It’s a good problem to have. Ryan Zimmerman is back, and his return creates even more depth in one of baseball’s elite lineups. This year, he’s batted at a .287 clip, which would be a significant addition to the lineup. But here’s the question – where do you put the face of your franchise? While some argue Zimmerman belongs in left on days that lefties pitch, that moves Harper. First base is out of the question as LaRoche is one of the best defensive players in the league. Third base continues to make Nats fans cringe every time a ball is hit near the bag; it would also move Rendon to second and the web-gem producing Cabrera out of the lineup.
So where is the right position for the Z-man? It may be where nobody has suggested – second base. In his rookie season, Anthony Rendon was able to seamlessly transfer from a third baseman (which he had been his entire life) to second base in about two weeks. With the playoffs fast approaching, the margin for error is very slim, so Rendon should be playing third base. Second base makes even more sense for Zimmerman. It allows a shorter throw for his arthritic shoulder – throws will become shorter and therefore easier to aim, he has much more time to set up and has a very good glove already.
Second base is not the easiest position in the world to learn. Turning double plays is a tough skill to learn, especially when you’ve been on the other side of the diamond for your whole life. However, Anthony Rendon and Asdrubal Cabrera both picked it up very quickly. And at this point, the Nationals cannot afford errors. Matt Williams has two choices to put his best lineup out every day. Zimmerman is either at second base, or on the bench.