Mike Rizzo has had his Adrian Veidt moment. After years and years of searching for a centerfielder that can lead-off the Nationals have found one in Denard Span. Consider for a moment that in 2010 the Nats team OBP from the lead-off position was .300 flat then dipped below .300 in 2011 rising to a still terrible .325 in 2012 while Denard Span for his career has a .357 OBP. If the Nationals had weaknesses in 2012 it was at the lead-off position and with outfield defense where Michael Morse is a -20.4 UZR/150 left fielder. Bryce Harper will improve on that and Denard Span combined with Harper and Werth will make the Nationals outfield a defensive sight to behold.
Since I am a little late to the Denard Span party here are a few links from around the web that wrap up the trade nicely from multiple perspectives.
Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes that the Nationals stole Span from the Twins.
Meanwhile Bill from TPA suggests that because of bad Twins trades of the past this one looks good in comparision.
Joe Lemire of si.com writes about the effect the Span trade will have on the Nationals, Twins, and the rest of baseball.
And for the local prospective here is Admanda Comak.
As far as what this trade means for the rest of the Washington Nationals off-season it could be glorious if they do spend the money they would have spent on Bourn or Upton on Greinke or it could be a boring stretch until they sign Dan Haren or Shaun Marcum sometime in January. That all has yet to be determined as does the futures of Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse in Washington. We can and will speculate all we want on that, but only time can truly answer those questions. For now the Nationals have a true centerfielder who can lead-off.