The Washington Nationals have shown over the past few years that they are looking to get younger on the team. That, and that they refuse to pay their best players like Bryce Harper, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon. Nevertheless, the Nationals need to lock up some of their key players of the future. The players like CJ Abrams, Luis Garcia and Keibert Ruiz are those who the Nationals hope will stick around for a long time, but it still might be a bit premature to offer them extensions. There are some role players, however, that might be worth keeping around a while longer.
After the 2023 season, the Washington Nationals have nine players with expiring contracts, with the youngest player of those nine being Jeimer Candelario. I don’t see the need to re-sign any of those players. Keep in mind that this is Sean Doolittle’s last year on contract, and with him being 36, this very well could be his last season with the Nationals, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Moving on to the 2025 expiring the contracts, the class consists of five players, with three of those players being Patrick Corbin, Victor Robles, and new signing Dominic Smith. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are perfectly fine with letting Patrick Corbin enter free agency unless he would accept a team friendly deal, especially at the age of 36.
Victor Robles could be somebody the Nationals look to re-sign. Even with Robles struggling the past few years, his fielding has improved, and the league has noticed as he was nominated for a Gold Glove in 2019. Robles currently has a career batting average of .223 and has been declining every year since 2019 where he batted .255. He’s also hit 31 homers in his career, while driving in 146, and swiping 58 bags. Because his numbers have dipped over the past few years, he won’t be able to demand anywhere close to Aaron Judge money, so the Nationals could look to re-sign him to a “cheap” deal. However, the Nationals could easily go a different direction depending on when Robert Hassell III is ready to be called up, but Robles might sustain value as a 4th Outfielder.
Dominic Smith could be another player that the Nationals could look to re-sign as they don't really have a top First Baseman prospect in their Minor League System. The Nationals just signed the 27-year-old former Mets First Basemen in the beginning of January. Smith struggled to stay on the field in 2022 with an ankle injury, but his best season was in 2020 when he batted .316 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs in just 50 games. Learn more about the signing of Dominic Smith in our article we wrote about him signing with the Nationals.
Finally is the 27-year-old Lane Thomas. Thomas saw his numbers increase in 2022 as the games and plate appearances increased. The right-handed outfielder had 17 homers and 52 RBIs while batting .241. Both the homers and RBIs were a career high for him. Thomas would be 31 by the time he is a free agent, but with his numbers on the rise, he could still be a valuable rotational piece to the Nationals lineup.
If there’s one thing Nationals’ fans can look forward to, it’s the future. While the impending free agents don't necessarily move the needle, with all of the capital the Nationals have acquired for the past two years, the future looks bright.