Washington Nationals: Missing Stanton, Ohtani is fine

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 02: Giancarlo Stanton
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 02: Giancarlo Stanton /

The Washington Nationals will not grab either superstar at the start of the hot stove league. Considering how good the Nats are, that is just fine.

On the surface, the Washington Nationals off-season is quiet.

They are not contenders for either Giancarlo Stanton or Shohei Ohtani, the two biggest names on the market. Although it seems the Nats are behind the curve to the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington operates at a slow and steady pace.

Once the free agent market moves, the Nats have business to do. None of the 12 free agents they have from last season have signed elsewhere. Ryan Raburn took a minor-league deal to stay in Washington. Obviously, not everyone will come back, but they will hang on to a few.

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Although on the player front things remain quiet, remember, the Nats overhauled their coaching staff. The front office feels that was the biggest fix Washington needed heading into 2018. The rest of the puzzle pieces will get filled soon enough.

If we are honest, the chances of landing Stanton or Ohtani were long from the start.

With a full no-trade clause, Stanton was never interested in staying on the east coast or in the division. His sights are set on California and maybe St. Louis. It is a mild surprise he is not pushing for an American League team to grow into a designated hitter later, but his relationship with Miami has soured to the point it is curdled. Both sides are done.

Ohtani’s targets are interesting. As with other Japanese players, his interest in west coast markets is not a surprise. Neither is Texas. He wants a smaller market team where he can be the headline from day one, which makes the Cubs a curious finalist.

When you snub the New York Yankees as Ohtani did, there is no way he wants to play on the harsh east coast. Yes, his desire to be a two-way player is intriguing. But, you can see where the conservative Nats would struggle to allow him to do both. The risk of injury is too high.

With Stanton, the negotiations would be tough.

When you consider how long it has taken to get frameworks done with the teams he will okay a trade, imagine the back-and-forth between two division rivals. Miami’s demand to restock their farm system mixed with Washington’s need to have the Marlins eat his contract is a bad tug of war.

Stanton deserves appreciation. Can you think of another current MVP wanting out of town so bad?

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Although Ohtani fills a need in the starting rotation, Washington will continue to make stealthy moves. Expect a few during the winter meetings.