Washington Nationals Free Agent Profile: Chris Davis


With the Nats needing a left-handed bat, could they look to Chris Davis to bring more power to the offense?

Even though the Washington Nationals lost out on Jason Heyward, it is clear by their pursuit of Heyward and their interest in trading for Carlos Gonzalez that Washington is looking for another impact left-handed bat. One name that I think they should keep an eye on is Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis, who is currently a free agent.

On Wednesday, it was reported by Buster Olney of ESPN that Baltimore’s offer to keep Davis was up to seven years, $150 million. However, Olney also reported one day later that once his agent, Scott Boras, did not accept the deal, the offer has been taken off the table for now:

As of now, its tough to blame the Orioles for that because there hasn’t been many reported suitors for Davis’ services and they don’t want to bid against themselves. However, could the O’s beltway rivals, the Nats, eventually get involved in the race for Davis?

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This past season, Davis had a slash line of .262/.361/.562 with a league-leading 47 home runs and 117 RBI’s in 160 games. When you talk about his game, the first thing that pops to mind is the home runs. Since 2012, Davis has hit 159 home runs over the course of four seasons and has had two 40+ home run years. Plus, he improved his batting average from the dismal .196 he hit in 2014.

Other than Bryce Harper’s 42 home runs, the Nats did not have much power from the left side of the plate in 2015. Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson finished tied for second on the team with ten home runs from the left side.

Davis is one of the top home run hitters in the game, but he also has a tendency to rack up the strikeouts. This past season, Davis struck out 208 times (a career-high). He has at least 169 strikeouts in each of the last four years.

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While Davis’ natural position is first base, the Orioles have used him in right field on occasion. He did play right field in 30 games this year. However, while he didn’t make an error, he had -3 defensive runs saved, which is two runs worst than he when he played in the outfield in 2012. At first, his defensive runs saved dropped from eight runs in 2014 to four in 2015. But, he was tied for second in that category with Mitch Moreland of the Rangers and one run saved behind Mark Teixeira of the Yanees.

Ryan Zimmerman does currently play first base for the Nats, but Zimmerman has an injury history and has played in 101 games or less three of the last five years. Zimmerman would still play first base, but if he did go down to injury, the Nats could always slide Davis to first, move Harper from center field to right, and put Michael Taylor in center.

Next: Nats Fall Short Again, Miss Out On Heyward

While Davis would bring yet another power bat to the Nats’ offense and is a left-handed bat which the organization is looking for, I can’t see them making an offer to him even though they do have a lot of Scott Boras players on the roster.To me, Davis is better off going to a team like St. Louis where he could play first base on an everyday basis for the next 6-7 years. With that being said, this is something I think the Nationals should keep an eye on if no other suitors are out there and the price can drop in their favor. Plus, it is interesting to imagine Davis and Harper in the same lineup and you could have two players that could hit 80 combined home runs.