Nationals Baseball: The Purge

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Purge

The Nationals are moving on.  Yesterday they declined the options for five veterans of the World Series team; Eaton, Kendrick, Sanchez, and new acquisition Eric Thames. The Nats also didn't come to early deals with Zimm, Doolittle, or Suzuki, as well as Brock Holt and Asdrubal.  

Eaton and Sanchez were no-brainers as their performances didn't warrant their options of 10.5 million and 12.5 million respectively.  Thames also was not likely to deserve his raise to 4 million for 2021. Kendrick if healthy should be worth his number (6.5) but given his injuries this year and his age the Nats didn't feel like betting on it. 

What's the most likely scenarios here? 

Zimm -  If Zimm wants to come back at some super low rate (last year he was essentially paid 4 million - 2 million for a buyout and 2 million more in contract), I'd imagine the Nats would take him back. But we're likely looking at 1-2 million. My guess is he takes that or failing that - signs a minimum contract just to wave to fans for a few games in April. I can't see him going anywhere as an inability to play a full season more than one time since 2013 (2013!), a middling 2019 at the plate and no defense, and not playing in 2020 means no one is going to offer him anything. 

Kendrick - Howie likes it here by all accounts and the Nats like Howie. But I think Howie is going to get his money if it's out there and I think an AL team would be smart to give him 5 million a year to DH, something I can't see the Nats doing. I imagine the Nats are looking in the 3-4 million range in total so that'd be no more than a contract for 2 million given the 2.25 million dollar buy out. (or else you'd just keep him).  This depends on the market

Doolittle - Doolittle is another one that loves it here but how much the team wants him back is a question. They need reliable pen arms and Sean can't be considered that right now. Relievers are a little too highly valued now so I'm going to guess someone out there will give him something like 3+3 and that'll be enough to pull him away from the Nats who will be more like 1+4 with a lot of performance options on the 1. 

Suzuki - the Nats appear to be moving on and Suzuki is a place holder starter.  The Nats appear to want to go with Gomes and see what else they got (or maybe go for a Realmuto?) not have another year of sort of platoon.  Suzuki has become a vagabond in the second half of his career and catchers are always needed so someone is going to give him 6-8 for two years and there he will go. 

Sanchez - Anibal is a tough one. The Nats could really use him just to eat up innings given the lack of confidence in their 5th starter options and questionable health of Strasburg. I imagine they offer him something like 3 million for a year (with the 2 million buyout). The question is whether a better market is out there for him given the poor 2020 showing. My guess is not given that ATL got him for 1 million at three years younger. (Although it was after 3 subpar years - not one).  I think he comes back on the cheap

Thames - gone. The Nats don't linger on these types. He might not be in MLB next year at all. (and honestly with the virus likely to still be around would probably be better off heading back to Korea) 

Holt - I don't like Holt, the type of mediocre scrappy white player who has more fans than hits, which gives me an unreasonable fear he could be back. But given he likely signed for something around 100K and they didn't work hard to keep him, I do have hope.

Asdrubal - Asdrubal is extremely useful, and doesn't seem to overvalue himself but he, like Suzuki, goes where he can get paid and play and I think some other team will give him more than the Nats, who are likely to give long tryouts to Kieboom and Garcia.  Harrison is already back as their acceptable part-time back-up. AsCab would be overkill. 

Eaton : The Nats aren't going to go just with Stevenson full time. But I'm not sure if they go for a big upgrade, veteran presence with Stevenson getting some time, or Stevenson first as part of a bigger rebuild.  None of these plans though include Eaton.

In the end my projections 

Back : Sanchez

Back if he wants to come back : Zimm

Back if the market isn't too high (and I don't think it will be) : Kendrick 

Gone : Everyone else, though the should really think about keeping AsCab. 


elchupinazo said...

I wonder if pretty much a full year off does something for Zim's health? Like getting older is rarely an improvement but if you assume he's never really been 100% healthy maybe he could at least be his 2019 self and not the useless figurehead you'd expect him to be?

DezoPenguin said...

Can't argue with any of that. AsCab would be solid depth (I have much more faith in him being adequate if we need him to be then in Harrison). Kendrick would be great to have if he can avoid injury, but I think that yes, some AL team would offer him enough unless the universal DH comes into play.

LF and SS are taken care of. CF and C are adequately filled. Between Kieboom, Garcia, Castro, and Harrison 2B and 3B are covered with bodies if not necessarily adequate bodies and if we're lucky two of the four can put up three-ish win seasons.

Which leaves RF and 1B as giant holes in need of plugging. Preferably with guys that can hit the baseball. I can see rolling with Stevenson as OF4, yeah, that should not be Plan A.

blovy8 said...

I think they might aim higher than Sanchez for the fourth starter. Eating innings is not quite good enough, because all of their starters had issues of some kind, and there will be better options. The real issue is what they are willing to spend and we have no clue about that yet. We do know that the Cardinals dumped Wong who had a fairly reasonable option, and the Marlins did pick up Marte’s option at the same price. The trade market is probably in a weird state, since Cleveland waived Hand and his possible 10 million option rather than exercise it and try to deal him.

Positively Half St. said...

I am not sure what to think this offseason because while salaries are going to go down, I am not sure that they will for the Class A free agents. Because the Nats have about $50M to spend, they should go for Realmuto and/or Springer and then bargain shop for useful pieces that will all of a sudden be affordable. How much would Robbie Ray cost after a bad year? If they only can get Realmuto or Springer should they try for Trevor Bauer, poison though he is?

In any case, the people they have not retained hold a place in our hearts forever for 2019, but they are definitely replaceable for less than what their options would have cost. Some of them are replaceable for the amount they were paid to leave.

billyhacker said...

If the market is weak, I think Nats will pick up a premium LF with Soto trying RF, and a premium catcher. But if market is more normal, I think they will try out a bunch of young guys and look more like they are rebuilding.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

I agree with the sentiment that the Nats should target Springer, though it really depends on his price tag since his numbers seem to be trending somewhat downward. JBJ wouldn't be a terrible option on a shorter deal given the season he had.

As for Sanchez replacements, I could see them going after Peacock.

At C, I like the idea of going after McCann over Realmuto. Outside of 2018, he's had a string of really strong seasons and will be a heck of a lot more affordable than Realmuto.

And for 1B, I think Harper's idea of moving Soto may be coming. The market at 1st is atrocious and honestly may be best to bring back AsCab to platoon with Zimm

All in all, given the way the market is, I suspect we'll see another surprise Rizzo trade at the winter meetings. There's too many holes to fill with this FA class

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