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Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth will man opposite outfield corners this year.
Harper, though, didn't have much of a say whether he wound up in left field or right field. Even Davey Johnson deferred that decision to the other player affected by this game of outfield musical chairs: Jayson Werth.
Werth, who has 723 games of big-league experience in right field (not to mention one of the largest contracts in baseball history), earned the right to pick his position and ultimately decided to stay right where he's been all along while bumping Harper to left field.
"I think Jayson's already decided that," Johnson said today. "He told me early on after we made the trade, he said the perfect spot for the kid is left field because he hasn't hit a cutoff man in two years."
All kidding aside, this alignment probably makes the most sense for now. Though Harper ultimately projects to be a right fielder, Werth has far more experience there and continues to play the position well at age 33.
Harper, meanwhile, will have one of the strongest arms of any left fielder in the game while playing a less-demanding position in his first full big-league season.
Everyone acknowledges that arrangement won't last forever. Werth is under contract through 2017, and Harper is under team control through 2018, and eventually the younger of the two is going to take over the more-demanding position on a permanent basis.
"Jayson's no dummy," Johnson said. "But I like what he's thinking."
The Span acquisition also could force Werth and Harper into new positions within the Nationals' batting order. Johnson isn't ready to reveal his plan for that quite yet, but his choice appears to be between hitting Werth second to take advantage of his ability to get on base or down in the lineup to take advantage of his RBI capabilities.
"I was happy with the job Jayson Werth did leading off for us [last season]," Johnson said. "I don't think he can do much better for somebody coming in and getting on base about 40 percent of the time. That's in the top echelon of leadoff guys. He was nursing his wrist. We'll see how he comes along this spring on the wrist. He's got good power. He's a run producer. He's also awfully good at taking a lot of pitches and getting on base, too. It might be I hit him low in the lineup because his wrist is not fully healed, but that's something we'll look at this spring."