Nationals: Looking Ahead To The 2021-22 Free Agent Class
By Ben Favela
2022 might see plenty of roster turnover for Washington, with many Nats set to reach free agency.
While the Nationals are currently preparing for the 2021 campaign down in West Palm Beach, the current club has a number of veterans who are in their walk-year, and it’s conceivable that the club can look quite different by the time 2022 comes around.
Ace Max Scherzer is among those who are entering the last year of their contract, but it’s possible that Scherzer, represented by Scott Boras, and the Lerner Family figure out something prior to Opening Day.
In addition to Scherzer, Starlin Castro, Kyle Schwarber, Yan Gomes, Jon Lester, and Brad Hand are among the names who are set to hit the market after 2021, which all figure to play prominent roles this season. The hope is that Luis Garcia, who debuted last season, will likely get a year of minor league seasoning before the staff evaluates whether he could take over the starting role at the keystone in 2022. For Schwarber, much will be expected out of him to get back to his 2019 power numbers, and the club seems set to re-evaluate the outfield situation after the season. The catching situation in Washington has been fluid for a number of years and it’s quite possible that the position will be filled by two newcomers in 2022. Jon Lester also finds himself in the same predicament as his performance will likely dictate whether he continues to pitch after this season. Lester is also on the verge of the 200-win milestone, which should be followed heavily into the Summer. The same goes for Brad Hand, who will be counted on to anchor the bullpen, which should be a strength for the Nats this year.
Of the players most likely to re-sign would be the future Hall-of-Famer Max Scherzer, whose agent, Scott Boras has had discussions with the Lerner’s about what it will take to keep Max in DC. Depending on how much longer Scherzer has the desire to play, a 2-or-3 year deal with an AAV (Average Annual Value) in the 25-35 million range would seem like a reasonable number for the 3-Time CY Young Winner.
With the impending number of free agents the roster currently has, Nats fans alike should enjoy the current team with the hope that a couple of fan-favorites and veterans put up good numbers and move the needle to hopefully extend their tenure in the Nation’s Capital.