Nationals Baseball: Offseason Position Discussion : First Base

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Offseason Position Discussion : First Base

Last year discussion revisited

I was convinced Zimm was done. After three straight injury filled seasons and consistently degrading performance I wanted the Nats to move on. I didn't think they would. I didn't know what they should do exactly, but I felt sure it was time to bring in someone else to play that position. Adding to this feeling was the belief that Clint Robinson, ok in 2015, wasn't going to cut it as a fill-in player anymore after a bad 2016 outing.

The Nats would bring in Adam Lind, who could have served as a very effective platoon player for Zimm but Zimm would get first crack at keeping the job full-time and he responded by being player of the month for April hitting .420 / .458 / .886.  I mean that's like his best month ever. He would peak a few days later at .435 / .475 / .907.   The rest of the year played out more as expected for "best case" Zimm with more reasonable ups and downs but a line of .269 / .328 / .486. It was a bit scary there as July and August were both not good suggesting April being some sort of last gasp but September picked back up. In short, I was wrong and a healthy Zimmerman was still a capable hitter.

Meanwhile Lind was not free-falling (a worry given his 2016 performance) and smartly used would hit .303 / .362 / .513. He would spell Zimm now and again but given Zimm's production and the injury situation for the Nats he'd be used almost as much in the outfield. That's a scenario no one would have predicted or wanted to start the year.  He also was a killer pinch hitter with 16 hits and 4 homeruns in 45 at bats.

My OOB idea was interesting. I had the Nats trading for Eaton (and Quintana or Sale) and shifting Bryce to first. Would have been neat. Of course Zimm hit so any OOB idea that didn't involve him playing was ultimately dumb in practice.  

Presumed Plan : Zimmerman will play first base and I don't know. Lind is an expensive back-up at 5 million, and even if the Nats agree to bring him back he would need to buy into it as well (it's a mutual option).  I'd expect he's gone just because we have two keys that have to be turned at the same time here. I'd expect the Nats to find a cheap back-up on the FA market as the off-season nears its end

Reasoning on Presumed Plan : Zimmerman has a big contract and he hit last year. Is he fielding better now? Nope. Still garbage. But that's something you can suck up from a first baseman who's hitting. The Nats have two more years left with Zimm (there's an 18M team option for 2020 but don't expect Nats to take it - I'd think they'd likely rework the deal if they do want to keep him at that point) and they are going to try to get their moneys worth. So he's starting. And he should so this is easy.

Lind should be back. There is always a place for a guy who can mash right handed pitching. He fits well as someone that can spell Zimm and play some emergency OF. He was great as a pinch hitter. And he serves as a strong back-up for Zimm who missed like 40% of 2014-2016. But as noted he's expensive. It felt like the Nats were pushing it paying 3.5 million for Drew. Paying 5 million for Lind? It's tough to see that.  On the flip side, given how well he hit last year it's not crazy to think Lind could get a DH contract from an AL team (or a 1B contract though DH is more natural) for a few years at at least 5 million per. Sticking around with the Nats would only be tempting fate.  Still for a guy that has never made the playoffs before and is turning 34 - sticking with the Nats may be tempting.

I'm not ruling out Lind coming back, I just think it's more likely not. Given that the Nats like to wait and see what they can get on the cheap (that's how they got Lind) I can see them waiting around and picking up a guy that could be starting elsewhere who had an off 2016 and is still waiting around. Lucas Duda and Mitch Moreland are two possibilities.

Problems with Presumed Plan : The issue is going to be that Zimm could get hurt and when he's hurt he can't hit and when he can't hit he's useless because he can't field. If Zimm gets hurt then the back-up matters a lot.

If Lind is back, you do have to accept that he didn't hit that well in 2016 and he's 34 next year so he could easily decline again. Also he can't field either, arguably worse that Zimm. 

If Lind isn't back you are taking a bigger risk. Guys like Duda and Moreland should be capable back-ups but much like Lind last year you are betting against recent history rather than with it. The chances of them being bad are that much higher. If you don't stop here and instead back up with a... I can't even say it... a Tyler Moore type (Bleeeeeeeech) then you are basically asking for trouble. 

My take : Zimm still has to be considered a strong injury risk and demands a strong back-up. You have one in hand. If you can, make it work.

You can't expect the team to back him up with an actual starting first-baseman because that's a lot of money to spend on a guy who may not play (and frankly may not want to come to DC if he's not playing) So you instead cover him with a guy more on the fringe of starting. The best examples would be a guy who can probably hit, with some caveats, but can't field; or a slick fielder who might have problems with the bat. Lind is the former. I don't see how you are going to set up the position better. It still might fail, but good plans fail sometimes.

Beyond Lind, Moreland is probably the better bet because he's a decent fielder. Of course that makes him more likely to land somewhere else earlier in free agency. What you don't want to have happen though is let Lind walk, miss out on any other acceptable FA and then end up with just anyone and trying to convince us that it's ok, Zimm will be healthy all year.

Out of the box suggestion : It's hard to sell high on Zim but if you are going to do it - now's the time. You may have to eat salary or ship with a prospect but you ship him out and you move Murphy, who will be even less mobile after surgery, over the first base. Assuming Murphy still hits on his return, this is your way of trying to keep him a little longer. You cleared up a space for him, now you just have to go out and sign him again. For second base you bring back Kendrick, who connected with the fans immediately on a two year deal.

Sentimentality is no way to win championships people!


Josh Higham said...

I am hopeful the Nats and Lind mutually decide he should stay.

A strategy that I think fits the Nats' definition of a contingency plan, though, would be to go into the season with Difo and Zim on that side of the infield, with a mediocre backup and Murphy coming in as the May-ish cavalry to play 2nd if Zim hits and 1st if he doesn't. This leaves the Nats very, very exposed if Murphy can't hit like normal after the surgery. I would not be at all surprised, but I would be disappointed, to see this as The Plan (TM).

Anonymous said...

The question marks are adding up for this team next year...a strong one-two in the starting rotation, but question marks after that; catcher (the question mark being at the end of a fan comment: Wieters again, seriously??); 1st base Zim (injury prone); 2nd base Murph (recovering from injury and surgery); center-and-or-left field (Eaton coming back from major surgery); Taylor (gold-glove-ish in the field, getting it at the plate??);

The only non-question marks right now are RF/Bryce, 3B/Rendon and SS/Turner (and the aforementioned Stras and Scherzer)...

at least it'll be interesting, right??

blovy8 said...

Yeah, I think the obvious non-Lind backup plan would be Murphy and having a competent, start-worthy 2B ready to play. Some planning depends on Murphy's rehab, as you might need a fill-in for a while. A lot depends on expectations on Difo, or how little some teams may ask for one of their 2B, like Florida trying to be rid of Dee Gordon. Most assumptions I have are based on the idea that since the Nats will likely be paying tax anyway, why not really blow up the budget for one season? Kendrick at a reasonable rate is almost as good as Lind in that respect. While he won't be the LH bopper, he is pretty good insurance at three or four spots and barring injury is going to hit.

PotomacFan said...

I think Lind is likely to get a two-year offer from an AL team that needs a left-handed DH. The Nats almost surely will not offer two years.

@Harper: no way Zim is traded. It would just be a salary dump, and the Lerner's don't need to do that for 2018. I think Zim is underrated defensively. Sure, he cannot throw the ball. Look what he did to Wilson Ramos. But he still has a pretty good glove, and snares a lot of hard hit one-hoppers to both sides.

KW said...

I would think that the Nats will offer the $5M option to Lind. At first, I didn't think he would take it, as this may be his last opportunity to cash in on a multi-year contract coming off a very good season. However, the 1B/DH/LF market is saturated with boppers, even more so than last offseason when Lind couldn't find a job, so Lind and his agent will have to think carefully before turning down $5M from one of the best teams in baseball. At the same time, maybe the Nats look at the same market and wonder whether they could get someone cheaper than Lind, particularly with looks like not a lot of roster budget flexibility.

Blovy is right that a lot will have to do with Murphy's status. They're going to HAVE to sign someone like Kendrick/Drew/????, as Difo just shouldn't be a regular on a contender (wRC+ of 76 in his "break out" season . . . but Drew's was only 70, so he may be close to done). Kendrick seems ideal because he could start at 2B until Murph comes back and then be available at 1B and LF. Martinez would use him a la Zobrist.

My out-of-the-box suggestion would be to sign Neil Walker to a three-year contract to start at 2B. That gives you two years with him when Murph is done (as the bridge to Carter Kieboom). Whenever Murph comes back, maybe it's to 2B, or maybe it's to spelling Zim and Rendon, or replacing Zim if Zim reverts. I know this scenario isn't going to happen because A) they don't have that kind of budget flexibility, and B) they'd risk offending Murphy (all the more by having Walker replace him with two teams!). But it's a thought.

DezoPenguin said...

I thought Zim was cooked, too, so it was great to see him rebound (and unlike Weiters, continue to be good even after his dropoff from his insanely good April). That Lind rebounded as well to be his usual self also was great (the curse of Seattle first basemen apparently having bit him in 2016). While I think Lind would be better off in the AL as a 1B/DH, he's got a track record of success, he can play the outfield if he absolutely has to ( or anything, but hey, Jayson Werth was the intended starter out there), and he was arguably the best pinch-hitter in the entire league last year. If he'll take the $5M, I say bring him back. There are no bad one-year contracts, and there are especially no bad one-year contracts if you're trying to assemble the best possible team for a Series run. Just make sure that you have an option (say, Difo at 2B, Murphy to 1B) for hitting LHP. (This also gives a valid option if Zim slumps but continues to hit LHP acceptably, just go to a straight platoon instead of outright benching Zim--and it's a lot less damaging to chemistry to be benched for a good veteran player instead of, say, Robinson.)

Mythra said...

Nats should offer Lind the option because there are very few givens in baseball, and with Lind we know we have a Plan B for 1B, and at worst the best PH in the league. If he turns it down, then look for other backup !B/OF guys who can PH off the bench. Nats should be taking as many givens as they can.
Same deal with Howie. Sign him to start at 2nd while Murphy is out, but also to platoon in OF and PH. He's a solid, consistent .300 hitter. We need those guys to set the table or get that hit out of the 6, 7 or 8 hole. Part of MAT's success this year was getting that hit in the 8 hole.
Getting Eaton back with Howie re-signed would be a very good defensive OF for all 9 innings. No late inning replacement for the bearded statue in left. Pitching staff and BP will love it.

I feel like you have to roll the dice with Zimm. Plus, if you trade him, you will lose a lot of clubhouse goodwill that the Stras signing showed is a real, tangible thing. Players want to play for this team and clubhouse. If we could just convince the Lerners that the deferred/lowball works in construction but not building teams (Zobrist, Jansen, and too many to count) . But that's a whole other column idea for some off-season wasteland of no news.

KW said...

Since it is Halloween, I guess I should mention the Curse of Chad Tracy: any pinch hitter the Nats sign for a second season immediately loses his ability to make contact with a baseball. Heisey and Drew are the latest of numerous victims. The only way to break it is probably to drive a stake through Matt Stairs's heart.

ssln said...

The problem with the analysis is that it is always based on the past. You dumped on Zim and everyone followed your lead. Then Zim has a great year. He is a better fielder than you think but who am I to question your opinion? You are entitled to your opinion. Some guys will out perform. Some will under perform. It is the nature of the beast.
Injuries will happen and they might even change the season. Or maybe they won't. It is why they play the games.
Rizzo will fix what he can see today and hopefully will have enough on the farm to take care of the injuries. That is what a good GM does. I'm in favor of paying Lind and Kendrick but we will see what Rizzo thinks.
Unlike what many of you think, I am expecting Rizzo to sign an extension before the season starts.
MASN case impacts the resigning of Bryce.

BxJaycobb said...

Zim’s rebound was huge. The thing is, he’s the worst defensive first baseman in MLB by defensive metrics. Combined with Murphy at 2B that’s the worst right side of an infield defensively in baseball. Shifting helps cover that up, but man. It’s a real problem, which is why Harper’s OOB idea is worth considering. Or signing a defense first 1B.

Karl Kolchak said...

You can't "sell high" on Zim because he has very strong roots in the area (wife is from DC, now has two small children, is a fixture in the Great Falls community), has pretty emphatically stated he will never agree to play elsewhere and has an ironclad no trade clause.

Nattydread said...

I'm not sure that you can simply say Zimmerman is the worst fielder at 1B in the MLB. Its not a one dimensional discussion. True, he does not have range. He can't throw because his arm is gone. However, he does seem to be better than average in bringing in bad throws and he does seem to retain his very quick 3B reflexes. He has made Rendon much at better third base. Is this valid?

Josh Higham said...

Yeah, we really ought to pump the breaks on "worst defensive first baseman." Bad, yes. His range is limited, which is a serious problem given that Murphy's range at second is very bad too. He can't throw, which costs probably only a couple of outs per month, but 10-15 outs is not trivial. But he is really, really good at digging low throws, and even the people who calculate defensive metrics admit that they're limited. Useful enough to say Zim is a bad first baseman? Yes. Precise enough to say with any confidence he's the worst? Doubtful.

And besides, by UZR/150 Gurriel, Myers, and Danny Valencia were worse this year. By DRS, Yonder Alonso, Tommy Joseph, and Miguel Cabrera were worse. Pick any advanced metric you want and you'll find somebody worse than Zim. The fact is, Zim is bad. He's toward the bottom of pretty much every stat and you can make the argument that being consistently in the bottom 5 makes him the worst and that's fair, but it's an opinion, not a fact.

Anonymous said...

Take an honest look at the Dodgers and Astros. Then take an honest look at the Nats, either 2017 or even 2018 with modest upgrades. Maybe I'm jaded, but both of them are top to bottom better teams, significantly so, as are Indians, Yankees, and, less so, Cubs. I guess that puts only two better teams between us and the Series, but it sure feels like we are going to be stuck ata good but not great team in a bad division with a relatively low ceiling. NLCS appearance feels like our best case scenario with this core.

If thats right, then I'll take having a competitive team to cheer for over six regular season months for several more years, rather than blowing up system and future budgets for nice pieces that still don't put us over hump.

KW said...

Anon 7 a.m. -- In the WS, there have been some big clutch hits, but there's also been a heck of a lot of under performance by stars. Basically, Joc Pederson (who hit .212 in the regular season) is doing his MAT impression and carrying the team while Turner is hitting .130, Bellinger and Puig .167, and Seager .217. Kershaw has a 5.40 ERA and Jansen has given up three runs. Roberts has terribly overtaxed his bullpen, in large part because they've got no starting pitchers they trust beyond their #1. The Dodgers are not a juggernaut. The Nats let them off the hook last year, just like they let the Cubs off the hook this year. The Astros have similar issues. Altuve is hitting .214. They don't trust their "closer" to go anywhere near the mound. And yet one of these teams is going to be the champ.

The Nats have plenty of talent to compete in the postseason. They had three of the best-pitched games by starting pitchers from any team in the postseason. They just didn't hit enough to win but one of those games.

Is it possible that we're deluding ourselves by thinking that they're close to championship caliber? Yes. But I don't think so. They're returning four hitters who posted OPS over .900 and adding a guy in Eaton who had 6 WAR in his last full season. They've got two of the top five starters in baseball, and their bullpen looks pretty well sorted out. They've got a top-five prospect who will likely be called up for good at some point in the season. Could they still benefit by adding extra pieces? Of course. Could they be risking a lot with an inexperienced manager? Yep. But are they that far off from where the Dodgers and Astros are? No way.

(Also, for what very little it is worth, the Nats won the season series against both those teams.)

KW said...

Zim and fielding stats -- meh. How many 1Bs actually have "range"? As far as fielding tough grounders, Zim is certainly above average with his 3B fielding stills still intact. He's also very good catching bad throws, as has been noted. He can't throw at all, which is why he's at 1B.

Also, Karl is absolutely, positively right that Zim isn't going anywhere, just like Werth wasn't going anywhere. No trade is no trade. Plus Zim's contract is actually pretty "team friendly" if he continues to hit like he did in 2017.

I do expect some regression. But I also don't expect Martinez to try to bat Zim clean-up.

Froggy said...

@ssln, I agree there is often a lot of group think piling on when Harper makes his assessments on this blog. But, it is his blog so I guess he is entitled to his say, even when he is wrong. I saw a different Zim in spring training than Harper did and that's why I predicted a comeback player of the year for him. Harper continually says Zim is a "terrible" fielding 1b, sure he can't throw, but he definitely isn't a terrible fielder. He made some pretty ridiculous digs on terrible throws to the bag that others wouldn't have made IMO.

PotomacFan said...

Zim is pretty darn good at digging out bad throws. I don't think the defensive stats take this into account. That ability gives his infielders confidence.

If you want a simple point of comparison, just watch Adam Lind. Now there is a terrible fielder. No range, can't throw, can't dig out throws. Pretty much a stiff. But, what a terrific hitter.

Josh Higham said...

It would be great if we could see a Zim effect on the defensive metrics of the Nats infield. Like, Rendon's DRS with Zim at first compared to someone else. Because Zim's DRS, as far as I know, only considers balls hit to him, which he's below average at fielding. But if Rendon saves more runs with Zim than with Robinson/Lind/et al. at first over a long period of time, that value ought to be attributed to Zim rather than to Rendon.

Jay said...

JD Martinez just switched to Scott Boras. I predict he signs with the Nats.

BxJaycobb said...

What would be an all time stupid move by Nats. Outfielders is one thing we decidedly do not need. Unless you’re planning on trading Taylor and Bryce Harper in the same offseason. (Or trading Zim and converting JD to 1B, since he’s such a terrible OF.

BxJaycobb said...

I wondered about this too and looked into it. Everybody is convinced that their first baseman is unusually good at picks and scoops and receiving, when in reality, every major league first baseman is able to pick just about anything. Botched picks are crazy rare. Scoops like pretty and impressive when they happen, but at this level because every first baseman can scoop about the same, differences are SUPER negligible and basically can be ignored when compared to how much range you have. And Zim has less range than basically anybody. He also is last in MLB in throws to 2nd to start a DP or get lead runner and last in throws to 3rd on bunts because he can’t throw. Whenever I watch another team I’m constantly amazed at how good their 1B is defensively.

BxJaycobb said...

See my comment below. Essentially every single starting first baseman can scoop any throw. It’s not a distinguishing skill. If you are truly dreadful— as in, cannot be played at 1B at all like Lind— maybe you have trouble. But there’s no MLB 1B starter who is meaningfully different at scoops than anybody else. The difference in value is on throws to lead base on bunts and balls hit to you and then just range, mostly into the hole. Zim is last in MLB in the former by a in....he only cut down a guy at 3B or 2B on attempted sac bunt twice last year....for comparison, Rizzo did it 16 times, Goldshmidt 13, Bellinger 15, Etc. He just can’t throw a baseball. And with age his range is diminished too.

BxJaycobb said...

KW: plenty do. Rizzo, Goldshmidt, Bellinger, these guys are mobile (they literally steal bases sometimes) and cut down billions of singles in the 1B-2B hole. Don’t know if you were watching Game 7, but did you see play where Bellinger ranged like 20 feet to his right then made a bad feed to Darvish in 1st? And then another aspect that kills Zim is metrics is he cuts down like zero lead runners on grounders and bunts especially. With his throwing he doesn’t even try. The 3 guys I mentioned above as examples will gun down guys at 3B or 2B on a mediocre bunt. On a hot shot Zim can’t turn a DP. Anyway, with bad range and no throwing to lead base, the fact he can scoop bad throws just isn’t a different maker, since every first baseman can do it well. (As mentioned before, because fans mostly watch their own team, a scoop always looks like a good play, when in fact if you watched other teams, every 1B makes that play. It’s routine.

BxJaycobb said...

One thing all these teams have that the Nats don’t is a catcher who is solid behind the plate, frames well, and adds SOMETHING (doesn’t need to be a star but can’t be an automatic out). If Nats are serious, wieters Csnnot be their starter next year. Period.

BxJaycobb said...

To me, the Nats have superior top of rotation starters than either of these teams. But they also have inferior mid rotation starters. Thus they need a SOLID no 3. Gios not that in the playoffs.
And then the other thing is they need a catcher BADLY. Wieters is not a championship level backstop. Once they fill those two holes, I don’t see big separation at all.

BxJaycobb said...

Fair. He’s very bad. He’s bad at every aspect. He has bad range. He is worst in baseball (qualitatively and by the Numbers) at throwing to the lead base to cut down runners on bunts etc since he can’t throw. And no he’s not unusually good at scoops. But that’s only because nobody is unusually good at low throws. It’s a routine play in the major leagues. If you look at data, basically every 1B muffs like 3-5 low throws they fail to scoop per year. You don’t distinguish yourself with your scooping because everybody does it so easily.

BxJaycobb said...

He also led the league in Errors by 1B.

BxJaycobb said...

I just checked “Scooped Runs Saved.” Which is the stat that measures the runs a first baseman saves by scooping low throws. Zim I’d below average but barely. Of 30 qualifying 1B, Zim is 17th, so at least this season he was no above average. Again....I will emphasize that scooped runs saved pales in comparison to Def Runs Saved. The scoops don’t make much difference in value.

BxJaycobb said...

Sorry. As I mentioned above, Zim is also below average at scoops. (17 of 30 in Scooped Runs Saved). Also led NL 1B in errors. To be clear this is not the Nats biggest problem, like finding a better mid rotation starter or a catcher. But don’t delude yourselves guys. Zim is a horrible defensive first baseman.

BxJaycobb said...

See above comments I just left. But Scooped Runs Saved stat, Zim is below average. Also led NL in errors as first baseman.

KW said...

No trade clause means NO TRADE. He's not going anywhere, so get used to it.

And yes, we'd all love a better #3 starter. I hear Darvich is available on the free agent market. Oh, wait . . . as a playoff starter, he makes Gio look solid and confident.

I wouldn't mind signing J. D. Martinez and trading Taylor as part of a deal for a pitcher.

Jay said...

I don't know that they need Martinez. I was just joking about the Boras connection. If anything, I could see Rizzo signing Upton bc he drafted him in Arizona. I think they need a #2 or #3 starter. I'd like some help in the bullpen and catcher. I'm not sure they will do any of that. The only constant in the offseason is that I never am able to predict what Rizzo will do. Trading for Fister, trading for Eaton, signing Scherzer, almost signing Fielder, possibly trading for Sale. I would not have predicted any of those moves or possible moves.

blovy8 said...

OK, maybe the Nats keep a big payroll, but lets not become giddy and think they are the Dodgers. Martinez is going to be getting a Cespedes contract. No way the Nats do that (see Cespedes contract) because in 2019 the rent is coming due on guys like Scherzer and they have several excellent OF prospects. The last thing they need is another OF. An argument can be made that Taylor should be traded so Robles can play.

Anonymous said...

I can see trading Taylor, but not to make room for JD Martinez. I don't think the Nats have the money for Martinez, and I think counting on Eaton and his reconstructed knee to play CF in 2018 might be a mistake. Even if it's not a mistake in its own right, pairing him with Martinez - who is a statue - probably is.

My priority list: (1) starting pitcher. The Nats NEED SP innings; the pitcher they get doesn't NEED to be a #3 caliber guy for them to win the East, but a #3 caliber guy would be nice to have in the playoffs; (2) another high-end relief pitcher. We have a bunch of question marks behind Madson and Doolittle. We need more certainty there; (3) a better catcher or a plan to get one. Wieters stinks. In theory, this is the easiest area to improve because the Nats are starting out from such a low place. On the other hand, most catchers stink, and the Nats are almost certainly going to be on the hook for Wieters at $10.5 million. I think they're going to go with what they have here (Wieters, Severino, hoping Read hits in the minors).

PotomacFan said...

Rizzo can and will surprise us. But generally, I don't see the need for the Nats to make any big trades in the off-season. This team, as it now stands, should be in good shape to make the playoffs. I think the trades will come at the trade deadline, when Rizzo can take into account any injuries that may create "must fix" situations. I also look for the Nats to get a catcher at the trade deadline, and maybe another starting pitcher. But I just don't see them getting a catcher, particularly on a multi-year contract, in the off-season.

JE34 said...

Trade deadline requires sellers... the catcher market looks extremely thin for half-year rentals in 2018 (Ramos! if Tampa is selling) and also for the 1.5-year guys up in 2019. If the Rays and Os are both contending, that's (arguably) the two best walk-year catchers off the market, offense wise (The Buffalo and Wellington Castillo).

The market is so bad. They either:
(a) sit tight and
(1) hope Severino or Read can hit big league stuff
(2) hope a trading deadline opportunity floats into view
(3) hope Wieters defies all expectations and hits well, plays D well


(b) they do something more drastic, looking to sell high on MAT and others via trade, which is especially challenging in such a horrid market.

So much hoping involved with path A. Since that's the likely path, I hope Martinez plays the crap out of the younger generation. Severino will at least give you defense.

Fries said...

I expect Rizzo to run with the plan of hoping Read develops a bit more while Wieters just attempts to be mediocre. With such a strong lineup returning, it doesn't make sense to sell off young players for a position that normally bats 8th in the lineup anyway

KW said...

Lind option declined. Nats now in the market for another 1B/LF. There are plenty on the market.

Angels spare Rizzo the temptation to go after J-Up. Angels apparently don't realize that they won't win anything unless they spend serious money to upgrade their rotation.

One big question for the Nats is how much are they really going to have available to spend. I've seen estimates that put their baseline obligations for 2018, including projected arb numbers, in the $170-175M range. The luxury tax threshold is $197M. That leaves only $22-27M in wiggle room. That's really not much if people are thinking in terms of some real star-level additions, particularly when you consider that they'll probably spend $10M or so just filling out the bench and bullpen.