The Nationals would like to add a left-handed bat that can play second base, and Kelly Johnson is one possibility for them, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Per Rosenthal, the Nats plan to open next season with Danny Espinosa at shortstop while Trea Turner continues to develop. Once Turner is ready, Johnson (or another lefty batter) could slide over to second base and platoon with Espinosa, who is a stronger batter from the right side of the dish.
A few more notes from the division…
- The Mets haven’t ruled out bringing back Tyler Clippard, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, though the Twins, Blue Jays and Dodgers are among the clubs also in the market for setup help, he notes. Crasnick wonders if Clippard’s high workload is causing clubs to shy away, though one exec said of the durable right-hander (Twitter link): “Considering the terrible contracts being given to relievers, he’ll get his money. He’s too good not to.”
- Crasnick also notes that the Braves have received steady interest in Ender Inciarte since acquiring him (links to Twitter). Atlanta is willing to listen on anyone but Freddie Freeman, but the club’s plan is to keep Inciarte in the organization and use him as a leadoff hitter and center fielder for the foreseeable future.
- The Mets are expected to show interest in free-agent right-hander Matt Albers as they look to upgrade the bullpen, reports ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. Albers, 32, missed half of last season with a broken finger in his hand but didn’t allow a run across the final two months of the season. He’s been a Mets target in the past, Rubin notes.
- Phillies GM Matt Klentak told reporters, including MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, that the Ken Giles trade was an opportunity that was “too good to pass up.” Klentak maintains that he never wanted to trade Giles, but adding a slew of starting pitching candidates, headlined by Mark Appel and Vincent Velasquez, improves the club’s outlook in both the short and long term. Klentak also discussed the importance of the depth that veterans Charlie Morton and Jeremy Hellickson give to the club and called Brett Oberholtzer (also acquired in the Giles deal) a “stabilizer.” As Zolecki notes, Oberholtzer is out of minor league options, so he’s well-positioned to make the rotation in 2016.