MLB free agency starts today and for the Nationals, they have a plethora of holes they need to fill. Most notably, they need upgrades at short, third, outfield, and pitching. The CBA expires on December 1 and until the two sides come to an agreement, we might be in store for a slow winter.
The Nationals should be proactive and attempt to fix some of their issues before then. Here are five free agents they should take a look at.
We’ve talked about how the Nationals need to sign Loup in the past and for good reason. The 33-year-old is coming off a career year where he went 6-0, with a 0.95 ERA, 57 strikeouts, and a 2.45 FIP in 56 2/3 innings. He is an ideal set-up man and would immensely improve the team’s bullpen.
Chirs Taylor can play multiple positions and would be a much-needed upgrade offensively. Last year he was named an All-Star for the first time and was a key cog in the Dodgers lineup after Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger went down with injuries. Taylor finished the season hitting .254, with 20 homers, 73 RBIs, and a .782 OPS. He is one of the clutches players in the league which was on full display in the Dodgers most recent playoff run. He hit the walk-off homer in the Wild Card game and crushed three homers in Game 5 of the NLCS to force Game 6.
Something to keep an eye on is if the Dodgers give him the qualifying offer. In the middle of a rebuild, it may be unwise to lose their second-highest draft pick to sign a player who’s on the wrong side of 30. But on the other hand, Taylor’s bat and ability to play multiple positions can help speed up the team’s rebuild.
Until the team’s top pitching prospects Cade Cavalli, Jackson Rutledge, and Cole Henry are ready, the Nationals are in need of some rotational depth. Tyler Anderson is a reliable stop gag, posting a 4.53 ERA last season, with 134 strikeouts last year between the Pirates and Mariners. He hammers the strike zone and tends to limit hard contact, but is prone to the longball.
While Daniel Hudson struggled after being traded to the Padres, he was dominant during his time with the Nationals. Known for his 2019 playoff heroics, Hudson was the National’s key bright spot in the bullpen last year. In 76 career games with the Nats, he is 10-3, with a 2.99 ERA, 99 strikeouts, and a 3.82 FIP. Bringing back Hudson would help solidify the late innings.
Juan Soto and Josh Bell can’t carry the offense alone and will need help driving in runs. A reunion with Kyle Schwarber will go a long way to fixing that problem. Before he was traded at the deadline to Boston, Schwarber was the hottest hitter on the planet, crushing 16 homers in 18 games during the month of June.
With Boston, the slugger picked up where he left off hitting .291, with seven homers, 18 RBIs, and an OPS of .957 in 41 games. In the playoffs, Schwarber was one of the team’s most consistent hitters adding three homers and six RBIs in 11 games. It is widely assumed the universal DH will be implemented starting next year and Schwarber would relish in that role.