Feb 192012
 

It was just two weeks ago that the Nationals announced the signing of Rick Ankiel, creating a three-man race for the CF position and two-man race for the backup spot. Today, Mike Cameron announced his retirement, opening the door of opportunity for an outfielder prospect to make the team.

The white phone is for you, Corey Brown.

Of course, I am toying with you: Nothing I can write will convince the impatient that this doesn’t increase the odds of Bryce Harper making the Opening Day roster. Because, on paper, I have to agree that that’s true.

But I can remind folks that Harper has mostly played left field since his promotion from Hagerstown to Harrisburg (all 37 games in LF) and made six errors in 25 AFL games last fall. None of this is all that surprising considering Harper is a converted catcher. To assume that Harper is ready on defense, however, requires not only a leap of faith but perhaps even the ingestion of a foreign substance.

Never mind whether Harper is ready on offense, with less than a third of a season of AA and zero (0) games of AAA experience.

Working against Brown is his handedness. A platoon of Cameron and the winner of the Ankiel/Berndina battle seemed to be the storyline, with the loser manning the bench. Now, as Bill Ladson noted in his story linked above, the odds of Jason Michaels and Brett Carroll also have improved — especially this late in offseason, when a thin crop of FA outfielders has been largely picked over.

  7 Responses to “Cameron Retirement Opens The Door”

  1. Dont count out Xavier Paul from putting together a good ST. He has been great in AAA, and ok in the majors. If he could just put it all together we found ourselfs a good player

    • I agree with you I think Xavier Paul is one of the non-roster invitees to watch this spring, I really think he could be an answer for 2012 in the Nats OF, even if it is as the 4th OF.

  2. Corey Brown has hardly shown any reason for optimism . They probably will spend the first couple weeks of ST looking at all the suspects before making a plan of action for the season.

  3. Bear in mind that “opening the door” is merely an increase from none-to-slim to slim-to-some. But we’ve also seen that Rizzo does have an undue proclivity towards the players that he’s acquired via trade (see Mock, Garrett; Chico, Matt).

  4. Here’s an idea for you: Justin Maxwell. He is out of options. If the Yankees waive him (I think he has a better chance of making that team than Meyers does) he makes a better 25th man than Cameron would have. Maxwell OPS’d .945 with 16 HRs in just 48 AAA games before tearing the labrum in his shoulder while going over a wall to rob a player of a HR. As a guy who can be a defensive replacement, PR, and perhaps give you decent at bats against lefties (as bad as he’s been, he OPS’s .753 against LHP at the big league level and pretty consistently mashed them at the minor league level), he could fill a niche for the Nationals if he doesn’t make the Yankees.

    • Would you make that as a trade for Brad Meyers? (i.e. Yankees want him but not at the MLB level).

      • Interesting thought, but probably not – although it may be worth revisiting later. I’m not sold on Meyers, but the Nationals could use some good pitching depth at Syracuse, particularly if they move Lannan at some point.

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