As the Monday trade deadline approaches, who the Washington Nationals move is critical. With them desperately holding prospects, Brain Goodwin becomes key.
The young outfielder has made the most out of his chance to replace the injured Jayson Werth and Michael Taylor, but Goodwin’s future with the team is in doubt. There is no set position for him to be a starter in Washington.
With Adam Eaton likely moving to left field next year, Taylor earning the job in center and Bryce Harper written in ink in right, Goodwin has no open position to shoot for. Behind him in the system sit Victor Robles and Juan Soto. Essentially, Goodwin is blocked.
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For the Nats that is not a bad problem to have. Goodwin has shown this year he can play every day. He features good defense, a sunny smile and power at the plate. At first, his slash line of .246/.315/497 is not impressive. But, he has 10 home runs and 16 doubles giving him a .812 OPS. When adjusted it is a league-average 105. Some team will want that production.
Not arbitration eligible until 2020 and under team control until after the 2023 season, Goodwin is the rare trading chip already in the majors that could land another reliever or a starting pitcher. As the Nats place themselves in the situation to win now, he preserves the highly touted future.
On a bottom-feeder holding a fire sale, he is an everyday starter. With luck, maybe he can turn into a player wanted by a championship contender. Goodwin has the makings of a 20-home run, 40-double hitter with outfield range and smarts. If he stays with Washington, it is a bonus.
Goodwin’s name has not been featured in the endless rumors over Justin Wilson, Sonny Gray and Brad Hand. Robles and Soto are the players teams ask about and rebuffed. The chances of Goodwin leaving are slim. They are, however, plausible.
A smart team would check to see if he is available. With Werth and Taylor coming back soon after injuries, Goodwin’s playing time will drop upon their return. Another trip to Syracuse is not what he needs. His power is major-league ready.
You hate to see young players in the majors go. Unlike those mythical prospects, even casual fans can put a face or a moment with a name. Blake Treinen’s departure came as a surprise, but he needed the fresh start.
If Goodwin starts August in a Nats uniform that is a good thing. Just be ready in case he is not.