Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa, who impressed the team with his six homers in a September call-up, had a big night yesterday in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He hit for the cycle, going 4-for-4 with a walk and driving in four runs. In his last three games for the Leones de Ponce, he's 7-for-11 with a pair of homers.
Those are Espinosa's only two homers in Puerto Rico; Cubs bench coach (and former Nationals third base coach) Pat Listach, who is managing the team, said in a text message the infielder was striking out too much early in the league. But Espinosa has raised his average to .310 in 17 games, and has a .910 OPS.
That's good news for the Nationals, who are likely to get plenty of inquiries on Espinosa and Ian Desmond, their two young middle infielders, as they pursue trades for a top-of-the-rotation starter this winter. Espinosa is a natural shortstop, and has been playing the position in Puerto Rico. He could slide over there if Desmond is traded, or could be a trade chip himself. And if nothing changes, the Nationals are excited about a full season of Espinosa and Desmond in the middle of their infield.