Tuesday, March 29, 2011

25 in 25: Alex Cora (#24)

In 2 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.

Today's Nat is one of the oldest players on the roster, and a 13-year veteran; Alex Cora.

Why? A lot of this boiled down to the attitude of Alberto Gonzalez, who fancied himself a starter, not a bench player. The team brought in Alex Cora on a minor league deal, giving them a much needed veteran middle infield presence in case Espinosa struggles or Desmond gets hurt. The writing was on the wall in the past 2 weeks as the Nats showed off Gonzalez's versatility, showcasing him at all the 4 infield positions. The final nail, obviously, came yesterday as Gonzalez was traded to the Padres.

What should you expect? You should expect a .250 batting average with a +.300 OBP at the plate. In the power department, Cora will hit a couple of homers and give about 20-30 RBI. His real value is going to come in the field and in the clubhouse. Cora has been an above average defender at both SS and 2B, giving a 7.6 and 9.2 career UZR at each position. Alex Cora is the definition of a replacement player, and thats exactly what he will bring to the plate.

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