinch hit and then Flores would be available in case would be available if the catcher-of-the day was injured (or if the game went 22 innings).  Possibly, Pudge will play a few innings at first and then Flores would move closer to a shining moment.  Flores needs ABs, and has some power, so more likely than not he, not Ramos/Rodriguez, will be the pinch-hitter.

The Nats (and their fans) really don’t know what to do with Flores.  Some think they should trade him, more — according to my sense — think they should trade Rodriguez.  At this point in the season, neither has significant trade value.  Looking down the road, trading Flores makes more sense as, otherwise, the catcher surplus in the organization will likely resurface next year (assuming Derek Norris learns how to block pitches in the dirt at Harrisburg).  But it all really depends whether a market develops for a declining veteran or for an unproven and oft-injured prospect with a potentially high “upside.”

In the short-term, Flores illustrates a present weakness in the Nats organization at the high-minor league level.  The principal qualification for this call up was someone who bats right-handed, because the Nats have three left-handed reserves and, after Jerry Hairston is plugged into the starting lineup (at either 3B or CF), the only available right-hand bat is one of the aforementioned catchers.  Other than Flores, the Nats don’t have a right-handed hitter at Syracuse who (A) has any major-league experience and (B) is on the 40-man roster so they wouldn’t have to waive someone to make a spot available.   When Zimmerman went on the DL, I thought briefly — before discovering I was wrong — that Corey Brown was a switch hitter, but he bats from the left side so is disqualified for the time being.

Almost everyone is in agreement that, in the near future, the Nats are going to have to move somebody, or some of the bodies, in their bullpen, either because they aren’t pulling their weight or because in about four weeks Henry Rodriguez has to come off the DL.  The Flores promotion illustrates that, whatever happens with Flores and/or Zimmerman, if the Nationals can find a taker for Gaudin or Coffey, they maybe  should be looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder in return.

Th.

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