Washington Nationals Editorial: Would Will Venable Fit With The Nats?
By Ricky Keeler
With a little over three weeks to go until the July 31 trade deadline, teams will be trying to figure out whether they are buyers or sellers. The Washington Nationals, the NL East leaders at the moment, will be looking to add pieces that can help them get to their goal of winning a World Series Championship.
One of their main needs is to find another experienced veteran outfielder who can help them on the bench. One team that can help with that hole is a squad that has underachieved this season after high preseason expectations.
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The San Diego Padres (39-48) have lost five straight games and are nine games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Wednesday morning, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network wrote a column about how Padres’ general manager A.J. Preller in order to get some more prospects back in return after losing the likes of Trea Turner and Joe Ross to the Nationals this winter.
One big name that was thrown out there in this column was Justin Upton (.259, 14 HR, 47 RBI’s). Morosi pointed out the Nationals as a team in need of a corner outfielder and that Nats President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo was the one who drafted Upton with the top pick in the 2005 MLB Draft with the Diamondbacks. However, Upton’s price tag might be a little too expensive than the Nats might want to give up. But, there is one player that could help them that would probably cost less.
Will Venable is a 32-year-old left-handed outfielder who can play every position in the outfield. This season, he is hitting .256 with six home runs, 32 RBI’s, and has a .320 on-base percentage in 72 games. While Venable’s WAR is only 0.6 this season, he is a player that had a 3.2 WAR with the Pads in 2013. Even in a down year for San Diego’s offense, Venable’s 1.1 Offensive WAR is fourth on the team.
Usually, PETCO Park is not a ballpark where a player puts up great numbers. So, could Venable’s offensive numbers look better at Nats Park? If you look at his career splits,he is a .267 hitter away from PETCO (.235 at home).
The Nats could go big at the trade deadline, but they also have to account for the injured veterans that might come back soon. Even when Jayson Werth comes back to the lineup, Venable can help a bench that has seen their pinch-hitters hit a combined .168 this season.
While you can never count out Rizzo making a creative move, adding a versatile veteran outfielder like Venable will save some high end prospects and allows some roster flexibility when some of the injured players come back would not be a flashy move, but it could help the Nats get closer to their ultimate goal.