One thing that all Nationals fans can agree on is that Jayson Werth cannot bat lead-off next year for the Nationals.
Upton is a sought-after free agent who, like Bourn, will get a lot of offers. Sure, Upton has hit lead off in the past but he isn’t exactly a prototypical lead off hitter. But he can play center field and even though he saw a drop in his walks last year, does know how to take one. I’d rather see the money they would spend on Bourn on Upton but Upton isn’t even my first choice.
Pagan was just the lead off man for the World Series champions and also plays center field. It would seem that the Nationals are picking the right year to fill this hole. Pagan is better than a lot of people give him credit for and while he may just stay with the Giants, he will probably make less money than Upton and Bourn which makes him even more desirable.
Cabrera’s value is at an all-time low due to the failed drug test but he still has value and could fit in to the Nationals lineup. He is more of a corner outfielder which makes his fit in Washington a little less ideal, but even in his down seasons has shown he can get on base. It is a gamble, however. When he’s been bad, he’s not been a lead off caliber hitter. If last season wasn’t all smoke and mirrors, he could be a decent addition at a good price.
For some reason, no one thinks Victorino is a capable major leaguer anymore. However, if you look at what he has done recently, sure it is a drop off from where he was but he is a secondary Pagan. Low-power, high-OBP guy who can play center field. That is what the Nationals need and he will also take less of a commitment and could be in place until Brian Goodwin is ready for prime time.
Venable is not a free agent and is property of the San Diego Padres. However, I think he can be a valuable commodity for the Nationals. Of course, what he’s worth will depend on what the Nationals would have to give up but I think that something would be able to get done. If the Nationals are not willing to get into bidding wars or they can’t get their guy, they will look at trades and this guy should be near the top of their list.
Of course, there are other people who can come up and of course Ian Desmond is still a possibility as well, but he seemed to improve once he was moved out of that spot.