Brendan Ryan agreed to a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports.
Ryan had been traded to the Cubs earlier in the offseason, but the veteran was released shortly after. He'll get an invitation to spring training as part of the deal, but the 33-year-old figures to serve primarily as organizational depth up the middle of the infield.
The Washington Nationals have received big contributions from young players in recent years, and they will need another big prospect to step up if they want to get back to the playoffs in 2016. Shortstop Trea Turner got his first taste of the majors last season and struggled a bit, but has plenty of upside for Fantasy players to dream on this season.
Turner hit just .225 in his 44 plate appearances a year ago, with a strikeout in 27.2 percent of his trips to the plate, an uncharacteristic struggle for a player who hit .322 with a 19.9 percent strikeout rate in the minors. If Turner's game is going to translate to the majors, it will be because he can get that average up near .300, allowing his gap power and baserunning abilities to play up.
His struggles last season likely mean he won't have a job from day one -- thanks Dusty Baker! -- but he is the highest-upside play the Nationals have to choose from, and that upside -- 35 steals, 10 homers, .300 average -- makes him worth stashing even if he isn't starting from day one.
If you want an example how quickly perception can change for a young player, look no further than Washington Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon . Coming into the 2015 season, he was viewed as one of the brightest young stars in baseball, coming off a .287 average, 21-homer, 111-run season with 17 stolen bases. He was the kind of all-around stud who, then just 24, would be a future Fantasy first-rounder in no time.
One injury-plagued year later, and Rendon is going 79th overall in FantasyPros.com's average draft position tracker. Rendon is going 60 spots later in drafts than Mookie Betts , whose 2015 breakout (.291, 18 homers, 21 steals) looks an awful lot like what Rendon did the year before. Betts deserves to go ahead of Rendon for good reason this season, but don't forget about Rendon when looking for your second baseman -- he could be a steal in the sixth round or later if that's where he ends up going.
The right-hander with the trademark leg kick will be reunited with manager Dusty Baker, from whom he played six seasons in Cincinnati from 2008-2013. Arroyo then jumped to Arizona, making 14 starts in 2014 before being forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. He's expected to be ready for spring training, and could bump Tanner Roark from the No. 5 starter role if truly healthy, but Arroyo's leash on a rotation spot would be very short.
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