With spring training set to begin this month, Mike Rizzo is putting the finishing touches on the Nationals roster. Over the next two weeks before players report to Florida, I would expect Washington to take a few flyers on free agents with minor league deals with invites to major league spring training. For example, RHP Chad Kuhl was just signed by the Nats to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. These types of signings can only help the Nationals, who will take production from anyone who will give it to them. Who are some other bargain free agents that Mike Rizzo could sign before spring training? Here are three that make sense in my opinion.
Gary Sanchez, Catcher
Backup catcher was a bit of a rough spot last season. Catcher Riley Adams did not replicate the success he had in the latter part of the 2021 season and catcher Tres Barrera has since signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. I think catcher/designated hitter Gary Sanchez would be a good fit in Washington. He would not be expected to come in and start, due to Keibert Ruiz, so there would not be a lot of pressure on Sanchez to produce.
Sanchez has never hit for average, and I would not expect him to start doing it at this point in his career. One thing that is consistent is his power and the Nationals could use some of it at the catcher position. In his last three seasons Sanchez has hit 49 home runs. I really don't think this signing would hurt Washington.
Archie Bradley, Relief Pitcher
Following an injury filled 2022 season, 30-year-old relief pitcher Archie Bradley is looking to regain his pre-2020 status. He has experienced a plethora of injuries since then and has been unable to stay healthy. I think enough is there in Bradley to for Mike Rizzo to take a flyer on him. Rizzo has signed a player for doing much less in his history.
The Nationals bullpen has changed face lots of times throughout the years, and I would anticipate that to continue to be the norm. Washington could send Bradley down to AAA Rochester if he were to not make the team out of spring training, with the option to call him up later in the season. I would anticipate that Archie wants somewhere to pitch consistently in 2023, majors or minors.
Chris Archer, Starting Pitcher
Although Washington has prized possessions at starting pitcher in the form of Mackenzie Gore, Cade Cavalli and Josiah Gray, depth cannot hurt. Pitcher Trevor Williams was also signed this offseason, but free agent starting pitcher Chris Archer could provide depth and experience for Washington's pitching staff. Archer struggled to a 5.02 ERA last year, but has a career ERA of 3.93 according to baseballreference.com.
Archer, 34-years of age, is on the tail end of his career and could provide valuable insight for our young starting pitchers. In the current state of the Washington Nationals, prioritizing the development of our young players is most important and Archer would certainly give a veteran presence.