Rumors: Washington Nationals Looking To Add An Outfielder

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With the second base spot now filled by Daniel Murphy, the Nationals have now shifted their focus to the outfield.

The Washington Nationals added Daniel Murphy to fill their need at second base. Now, it appears they have shifted their focus to adding another outfielder. According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network, the Nats are trying to add another outfielder, but one who can primarily play in center field:

If the season were to begin today, the Nats would be starting Michael Taylor in center field. In his first full season in the major leagues, Taylor hit .229/.282/.358 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI’’s in 138 games. With Denard Span going in and out of the lineup because of injuries, Taylor filled in primarily at center field, but also played some left field when Jayson Werth went down.

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Right now, there are plenty of outfielders on the free agent market such as Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Gerardo Parra, and Dexter Fowler. Plus, Span is a free agent and the Nats could always bring him back on a one or two-year deal if he checks out medically. There are also some possible trade options such as Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees and Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies.

Some of those outfielders I have mentioned don’t have center field experience, such as Gordon and Upton. If the Nats do look to the free agent market to sign a center fielder, the qualifying offer isn’t as much of a hindrance to them now because they would be giving up their second round pick in this year’s draft after giving up their first round pick for Murphy. Plus, they are likely to have two compensatory picks at the end of the first round if they lose Ian Desmond in addition to Jordan Zimmermann (now with the Tigers).

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One name we have profiled here on the site as a possible addition is Fowler. Last season with the Chicago Cubs, Fowler was a good fit in the leadoff spot. While his defense leaves a lot to be desired at times, he did draw 82 walks (most of any leadoff hitter in the National League) and the Nats could use a bat in the top spot if Span is not back and with Trea Turner likely starting the year at triple-A Syracuse.

The other intriguing name on the free agent list is Cespedes. Cespedes is primarily a left fielder, but he did play some center field last season when he was with the Mets for the second half of the year (40 games). He will be 27 when the 2016 season began and he would add yet another power bat to the lineup. Plus, the Nats would be adding the two main pieces in the Mets offense that were key pieces in winning the National League pennant this season.

Next: Nats News: Zimmerman Denies PED Report

Even with the Murphy signing, this rumor shows the Nationals are not quite done in adding another piece to their outfield. If it does happen, Taylor would be the fourth outfielder, which wouldn’t be a bad thing because it would give Dusty Baker some speed off the bench and he could Taylor in left field when Jayson Werth needs a day off.

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