Now that Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is going to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time, what can the team do to add some punch to an offense that continues to struggle to put runs on the board?
I started to think of possible solutions available right now on the current 25-man roster. One possible avenue is more playing time for Laynce Nix, who has had some big hits in limited duty this season.
Nix has cranked game-winning home runs against the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants. He has been working very hard to get more playing time and his bat certainly has shown he might deserve starts now. Already this season, Nix is 5-for-12 (.417) with runners in scoring position.
Jerry Hairston and Alex Cora have been able to maintain the high expectations of gold glove defense at third base but have never been known as power hitters.
Michael Morse, although struggling to start the season at the plate, won the left field job because he was able to hit home runs and show power in spring training.
As I proposed on the postgame show Saturday, why not move Morse to third base? Then you could put Nix in left field. That way you have the potential, as long as Morse’s bat comes around, of adding more power to a lineup that has had trouble getting extra base hits.
Morse played shortstop for 55 games when he broke into the majors with the Seattle Mariners in 2005. He has played other infield positions, including third base and first base with the Mariners and now with the Nationals. Despite his big frame of 6-foot-5, Morse is athletic and is capable of holding his own between second and third base.
I also like the idea of promoting Roger Bernadina to platoon with Rick Ankiel in center or give Ankiel some spot starts in left. Bernadina adds punch to the lineup and a dose of speed that can extend innings like he did last week in his short stay with the Nationals.
I believe this is one way of jump starting an offense that has slowed down since the injury to Zimmerman. Now that the injury requires surgery and means the franchise third baseman is out until late June, moving Morse to third and Nix to left could be one way to add some life to the middle of the Nationals lineup. What do you think?