Washington Nationals: Potential starting second base candidates in 2019
The Washington Nationals are slated to have several holes in 2019, including at second base. Will they stay in-house, or bring in a free agent for the job?
The Washington Nationals were always going to be scouring the second base market this winter. However, this month’s trade of pending free agent Daniel Murphy officially sealed the deal.
Replacing Murphy is an impossible task. Among qualified second baseman since the start of 2016, the three-time All-Star is first in OPS, second in average, third in strikeout rate, and fifth in fWAR.
He snatched up Silver Slugger awards in 2016 and 2017, finished second in MVP voting in 2016, and helped propel the Nationals to consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in team history.
Murphy was a poor defender at second, but he more than made up for that flaw with his prolific offensive arsenal and leadership in the clubhouse, all for just $12.5 million per year. The Nats now find themselves in a similar position to the “Moneyball” A’s, who were tasked with filling a Jason Giambi-sized hole at first base following the 2001 season.
They knew they couldn’t afford to buy a new Giambi on the open market even if one existed, so he chose an alternate route. He signed several inexpensive options in the hopes that one would stick, while also saving money to shore up the rest of the roster.
Mike Rizzo doesn’t need to totally cheap out this offseason, but there are a few sneaky names that could still bring premier value. That then allows the Nats to delegate extra money in order to fill some other holes.
Here are 10 players, including internal candidates, pending free agents, and out-of-the-box options, that could start at second base for the Nationals next March when the Mets come to town for the start of the 2019 campaign.