Washington Nationals: Mets Recent Moves Are Bad For The Nats

The New York Mets have signed some shiny new toys and in doing some kept the Nationals from improving their roster.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has made it clear he is willing to spend in order to win now and so far he has lived up to his word. Last night, the New York Mets reached an agreement with veteran infielder Eduardo Escobar on a two-year deal. But that was just the beginning. New York continued to bolster their outfield, reaching an agreement with Mark Canha (deal is pending a physical) and Starling Marte.

Escobar spent last year with Arizona and Milwaukee hitting .253, with 28 homers, 90 RBIs, and an OPS of .786. Defensively, he primarily plays second and third, but has spent time in the outfield before. Last year at second, he posted -1 DRS and a 2.0 UZR, while posting -3 DRS and a 1.7 UZR at third.

Canha has spent his entire seven-year career with Oakland, hitting .244, with 89 homers, 294 RBIs, and an OPS of .776. After battling injuries during the first few years of his career, he became a pivotal piece for the A’s. He started his career as a first baseman but has transitioned to the outfield where he can play all three spots. In his career, he has seven outfield assists, -25 DRS, and a -5.6 UZR.

Marte was the top centerfield free agent and is fresh off of a career year between the Marlins and A’s. Between the two, he hit .310, with 12 homers, 55 RBIs, and an OPS of .841.

Escobar, Canha, and Marte are huge improvements to a Mets offense finished 2021 8th in wRC+ (96), 10th in the NL in batting average (.239), OBP (.315), 12th in SLG (.391), homers (176), and OPS (.705), and 13th in RBIs (604).

Having holes in both left and third, Washington could have benefited from signing Escobar and Canha. Neither commanded a huge contract, signing for a combined $46.5 million. Escobar and Canha aren’t splashy players, but are consistent hitters and provided upgrades to any lineup.

Marte on the other hand was never going to sign with the Nats. At the moment, Washington has both Lane Thomas and Victor Robles in center on rookie contracts. With so many holes, it was unlikely the team would have splurged for a centerfielder. Instead, losing out on Escobar and Canha is a major setback. Face of the franchise Juan Soto has made it clear in order to sign an extension, he wants to know if the Nats are committed to winning.

Signing both Escobar and Canha would have gone a long way to proving just that. Unfortunately, the Nats are running out of cost affordable players that will improve their roster. Now, they have to watch as the Mets made impressive moves to compete in a competitive division.