Can Junior Spivey Be The Nats Starting 2nd Baseman In 2006? [YES!]
[September 29th] -- Look, I know what you're thinking. The Washington Nationals have on their roster a player who has been one of the top 2nd baseman in the National League since 1998. He should be the starter going into the 2006 season.
The Nationals, however, also have a player on their roster who has been a quality 2nd baseman in the National League for the past several years. Both players can only play 2nd base, so someone has to go. The question is, who?
I think it needs to be Jose Vidro.
To be fair, Vidro has been one of the premier offensive 2nd baseman since he took over the position in 1999 when the team was still in Montreal. But Vidro isn't a "5 tool" player, and he is very slow for a middle infielder. He has had to work hard to become a "slightly better than average" fielder. He will be 32 going into the 2006 season.
Vidro's big problem has been his health. In his 7 years as a starter, he has played more than 150 games only twice. He missed 40 games in 2001, 20 games in 2003, 52 games in 2004 and will have missed 89 games by the end of this season. He carries a lot of weight on his short frame, and I question if he'll ever be able to play on a regular basis again.
Although he's no Jose Vidro at the plate, Junior Spivey is a quality offensive player. Spivey has a career .270 average and has good pop for a middle infielder. How good? Take his 1500 career at bats and average them over 3 500 at-bat seasons, and you'd get the following:
AB:517 - R:86 - H:140 - 2B:30 - 3B:4 - HR:16 - RBI:70 - SB:10 - SLG:.436 - OBP:.354 - AVE:270
Spivey is considered a solid if unspectacular defensive player, but certainly the equal of Vidro in that area.
The Nationals don't need to rebuild for 2006, they need to retool. One of the team-wide problems the team faces is a severe lack of speed. Spivey could help the team become quicker. He's certainly not "Rafael Furcal" fast, but he could steal 15 bases a year and do a much better job of going from first to third on a single, something Vidro just can't do at this stage in his career.
Jose Vidro is a solid player, but isn't part of the Nationals long term future. Spivey is cheaper, can do almost as much, and is much faster. Vidro could certainly bring value to the team were he to be traded to a contender.
I like Junior Spivey and would love to see him start at 2nd base next year. Spivey is better suited to RFK's expansive outfield than Vidro's power. We'll just have to see what Jim Bowden [or his replacement] decides to do.