Some items from around the NL East…
- The Nationals optioned outfielder Victor Robles to Triple-A today, a move that came as little surprise given that the club didn’t want to keep Robles on the big league bench rather than gaining valuable everyday experience in the minors. Robles, a consensus top-six prospect in baseball, bypassed Triple-A entirely last season when he was called up by the Nats for 13 September games (plus a spot on the NLDS roster). Washington is already set in the outfield with Bryce Harper, Michael Taylor, and Adam Eaton, leaving Robles without a clear path to playing time. He’ll begin 2018 getting his first taste of Triple-A ball and one would expect he’ll again return to the Nats roster this season, though the exact timing could be in question depending on if the Nationals want to manage Robles’ service time.
- Neil Walker kept the idea of a return to the Mets open until the team signed Todd Frazier, Walker tells Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media. The infielder and the Mets “just kept in touch about interest levels, so on and so forth,” Walker said. “They were just checking in to see if I was willing to come back and things like that. I certainly was. But, really, when Frazier came in, we kind of felt like it wasn’t a possibility.” The Mets were known to be exploring a wide range of options at second and third base, ranging from everyday players to utility options, and they eventually struck on both fronts by re-signing Jose Reyes for a backup role and signing Frazier for more or less everyday duties at the hot corner. Walker ended up signing with New York’s other team, inking a one-year $4MM deal with the Yankees
- Dansby Swanson’s first full MLB season didn’t go as planned, as the Braves shortstop and former first overall pick struggled to a .232/.312/.324 slash line over 551 and was even briefly demoted back to Triple-A. Despite the lack of results, Swanson told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that he is looking at his 2017 as a learning opportunity. “Just because last year didn’t go as planned, it doesn’t mean that this year won’t,” Swanson said. “We all struggle at points in our lives. I’m grateful it happened early, because you can build off that and learn your lessons and move forward. I don’t even look at it as failure. I look at it as growth.” Still just 24 years old, Swanson has been working on his fielding and has adopted a new positioning of his hands on the bat as he looks to break out as Atlanta’s everyday shortstop.