Washington Nationals' Rumors: Pros and Cons of Top Offseason Targets
Nationals fans will want to consider the positives and negatives of each new rumor involving their favorite team.
To help with that process, here are the pros and cons for each of the Washington Nationals' top targets this offseason. In addition, each player is listed with the source of the rumor linking him to the Nationals, along with his 2013 stats and his 162-game averages.
Note: All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.
5. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
- Center Field Swap: To sign Ellsbury, the Nats would have to trade Denard Span. Bill Ladson of MLB.com writes that reports of the Nationals' willingness to do so have been confirmed.
- Offensive Upgrade: Ellsbury's 162-game averages on offense are an improvement over those of Denard Span, most notably with regards to base stealing.
- Defensive Draw: The Nats would lose nothing in terms of defense if they switched from Span to Ellsbury, who won the 2011 AL Gold Glove. Span has yet to win the award.
- Protected Asset: Since Ellsbury received a qualifying offer from the Red Sox, the Nationals would have to part with their first round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Mike Rizzo is reluctant to do this, according to Patrick Reddington of FederalBaseball.com.
4. David Price SP
- Fits the Mold: Nats GM Mike Rizzo likes to build his rotation around power arms. Price's average fastball velocity of 93.5 mph ranked 11th among qualified MLB starters, and it would have ranked third on the Nationals, according to FanGraphs.com.
- Dominance: Adding Price would give the Nats four pitchers (Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Price) whose 162-game averages for wins are 13, 15, 13 and 16, respectively.
- Long-Term Investment: Under his current contract, Price would not become a free agent until before the 2016 season begins, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
- Heavy Price: A deal to land Price would cost multiple top-tier prospects, according to Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com, including Anthony Rendon, Lucas Giolito and Brian Goodwin.
3. Max Scherzer SP
- Another Power Arm: Scherzer's average fastball velocity of 93.3 mph ranked 12th among qualified MLB starters and would have ranked third on the Nationals' rotation, according to FanGraphs.com.
- Less Costly: According to Ken Rosenthal, "the price in prospects for Scherzer, a free agent at the end of next season, would be lower than it is for Price, who is under club control for two more years."
- Short Timer: Scherzer will become a free agent before the 2015 season, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
- Not Again: If the Nats acquire Scherzer, the impending contract negotiations would involve none other than Scott Boras. The expert negotiator already has six clients on the Nationals, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
2. Boone Logan RP
- Experienced: Logan has eight years of MLB service and has made 13 postseason appearances, including six in the LCS alone.
- Specialized: Left-handed batters hit .221 against Logan in 2013, according to Adam Kilgore.
- Rehabbed: Chris Cwik of CBSSports.com wrote on Nov. 12 that "Logan had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in October after pitching through the pain most of the season. He's expected to be fully healthy by spring training."
- Long Ball: Logan's seven home runs surrendered in 2013 would have tied for second on the Nationals according to MLB.com, despite Logan pitching at least 22 fewer innings than the two Nationals pitchers tied at seven.
1. Jeff Samardzija SP
- Bringing the Heat: Like Scherzer and Price, Samardzija is the type of flame thrower that Rizzo likes in his rotation. Samardzija's average fastball velocity of 94.5 mph was sixth-fastest among qualified starters according to FanGraphs.com, and was better than every Nationals starter in 2013 except Stephen Strasburg.
- Two-Year Plan: Samardzija is not set to become a free agent until 2016, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
- Competition: Along with the Nationals, the Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks are also considered favorites to land Samardzija, according to Luke Jett of TheMLBNation.com.
- Paying the Piper: Although a deal for Samardzija would cost less in prospects than a deal for Price or Scherzer, the Nats would still have to surrender something of value, especially to a rebuilding franchise such as the Chicago Cubs.