Nationals: DoD writers give thoughts on burning questions for Washington

Michael Brantley #23 of the Houston Astros congratulates George Springer #4 after he hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers inn the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
Michael Brantley #23 of the Houston Astros congratulates George Springer #4 after he hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers inn the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Michael Brantley could be a target for the Washington Nationals in the outfield.
Michael Brantley #23 of the Houston Astros rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning in Game Three of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 13, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

George Springer, Marcell Ozuna, or Michael Brantley

Max Rayman:

George Springer would be the obvious answer, but his price tag will probably be more than what Washington is willing to spend. After his monster postseason performance, he was able to shop the baseball world that he can still perform at a high level without the assistance of trashcans. With the Mets having ample money to spend, who have frequently mentioned in Springer rumors, Washington should set their eyes on his teammate, Michael Brantley.

Brantley is what I like to call a professional hitter. Think Daniel Murphy. Over his 12 year career, Brantley is hitting .297, with 114 homers, 640 RBIs, an OPS of .794, and a wRC+ of 117. After missing the majority of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Brantley has bounced back in a major way over the last two years with Houston. During his tenure with the Astros, Brantley hit .309, with 27 homers, 112 RBIs, an OPS of .867, and a wRC+ of 154.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Houston has started negotiating with the veteran on a contract extension. No surprise there.

Signing Brantley does come with a downside, his injury history. He only appeared in 11 and 90 games in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Since then, Brantley has been able to stay healthy, but he is on the wrong side of 30. Washington cannot afford to have any setbacks from their big bats.

James Simmons:

I agree with Max that George Springer is the obvious answer. And the correct answer. The combination of speed, power, and defensive prowess are what the Nationals need to get back to the playoffs.

Springer can hit in the three-hole ahead of Juan Soto, or could move into the leadoff position pushing Trea Turner down the lineup a little. During his seven years with the Houston Astros, all Springer did was get on base and score runs. He is definitely the table setter the Nationals need.

He will be expensive, but with Max Scherzer and his $34.5M contract coming off the books after next year, the team has a little leeway.

Michael Brantley is a cheaper option and could be had on a two year deal. I love the comparison Max makes to Daniel Murphy. If Brantley were guaranteed to hit .329 with an OPS of .930 like Murphy did in his time with the Nats, he’d be ideal. Unfortunately, Brantley turns 34 next season and played more DH than outfield last year with the Houston Astros.

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