Washington Nationals: Predicting the 2018 bench

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22: Wilmer Difo
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22: Wilmer Difo /
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washington nationals
washington nationals /

The Washington Nationals bench flourished in 2017, but several key members are currently free agents. Who will be on the Nats’ bench in 2018?

The bench is an integral aspect of any major league roster, but that is especially true of the Washington Nationals. For whatever reason, the Nats consistently rank near the top of the league in trips to the disabled list. Nearly every Nat seems to be exceptionally injury-prone, which makes having a competent bench critical.

In 2017, the Nats had one of the best benches in the league, led by veteran slugger Adam Lind. Unfortunately, he is now a free agent and is unlikely to return, so the Nats are in the market for a new back-up first baseman and left-handed bench bat.

Howie Kendrick also did a great job off of the bench after being acquired by the Nats at the trade deadline, but he is now a free agent as well. If he departs, the Nats will need to acquire a new utility-type player.

The final key member of the bench to depart after 2017 is back-up catcher Jose Lobaton. The 33-year-old spent the last four seasons with the Nats, but recently signed a minor-league deal with the rival New York Mets. The Nats have a couple catchers in the minors who could step up, but they will likely attempt to acquire a back-up this off-season.

Fortunately, a few members of the Nats’ 2017 bench remain with the team. Utility infielder Wilmer Difo is still donning the Curly W (in addition to some new dreadlocks), and will return in 2018.

Michael Taylor, who was technically a bench player in 2017, will also return in 2018, barring a trade. However, he is likely to be the Nats’ starting center fielder, so he will not be returning to the bench.

Finally, outfielder Brian Goodwin will be returning in 2018. He broke out in 2017, and appears ready to spend the entire 2018 season with the Nats.

Now that we have reviewed who the Nats’ bench consisted of in 2017, let’s take a look at who could come off of the bench in 2018.