Sign A Big Bat
Josh Bell is an excellent addition but it isn’t enough to fully fix the offense. But the Bell addition allows for Washington to splurge on a bat due to the first baseman having team-friendly arbitration projections. With a hole in leftfield Mike Rizzo needs to sign Michael Brantley or Marcell Ozuna. Either would place Washington’s offense back into contention.
Brantley is 34 and only has a few good years left due to his injury history. He has been one of the most consistent hitters over the last few seasons, while also playing steady defense in left. The veteran spent the last two years with the Astros, hitting .309, with 27 homers, 112 RBIs, and an OPS of .867. Defensively, he has 61 career outfield assist, 43 DRS in left, and a 6.4 UZR in left. The only issue with Brantley is his injury history, appearing in 11 and 90 games in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
If Washington doesn’t want to take a risk on Brantley being able to stay healthy, Marcell Ozuna the answer. Ozuna is coming off of a career year and would be excellent protection for Juan Soto in the lineup. However, he is a liability defensively and the NL might not have the DH again in 2021. After adding Bell who is also awful defensively, it would be dangerous to add another liability in the field. But his bat might be worth it. Last year with Atlanta he hit .348, with an NL high 18 homers, 56 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.067. After battling a shoulder injury in St. Louis, Ozuna proved he was fully healthy in Atlanta. He has a career 117 wRC+, but last year he posted a wRC+ of 179.
Ozuna is younger, but without the DH in the NL would be a double-edged sword due to his defense. Brantley is the more complete player, but father time runs supreme. Money will be an important factor but if Washington wants to win now, they will need to splurge on a big bat.