Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Flores to Replace Zim on 25-Man

In a surprise, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has announced that Jesus Flores will be called up from AAA Syracuse to replace Ryan Zimmerman, who is sidelined with a "strained abdominal muscle". If anything, this raises more questions than it answers.

1) Is Flores actually healthy?

He has played in 4 of the 5 Syracuse games thus far this season, and though he has struggled to hit the baseball (much like in Spring Training) he has still been in there. Hitting just .125 in Spring Training and now .154 in AAA action, Flores' call-up is a simply a curious move. One of the reasons he was sent to AAA is to confirm his health, by having the 26 year-old play every day, this isn't going to get that done.

2) Is Pudge on his way out?

Though Pudge has made his 3 hits count on the year (racking up 4 RBIs in some clutch situations), he has been struggling since posting a solid .278 average this Spring. If the Nationals are sure of Flores shoulder health, we could be looking at the last few appearances of Pudge in a Nationals uniform because there is no way we keep 3 catchers on the 25-man for very long.

3) Are we really going to rely on Cora and Hairston to fill in for Zim?

It would stand to reason that we would call up an infielder, such as Brian Bixler to fill in an infield hole. Catcher is, for lack of a better phrase, out in left field. Less likely but still making sense would be to bring in an Outfielder to replace Hairston while he covers for Zim at 3B. Bernadina would be a solid fit here, as he actually hits LHP better than RHP.

4) Will the Nats regret trading Alberto Gonzalez or not signing Willie Harris?

The role of utility player is pretty important to an injury prone ballclub, because you never know who is going to be injured, when, or what position they might play. Each of these players have gotten off to solid starts with their new teams (AG hitting .300, Harris hitting .296), while the Nats' bench players are hitting just 6 for 55 on the year...

5) Is this simply having a need for a right handed bench player?

Most likely, considering Nix, Stairs, and Cora are all left-handed hitters. There is a dearth MLB-ready talent in the Nats organization, and this Flores move shows off that emptiness. Even still, its fun to ask the questions.

Edit (addition):
6) Could Pudge earn time as the first baseman?

With Flores coming up from the minors and sharing time with Ramos behind the plate, this might be the time to get Pudge some time at first base. Adam LaRoche's injuries continue to mount (first shoulder, then groin), and we seriously don't like the condition of Adam's throwing shoulder. This could be Pudge's opportunity to extend his career and still mentor the young Nats catchers.

What are your thoughts on Flores' call-up?? The Comment's section awaits.


  1. I have a feeling the Flores call up is a mixture of 4 things. The right handed bat concept you mentioned, LaRoche probably needing a day off a week, which would allow Pudge to cover for him at first and also the fact that Bernadina hasn't reported to Syracuse yet and is on their bereavement list. Flores is on the 40 man roster, unlike Bixler so nobody would have to be moved to call him up.

    I do have to say though Alberto Gonzalez is no better than Jerry Hairston, and despite his slow start I would rather have Hairston covering for Zimm at 3rd over Gonzo. Gonzo has no bat at all and his defense is good but Hairston is a league average fielder with better speed than Alberto and should be a tougher out in the lineup. Still not the ideal situation though.

  2. Oh, I forgot to add I would have rather seen Marrero get the call if it really was a need for 1st base and a RHed bat. Playing him in the majors for a few weeks wouldn't have hurt his development.

  3. Hey Peyton, thanks for the comments and welcome to Capitol Baseball.

    I'd like to see Marrero in DC too, and my guess is it'll happen in September. But I have to say I actually like this move. The Nats have to see what Flores can do for two reasons.

    1. Is he worth keeping around?
    2. Can he show he can succeed in the majors enough to be a viable trade option?

    Hopefully the Zimm injury ends soon and we get get him back, though.

  4. Like I said on Facebook, here's your new 1B - Pudge Rodriguez. LaRoche is NOT healthy... and at this point the Nats need bats.

    Thinking about this a little makes me wonder if Flores can play 1B? Doubtful.

    I would have preferred Bixler as the call up myself, but as pointed out, he's not on the 40 Man roster.

    As for 3B... Morse has played SS. Can he play Third?

  5. Sec314, Morse played SS, but moved from there for a reason. His legs are as tall as my torso (or so it seems). Not an ideal build for a SS.

    Pudge is almost perfect as a 1B. His issues are back related because he's crouched 3 hours a day. While he's not as tall as one would hope a 1B would be, he certainly has the defense to make up for the loss of LaRoche on a temporary basis. Meanwhile, he can continue mentoring Ramos and Flores.