As I mentioned in one of our latest posts, the Nationals have actually done a decent job this offseason, especially considering the circumstances surrounding the sale of the franchise. Although I supposed the bar is pretty low as well after the stagnant, next to nothing offseason we’ve gotten from the team recently, but progress is progress. And keeping up with that progress, there are still interesting Free Agents available that the Nationals should take a look at for the 2023 season.
All of these players would likely take one year contracts in order to establish, or re-establish, their value in hopes of a longer or more lucrative deal next offseason. Due to this, they each could be valuable trade commodities at this year’s deadline should they have a successful first half campaign in 2023. Plus, with more teams making the playoffs, there are more teams competing and subsequently less teams selling. The Nationals have an opportunity to capitalize on the seller’s market as this will likely be a building year for them as opposed to a competing year. And there are few better ways to build than to flip expiring contracts for controllable assets.
OF – Michael Conforto
Conforto has come up several times in our posts already, I know, but the fit makes too much sense. The Nationals could really use a Left-handed power bat and they currently need an Outfielder as Joey Meneses projects to be the full-time first baseman in 2023.
Conforto was coming off a right shoulder injury in 2022 that required surgery and effectively took the year off to recover. He is still just 29 years old and will be looking for a short deal in hopes he can parlay a fully healthy and strong season into a longer deal next offseason.
And yes, Conforto is a Boras client. Feel however you want about that, but Scott Boras and the Nationals have done plenty of business over the years. They could get a deal done.
OF – David Peralta
David Peralta could be viewed as a less expensive Michael Conforto in some ways, which might make him a better fit for the Nationals’ budget. The 35 year old might not have some of the eye-popping talent Conforto has, but Peralta has had a solid career of playing above-average baseball, which is something the Nationals could use.
Peralta spent his entire 9 year career in Arizona before a midseason trade to Tampa last summer. The lefty struggled with his new club, but he like many others will be looking to re-establish his value. Aside from one outlier 30 home run season back in 2018, Peralta isn’t known much for his power, but he is a career .281 hitter and has a career .339 OBP while playing solid defense. He could solve a lot of the Nationals’ defensive woes in the corner outfield spots, though he may be best suited for Left Field at this stage of his career.
LHP – Zack Britton
The lefty trifecta, although this one of the throwing variety. Zack Britton is the epitome of a one year, high risk, high upside type deal the Nationals should be targeting. The Nationals seemingly need a lefty reliever every season and there might not be a better name available to fill that need than the former Yankee. Britton missed all of 2022 due to Tommy John Surgery, but has been one of the best relievers in baseball for several years in his career.
Even better? It is reported that Zack Britton is specifically looking for a one year deal. The Nationals can offer that, let Britton earned a few saves early in the season, and then trade him to a contender at the deadline. Let’s make it happen!