Washington Nationals: Christian Yelich tasty trade target

rjuckett
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Christian Yelich
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Christian Yelich /
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If the Washington Nationals choose to get serious over Christian Yelich, they should. The outfielder holds great value and fits the Nats style of play.

The Washington Nationals are smart to check in on Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

As the Marlins continue to conduct the mother of all fire sales, Yelich has made clear he wants no part of the umpteenth rebuilding project. Under team control for five years on a contract beyond friendly, there will be suitors aplenty trying to scorch Miami.

For the Marlins, the transition from Jeffrey Loria’s ownership to Derek Jeter has gone as smooth as your face after not shaving a full week. With Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna out the door on questionable deals, Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto cannot be far behind.

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Washington’s outfield heading into 2018 is great on paper. Adam Eaton returns from his ACL to play left. Michael Taylor’s stellar 2017 earned him center and Bryce Harper owns right field.

As we all know, Harper’s mortgage in right expires the last day of business of the new year. General manager Mike Rizzo, until a decision is made either way, will keep an eye on 2019 and beyond as this season plays out.

If Washington can future-proof their outfield with Yelich, they should jump at the chance. He is a superstar stuck in a terrible situation.

In his five years patrolling the large outfields of South Florida, Yelich has a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger on his resume. Until last year, he was an above-average left fielder. Shifted to center in 2017, he did not fare as well.

You could say Yelich and Eaton are similar players. They thrive playing corner outfield slots with good bats and speed. Yelich will swipe over 15 bags a year and topped 35 doubles each of the last two years. His power numbers are increasing as his 21 2017 homers were his career-high.

A consistent hitter, Yelich carries a career slash line of .290/.369/.432. When you sport an .800 OPS, you are doing something right.

If Miami asks for Victor Robles or Juan Soto in talks, then Yelich can play elsewhere. Robles projects to be a star and Soto is not far behind. An Andrew Stevenson or Pedro Severino is different. Watch the name Brian Goodwin.

The good think with Yelich in DC is that his contract is not a deal-breaker for keeping Harper. Yelich’s deal does not hit $10 million until 2020. If the Nats exercise his 2022 option, it sets them back $15 million. That is chump change.

Next: 10 best player seasons in Nats history

There is zero incentive for Miami to trade within the division. However, Washington has the players to make a deal happen. Something to follow as the calendar changes.

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