Well, the World Series is finally over (someone other than the Nationals won) so we can finally get down to rumors, rumors and lots of rumors. Or in other words, the time of year when we all refresh the page at MLBTradeRumors.com roughly eleventy katrillion times a week, hoping to see that the Nationals have just pulled off the unthinkable and traded for Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw in exchange for Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore respectively.
Now that the Nationals have found a manager who actually believes in using shifts, the Nats can turn their attention to major Free Agent acquisitions like…well…um….yeah.
What? You’re not excited about who the Nats will sign to bolster their bench? “Professional Hitter” Chad Tracy isn’t likely to be back and the Nationals biggest need is bolstering the bench. The best case scenario is a right handed hitter who can platoon with Adam LaRoche or even take over if his 2013 season wasn’t an aberration. The popular choice amongst the blogsphere and Nats beat writers appears to be Jeff Baker. Baker kills lefties, to the tune of a .375 wOBA lifetime vs. lefties. However, the Nats could decide that Tyler Moore showed enough in his second call-up last year to thrive in that role. Either way a bit more health from the starting 9 should boost the bench by itself and make them less of a factor.
The Nats may also look to add a 5th starter because you can never have too much starting pitching and given Ross Detwiler‘s back and Tanner Roark‘s lack of prospect pedigree both are anything but a sure thing. Tim Dierkes at MLBTR, is even predicting that the Nationals will sign Matt Garza. It’s well known that Mike Rizzo has long coveted Garza, but there are other options available. A.J. Burnett failed to receive a qualifying offer from the Pirates so he won’t be saddled with draft pick compensation or the Nats could target a high-risk high upside guy like Josh Johnson. Whatever direction they go, having the richest owners in baseball could help, although they probably didn’t get to be rich by spending their money foolishly.
Then again, last year the Lerners somehow felt the need to spend $18M on Rafael Soriano, who was apparently at the bottom of a clearance bin at Tiffany’s. Now that I think about it, this probably means that the Nationals will sign Robinson Cano AND Jacoby Ellsbury in the offseason because what’s a billionaire to do with his millions if not WIN NOW. So while the offseason doesn’t look too exciting for the Nats, this is an organization that has made a major acquisition in each of the last 3 offseasons and if nothing else that fact should let us all dream a little about what Rizzo and the Lerner’s may have up their sleeve, but even if they do nothing, a year of seasoning and a little more health in 2014 should make this a 90 win team without any changes.