Luis Garcia is seen by some as the future at second, but Washington might look for an upgrade and send Garcia back to the minors to continue his development. He hit .276, but lacked power and his OPS of .668 is worrisome. While he is sent back to the minors, hand Starlin Castro the reigns at third next season. Before he broke his wrist, he was hitting .267, with two homers, and four RBIs. Last season the Washington Nationals lacked players that we’re able to consistently get on base. Castro excelled at that before going on the IL. This past postseason, teams continued to come up short due to a lack of consistency at the plate. Tampa Bay in particular was relying mainly relying on one guy to carry the load. While Castro doesn’t provide a ton of power, his ability to get on base will come in handy.
If Zimmerman doesn’t retire, expect him back on the team next season. Josh Harrison was already re-signed, filling the National’s main utility player role. Andrew Stevenson will be the fourth outfielder moving forward, while Yan Gomes will be the backup catcher. A prime candidate to fill the role of a power bench bat should be Mitch Moreland. He recently had his option declined by the San Diego Padres. Moreland spent last season with the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres hitting .265, with 10 homers, 29 RBIs, and an OPS of .894. The 2016 Gold Glover isn’t the defender he once was, however, he is still reliable. He had a DRS of one and a UZR of .1. Keep in mind, if a Bell trade doesn’t work out, Moreland could platoon with Zimmerman at first. This would keep both healthy and allow for the team to play matchup.
Here is what the Washington Nationals lineup and bench will look like after the changes.
2021 Projected Starting Lineup:
Victor Robles, CF
Trea Turner, SS
Juan Soto, RF
George Springer/Michael Brantley, LF
Josh Bell, 1B
James McCann, C
Starlin Castro, 2B
Carter Kieboom, 3B
Josh Harrison, IF
Andrew Stevenson, OF
Yan Gomes, C
Mitch Moreland, 1F
Ryan Zimmerman, IF
These changes will give the Nationals the best shot at being able to compete in 2021 while keeping the team just under the luxury tax.