Eh - below is a garbage post thrown out at the end of the day. Like an aspirin in your advent calendar they can't all be winners. Read it if you want but the jist is that the Nats have Matt Antonelli playing some SS in AAA. That's fine if he's going to replace Hairston or Bixler as a bench guy but I don't agree with it if they mean to replace Desmond. I think Desmond should get the whole season to work his issues out and if they do replace him I think it should be done differently (Espinosa to SS, someone else to 2nd).
I brought up Matt Antonelli a couple weeks ago in comments as a potential MI guy to bring up, if the Nats ever decided to get rid of the dead wood on the bench. At the very least a former first round draft pick who is still only 26 years old would be more interesting to watch hit than Alex "In 2012, Alex joined the Dodgers organization as a minor league instructor" Cora. I was reminded of him when FJB posted a link to this article. (Matt also blogs with the same stylistic choices of a young Farid)
Anyway it all got me thinking about how he was doing (damn good : .364 / .425 / .576 in 18 games) and that got me thinking of where they would put him. He's a 3B/2B guy and the guy to replace in the infield is the SS. What to do? What to do?
The smart play, if the Nats want to give up on Desmond (which I wouldn't until the All-Star break at the earliest but that's me), is to move Danny Espinosa to SS and let Matt take 2nd, while Ian takes a breather in AAA. Danny played SS exclusively until AAA and Matt has never played SS in 5 years of minor league ball. Danny IS a SS, better than Ian in the minors. Matt might be able to pass as a 2B. Danny becomes the new major league SS while Ian, who's gotten plenty of chances by now to stick, has to not only hit but learn to play 2nd if he wants to come back. Thems the breaks. Of course the Nats aren't doing that because that's not how things work in baseball. I obviously never played the game.
What the Nats are doing is keeping Danny at 2B. This is because, I assume, it would be terribly disruptive to move him to short in general. It would be even worse, specifically for what could be a short period of time, since they'd only move him back to 2nd if Antonelli failed and Desmond got hot after the switch. Best to leave well enough alone. So instead Matt Antonelli is learning, at 26 to play a position he probably hasn't seen time at since early college. If he can play SS than great, but if he can't then... I guess the Nats are stuck?
What this amounts to is the Nats bending over backward for Ian Desmond, the guy they are eyeing, at least on some level, for sending down to AAA. Rather than force HIM to learn 2nd and maximizing their talent available with Danny at SS and Matt/Ian at 2nd, they are forcing the world to fit Ian. Danny stays at a position when he might be better suited elsewhere. Matt is forced to move to a position where he's probably better suited elsewhere. Ian gets to stay where he is.
It's tempting to say the stability of playing 2nd every day helps Danny adjust to the major league, but why not try first and see if that's actually the case? Why assume this for the sake of helping out a player you are rapidly losing faith in? It makes no sense and to me it's the type of move that a top notch organization doesn't make.
Sorry - I wasn't clear but if given my druthers Ian would basically have the whole year. Maybe around Sept call-ups you shake things up if he doesn't improve enough to keep or trade. And I guess they could be prepping Antonelli to be a super sub, replacing a Hairston or Bixler. That makes more sense actually. Well besides the fact that chances are someone isn't going to play all those positions well and it's better to have guys on the bench that can. Of course I say that because none of the guys the Nats have can hit so defense is a big part of their value then.