Seems as if the Tampa Bay Rays are selling off a few pieces. In need of an outfielder, the Nationals should not inquire about Kevin Kiermaier.
With the Tampa Bay Rays shedding some payroll by trading pitcher Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres, some in the industry wonder if Kevin Kiermaier will be the next sent packing. Kiermaier is currently the highest paid Ray on the roster and is owed just over $23M the next two years (with a team option of $13M for 2023).
In need of an outfielder, some in Nationals Nation have mentioned Kiermaier as being a potential fit.
While Kiermaier has played some corner outfield early in his career, he’s a centerfielder now. Yes, Victor Robles has also played some corner outfield early in his career, so there is nothing saying he can’t be moved to either side of Kiermaier should he be brought to town.
Robles plays a tremendous centerfield though. Okay, play Kiermaier in right and Juan Soto in left. No. Acquiring Kiermaier would be a boost for the Nationals offense, the way it is positioned now. However, with a career high of 15 home runs, Kiermaier’s highest OPS season was .788.
If Kiermaier were a fourth outfielder, he would fit, not with the current price tag attached, but he would fit. The Nationals need to figure out if Andrew Stevenson is a major league player or not. They spent a second round pick on him in 2015, and his hot hitting in 2020 (he’s hitting .366 over his last 71 at-bats dating back to 2019) has earned him the opportunity to prove himself further.
What the Nationals need playing beside Robles and Soto is a power bat. Kiermaier may hit 15 home runs, the Nationals need twice that. They have the money to spend on a George Springer, Marcell Ozuna, or a cheaper version like Joc Pederson or Kyle Schwarber. There are plenty of bats on the market still who can provide more power.
Kevin Kiermaier is a good player and if the Rays choose to trade him, he’ll make some team very happy. If traded to the Nationals he would limit what they could do, however.