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The Washington Nationals will likely be without Jayson Werth (surgery on broken left wrist) for approximately 10 to 12 weeks. It's the same wrist in which in 2005 he suffered severe ligament damage that derailed and nearly ended his career. Adam Kilgore's follow-up report confirmed a suspicion that the old injury will affect how he recovers from this most recent one.
Because Werth sustained a "clean break," it seems likely that the joint will heal with minimal complication. He'll have to regain strength around the wrist before he can hit for power, something he hasn't provided at quite the rate he did with the Philadelphia Phillies, although he seemed to be on his way to rectifying that this year. If there is no tissue damage, the process may be straightforward, although it will still take time.
Werth's extensive absence ensures that Bryce Harper is in no danger of a demotion if he begins to struggle, although there was probably little question about that beforehand. Washington is moving the 19-year-old to right field, unsurprisingly.
It's probably also a positive development for Rick Ankiel's fantasy value. In 61 plate appearances, the left-handed hitter has compiled a .288/.311/.441 slash line. The upside here is limited, however. The 32-year-old's ability to hit for power has dwindled and he's not a threat to steal more than 10 to 12 bases in a full season. His poor plate discipline hurts his chances to hit for average, so expect that mark to dip notably, too. He may retain value in NLs but is unlikely to provide any in mixers unless it's during a hot streak.
The Nats should get some reprieve in roughly a month and a half, assuming that Mike Morse (strained lat) has no more setbacks. Until then, Roger Bernadina and Xavier Nady are expected to platoon in left. The former is on the good side of the platoon and may provide decent depth in NL formats. The latter is at best a deep NL reserve, with Steve Lombardozzi (especially once Ryan Zimmerman is back) and Chad Tracy also candidates for PT.
The Nats' postseason aspirations and activity on the market in the past couple of years have again fueled a little speculation that they'll work the phones. Mike Rizzo has publicly denied interest in making that kind of swap, however; it would seem to make little long-term sense at this juncture. The Minnesota Twins' Denard Span's name resurfaced, and such a deal would immediately increase Ben Revere's worth, but Span to D.C. is unlikely barring other catastrophes in the nation's capital.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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