Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats Payroll Outlook for 2017 and what it could mean for FA market


Do you trade Gonzalez to get payroll flexibility? Photo unknown via

Do you trade Gonzalez to get payroll flexibility? Photo unknown via

The end of the World Series starts the clock on a whole slew of off-season moves, and we’ve already seen the Nats do a few procedural moves that were predictable:

  • Aaron Barrett, who I thought was a non-tender candidate since he’s Arb-eligible, was waived.
  • Yusmeiro Petit had his $3M option declined, and becomes a FA.
  • All 8 of our other eligible FAs declared FA: Mark Melancon, Wilson Ramos, Stephen Drew, Chris Heisey, Matt Belisle, Mark Rzepczynski, Sean Burnett and Mat Latos.

So the 40-man roster now sits at 31 players:

  • SP: Scherzer, Strasburg, Roark, Ross, Gonzalez*, Lopez, Giolito, Cole
  • RP: Kelley, Treinen, Glover, Solis*, Perez*, Gott, Martin, Grace*
  • C: Lobaton, Severino, Kieboom
  • INF: Zimmerman, Murphy, Turner, Rendon, Espinosa, Robinson, Difo
  • OF: Harper, Werth, Revere, Taylor, Goodwin

Lets break down these current 31 guys and see what their payroll looks like projected for 2017 to see what kind of financial flexibility the team may have.  Using the ever-awesome Cots MLB player salary site as a source here we go:

Players Already Under Contract for 2017 – 8

  • Werth, Jayson:  $21,571,429
  • Scherzer, Max:  $15,000,000
  • Strasburg, Stephen:  $15,000,000
  • Zimmerman, Ryan:  $14,000,000
  • Gonzalez, Gio:  $12,100,000 (Option for 2017 picked up 11/3/16)
  • Murphy, Daniel:  $12,000,000
  • Perez, Oliver:  $4,000,000
  • Kelley, Shawn:  $5,500,000

Subtotal: $99,171,429 <– Sum of Established Contracts for 2017

Note that I’ve not prorated any deferred money for Scherzer, Strasburg.  Also, I’m not entirely sure what Werth did last year; was it to lower his 2016 salary by $10M and pay that later?  I think so, so I don’t believe his 2017 salary was affected.  I do not agree with the prorating that Cot’s does with the deferred dollars on Scherzer/Strasburg; I think the Lerners are treating it like payments later on so as to add financial flexibility now, so I count just the dollars owed in 2017 here.  With these caveats, we come to the $99.1M figure due for these 8 players.  Feel free to comment and correct me if I have this wrong.

Arbitration Eligible Players for 2017 – 6 

I’m using MLB Trade rumors’ estimates instead of doing my own guesses since they’ve proven to be hyper accurate in years’ past, but will offer commentary on each figure.

  • Harper, Bryce: $9,300,000 estimate
  • Rendon, Anthony: $6,400,000 estimate
  • Espinosa, Danny: $5,300,000 estimate
  • Lobaton, Jose: $1,600,000 estimate
  • Revere, Ben: $6,300,000 estimate
  • Roark, Tanner: $6,100,000 estimate

Subtotal: $35,000,000 <– MLBtraderumors Guess of total arb award amounts

Now, I’m on record saying that I think the team non-tenders Revere; I cannot imagine paying $6.3M for the production we got out of him last year.  If the team thinks 2016 was an aberration and he can return to his 2015 form, then $6.3M might be a bargain (reminder: he hit .319 and had a 101 OPS+ figure in Toronto in 2015).  However, for the time being i’m going with Revere getting non-tendered.  I also think Harper’s going to sign a 2-year deal to buy out the rest of his Arb years, so I could see something like a 2yr/$25M deal at 10 and 15.  I think the Rendon figure seems high (yes he had a solid year but $6.4 more than doubles his 2016 pay).  I also have a hard time believing that Roark is going to net $6.1M in his first arb season, no matter how good he was last year.

So my working guess on this number is $35M less Revere’s $6.3 and less a bit more off of the Rendon & Roark numbers: call it $27,200,000.

Pre Arbitration MLB players – 17

  • Robinson, Clint $540,000
  • Treinen, Blake $536,000
  • Taylor, Michael $530,000
  • Ross, Joe $520,000
  • Gott, Trevor $518,000
  • Turner, Trea $507,500
  • Solis, Sammy $507,500
  • Glover, Koda $507,500
  • Severino, Pedro $507,500
  • Difo, Wilmer $507,500
  • Cole, A.J. $507,500
  • Goodwin, Brian $507,500
  • Grace, Matt
  • Martin, Rafael
  • Kieboom, Spencer
  • Giolito, Lucas
  • Lopez, Reynaldo

Subtotal: $6,196,500

The rest of the 40-man roster are pre-arbitration/team-assigned salaries.  The current league minimum salary is $507,500; that might change, that might go up with the new CBA.  For the time being, those players above who are ABOVE that figure are those who have played at the MLB level and have earned a nominal raise.  These are guesses on these nominal salary increases, and then the rest of the guys are listed assuming they all make next year’s 25-man roster.   Assuming no acquisitions, 12 of these pre-arb guys will be on the 25-man roster so that’s roughly $6M.

Payments for former players in 2017

Petit, Yusmeiro: $500,000 buyout of 2017 contract.

Summary:  $99,171,429 +  $27,200,000 +  $6,196,500 +  $500,000 =  $133,067,929 current payroll Estimate for your 2017 Nationals.

That figure represents about a $12M delta from last year’s working payroll figure of  $145,178,886 (cot’s figure), but is about $5.7M higher than my “present day dollar only” figure for last year’s squad.

So, I’m not sure if the team has $12M to “spare” or will be looking to cut costs.  Either way they’re nearly $30M below the 2015 payroll figure of $162M (Cots).

So here’s what i’d like to see happen:

  • Non-tender Revere ($6.3M), Trade Gio ($12M) and Espinosa ($5.3M).  Net $17.3M (we already counted on Revere’s 6.3)
  • I figure we’ll receive back at least $10M of MLB salary for players received from Gio and Espinosa.  So that leaves about $7M additional savings
  • Add that to the $12M figure and that’s about $20M to work with.
  • Spread that $20M around as follows:
    • Josh Reddick: $10M a year for 3 years; lefty, RF capable, relatively cheap when compared to the marquee OF on the market.
    • Greg Holland: $7M/year guess; former closer, formerly had ridiculous stuff, may have it back, could be 8th or 9th inning guy with existing options
    • Resign Stephen Drew, Matt Belisle and Chris Heisey to a combined $10M.

That makes your 25-man projected roster look like this:

  • SP: Scherzer, Strasburg, Roark, Ross, Lopez
  • RP: Kelley, Holland, Treinen, Belisle, Solis*, Perez*, Cole (longman)
  • C: Lobaton, Severino
  • INF: Zimmerman, Murphy, Turner, Rendon, Robinson, Drew,
  • OF: Harper, Werth, Reddick, Taylor, Heisey

With the following in AAA

  • SP: Giolito
  • RP: Glover, Gott, Martin, Grace*
  • C: Kieboom
  • INF: Difo
  • OF: Goodwin

That’s not too bad.  It also doesn’t account for any players received from trading Gonzalez and Espinosa; we could get back a starting catcher, pushing Severino to AAA, or we could get a utility infielder, obviating the need for Drew  or Heisey.

what do you guys think?

44 Responses to 'Nats Payroll Outlook for 2017 and what it could mean for FA market'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Nats Payroll Outlook for 2017 and what it could mean for FA market'.

  1. Who’s in CF? I think espy stays as the nats like turner in cf and espy’s defense.


    7 Nov 16 at 6:36 am

  2. Me: earlier this season i agreed with the “status quo” model of Espi staying at SS and Turner staying in CF. But Espinosa’s performance in the playoffs combined with his deterioration at the plate towards the rest of the season leads me to believe that he needs to go. Turner’s far far more valuable as a SS than he is in CF; he’s a BETTER short stop than he is a CF.

    Who in Center? Harper. I’ve made the case for him to play CF many times and arguments to the contrary don’t really make sense. He has shown plus-plus defense there from a range perspective in his time there and he more than has the arm and speed to play the position well. I think arguments that say things like “well he needs to play a corner to save his body” seem to forget the fact that he’s only 24. Trout plays CF and he’s basically the same size as Harper (Harper is listed 6’3″ 215lb while Trout is listed 6 2″ 235). So i think people need to stop claiming that Harper “can’t” play CF for some reason. There’s a long history of superstar slugging CFs in this league and I just don’t see why Harper isn’t playing there at a time of need.

    Trade Espi, move Turner to SS and Harper to CF. Now the “hole” in your lineup is at a position very easily filled (corner outfielder). If you keep Espi and Turner where they are … then you’re signing up for another year of espinosa providing .210 BA and a strikeout a game at the #7 spot at a time where we don’t have an obvious catcher so we’re looking at someone like Lobaton or SEverino also hitting .200 or so at the bottom of the lineup. Can this team win if you’re batting three guys in a row 7-8-9 who can’t hit?

    All this being said; we’ve also noted in this space that Rizzo seems to have a couple of GM weaknesses/blind spots, and one of those is absolutely this statement: “I need a lead-off center fielder type on my roster.” You look at his acquisitions and over and over you see him trying to get this player. Nyger Morgan, Denard Span, Ben Revere are all acquisitions he’s made in his tenure here to get this player. So we may very well see the “stay the course” strategy, or even the “I still believe in Ben Revere” strategy. But i’d do what i’ve laid out were I the GM and if i was getting good value back and not making a trade for the sake of making the trade.

    Todd Boss

    7 Nov 16 at 8:12 am

  3. Todd, I generally agree with your accounting. I’ll add a couple of quick quibbles, though. Will the trades of Gio and Danny bring back $10M in salary? I doubt it. As much I’d love to see them add a significant player — Eaton, Cutch, Simmons, etc. — my bet is that moving Gio and Danny would be more salary management trades that bring back controllable kids or prospects who cost almost nothing (like Gott). On the flip side, if they do happen to land a $10M type player in a trade for a CF or SS, then they’re not spending $10M on Reddick as well. So either way, I think they’re going to have $10M more or so spend than your bottom line. (Of course if they re-sign Melancon for $15M per instead of a Holland type, that blows nearly all of it right there.)

    Also, while I’ve also mentioned the possibility of a Belisle return, are they really going to keep Glover and/or Gott in AAA to bring him back? I’d say doubtful. They need to find out at the big-league level what they’ve got in Glover in particular.

    So . . . I think the cost savings (Revere, Gio, Danny) will be rolled into a closer and an OF (via trade or FA).


    7 Nov 16 at 10:51 am

  4. I would love to see Harper in centerfield. I agree with your logic here. We may lose some range in the outfield, but that will be more than offset by lengthening our lineup.


    7 Nov 16 at 11:20 am

  5. For those arguing that the Nats have to make some big moves to be able to compete with the Cubs, it’s been interesting to read about the Cubbies moving forward. They won 103 games in large part on the back of a group of starters that collectively pitched out of their minds, except Arrieta, who actually regressed a bit from Cy level. They’ve now declined Hammel’s option. Arrieta and 90-year-old Lackey are entering the last years of their contracts. They have no strong starter prospects in the upper minors, and of course good luck finding a top-level starter on the FA market.

    I’m not burying them yet, by any means, and I’m not discounting Theo’s chances of flipping some of his positional prospects. I’m just pointing out that their “window” before they have some major pitching issues is very short. And the Nats’ on that front isn’t, at all.


    7 Nov 16 at 12:35 pm

  6. Also, in looking at Todd’s math, I don’t see how the Nats could risk tying up $17M with a QO to Ramos today. They need to spend that money elsewhere.


    7 Nov 16 at 1:16 pm

  7. Well, I don’t know about the payroll other than to say I think they ‘disappoint’ us by not spending as much as we think they ought to.

    Took a little time away from reading sports to get away from all the Cubs hype, which got too much for me. But as I thought about next year, I came to the following conclusion: I think they ought to trade Harper. I se no chance he re-signs, and more importantly, he just doesn’t strike me as the reliable superstar type to build everything around. I doubt most of you will agree, but I’m even kind of tired of watching his act, which comes off petulant.

    But I still think he is a big time talent, and This assumes that they can still get big value for him. I wouldn’t trade him for anything less, and be happy to keep him. But they could probably get a long term OF piece for him, plus two other quality controllable guys. I doubt it happens but I would definitely look into it and see what’s available.


    7 Nov 16 at 1:22 pm

  8. Well, Miggy and Verlander are available for a package deal . . . if you want to get older and poorer in the same deal.

    I don’t totally dismiss the thought of trading Harper, but I also think it would be hard to find a trade partner. It would have to be a win-now team, since they’d only have him for two years, but a win-now team that would still be willing to give up all-star-level talent to get an in-his-prime MVP. It likely would also have to be one of the higher payroll teams that would think it could re-sign him, although not necessarily.

    No perfect match comes to mind off the top of my head. Maybe the Angels would consider a deal of Bryce plus others for Trout, which would allow them to save face while also getting out from under Trout’s ballooning contract. Or Bryce for Simmons and Calhoun? Bryce for Seager and Puig, maybe? I don’t know why the Bosox would do Bryce for Mookie. Bryce for Eaton, Sale, and Robertson? I don’t think the Southsiders would do it, even to steal a little Cubbie thunder. Bryce for Betances, Sanchez, and Ellsbury?


    7 Nov 16 at 3:16 pm

  9. How far away are the Nats? Well, in the playoffs anything can happen. Indians rode some hot bats and made it to an inning of a championship despite losing their #2 and #3 starters. That’s patently amazing. But, they also had wonder-arm Miller in the bullpen. The Nats lost a series where they outscored the opponent so it isn’t as if they were that lesser of a team. Just bad luck that their bullpen gave up four straight hits in a row instead of scattering them.

    Cubs got amazing, fantastic starting pitching this year; can you really expect that next year? Harper had a down year this year; what if the Nats stay healthy, find themselves their own Miller somewhere, then Harper has a 2015-esque season and dominates the playoffs? Who knows what might happen.

    Todd Boss

    7 Nov 16 at 3:17 pm

  10. KW on assuming that both Gio and Espinosa bring back $10M worth of salary; yeah probably not. are they both going to fetch prospects and add zero payroll? Could. But you make a good point on what they could spend $$ on primarily.

    Todd Boss

    7 Nov 16 at 3:18 pm

  11. Trading Harper: that’s a whole post in and among itself. Not disagreeing with your premise, but he just seems like the kind of guy you ride until he goes elsewhere and is paid $30M/year. Thanks to the long term deals and the amount of payroll they’re kicking down the road, I sense the Nats have zero plans to even try to get him (at least while they don’t own their own RSN). But i’d never advocate trading him.

    Todd Boss

    7 Nov 16 at 3:32 pm

  12. Where’s the LH pitching? Two relievers–one vet who stunk much of last year, and the other who gets injured every season, backed by only Mark AAAA Grace? Yikes!

    Personally, I think Gio is going to be back for the simple reason that they don’t really have a choice. He may not be great, but they’d have to pay through the nose either in money or prospects to replace him as the rotation lefty.

    I also don’t think Harper will be moving back to CF. Not only do they need him completely focused on fixing whatever it was that ailed him at the plate, his br/d/WAR was -1.0 in RF this year.

    If they do trade Espinosa they need to obtain a true centerfielder somewhere–which will likely negate any salary savings.

    Karl Kolchack

    7 Nov 16 at 7:09 pm

  13. Well, here’s an out of the box idea that will never happen: Harper for Stanton straight up. My assumption is that the Marlins would love to get out of the contract before it gets pricey. They keep Harp for half a year then trade him for some prospects. Nats get a big time, injury prone slugger who may opt out, but they have him for a longer period of control (I think).


    7 Nov 16 at 7:41 pm

  14. Stanton has four more years until he can opt out, and 12 years total. I can’t see that trade happening, though. Plus I’d be afraid, like Murph with the Mets, that Harper would do the jilted lover thing with us and hit about 20 homers.

    Intra-divisional trades are rare anyway, particularly with another quasi-contending team. The folks at Nats Talk have been hot for a Gio-for-Ozuna trade, but I just don’t see it. I don’t particularly want Ozuna anyway. He’s quite streaky at the plate, not great defensively, and not really a CF.

    I share Karl’s lefty concerns. I don’t trust Perez, and Solis is fragile. Grace and Bryan Harper are the only loogy types at AAA, as Nick Lee didn’t manage to advance and is in the AFL right now. Would Burnett take a minor-league deal?


    8 Nov 16 at 8:10 am

  15. I thought Boone Logan might be interesting, but with the money invested in Kelley and Perez, I don’t see another $5m/yr contract for a middle reliever happening.

    I agree Harp for Stanton don’t happen, was just engaging in fantasy


    8 Nov 16 at 9:01 am

  16. I think the Nats flirted with Logan two or three years ago but found the price too steep then as well.


    8 Nov 16 at 9:19 am

  17. Karl: I know you often pick at the lack of lefties. I’m not quite as worried. As noted in a previous comment, there was one lefty starter among either WS team this year (Lester), there was just one lefty starter among both WS teams last year (Matz on the Mets), and just two among the 10 starters in the 2014 WS (Bumgarner, Vargas). I think you can succeed with only RH starters honestly, if they’re quality. Nonetheless, the trade of Gio is really more about taking advantage of an incredibly weak SP market to cash in an asset that we can easily replace. If you could move Gio, slot in Lopez or Giolito and basically get the same performance for 1/24th the salary AND get some valuable pieces/prospects in return, why wouldn’t you do that?

    As for relievers … fine lets re-sign Rzepczynski. Can’t cost that much. Perez’s lefty splits are fine and he could (if you were so inclined) also serve as the rubber armed mop-up guy inbetween appearances. Why not? That’d open up basically and extra spot in the pen for a 3rd lefty and we’d have more flexibility than we did when Petit sat out there holding that spot.

    Todd Boss

    8 Nov 16 at 9:32 am

  18. Here’s my feeling about the lefty relievers: two is fine if they’re both going well and healthy. Solis is near elite when he’s healthy. Perez had a bad stretch last year but was better by the end . . . but still scared me. My greater concern is that the Nats don’t have much behind them. If Solis goes down or Perez implodes, we’ll have to go through the weeping and gnashing of teeth over losing the “next Schrock” all over again.

    I have no problem with trading Gio and going with all righty starters. I have long been in the keep-Gio camp, but he took a step backward last year, was shaky in the playoffs yet again, and the kid starters are ready, or nearly so. (If they’re not, trade ’em now before they get exposed.) Gio should have good value on the starter-starved market this year, better than a lot of people think.

    However . . . don’t trade Gio if you’ve still got lingering concerns about Stras and/or Ross. I’ve actually wondered if they’ve thought about dangling Ross, but that’s a whole other can of worms to open.


    8 Nov 16 at 1:01 pm

  19. Holland threw 89-90 in his “showcase” yesterday. Sorry, but that scares me, even if he’s said to still be working back up to strength. The Nats did have a scout there.


    8 Nov 16 at 1:09 pm

  20. Echoing KW: even conceding the point on LH starting pitching (and if they do go all RH in the rotation, they need to add a much more reliable bullpen LH bullpen option than Rzepczynski), that proposed rotation still looks like a potential recipe for disaster given that:

    1). Good as he is, they cannot rely on Strasburg giving them 200 innings.

    2). Ross has yet to pitch anything approaching a full season.

    3). Lopez and Giolito are complete wildcards. They could be great, they could be awful or they could get injured.

    4). Roark seems due for a regression to being more like the number 4 starter his peripheral numbers suggest he ought to be (Fun Fact: Gio’s FIP was actually LOWER than Roark’s).

    For all of his flaws, Gio made all 32 of his starts and ate 177.1 innings. He may be no better than a number 4/5 starter at this point, but without him that’s a big extra workload for the kids to absorb.

    Karl Kolchack

    8 Nov 16 at 2:13 pm

  21. I’ve made the “first do no harm” argument about how the Nats should approach the offseason, as I feel like they’re a step ahead of the Marlins without Fernandez and the Mets likely without Cespedes. However, I’ve also made the argument that the Nats need to look for ways to expand their window. To do that, they’re going to have to turn over some of their roster. At some point, that’s going to entail the ups and downs of having Giolito or Lopez replace Gio in the rotation over a full season. That’s beyond the cost-saving of a trade, or the value of an established starter in this market. It might be bumpy, and the Nats might change horses in mid-transition-stream, but with the division as it is, and with options like Giolito/Lopez/Fedde/Cole/Voth, they’ve got backup if Plan A doesn’t work.

    I’ll mostly concede Karl’s point about Gio being a sure thing, albeit a regressing one, but not entirely. Until Giolito and Lopez began getting their wobbly starts, Gio taxed the bullpen more than any other starter. I don’t have the average innings per start in front of me, but on most nights, Gio was doing well to make six. In fact, at one point, Dusty said openly that he slotted Gio between Max and Stras because he didn’t want the ‘pen taking a big hit every night. So while Gio is a sure thing to answer the bell, he’s also pretty sure to require three or four innings from other guys.

    Again, as I said, I’ll lean more in Karl’s direction if the internal news on Stras and/or Ross isn’t good. But it seems to me that it’s time to think about some rotation transition.


    8 Nov 16 at 3:15 pm

  22. At what point does ‘I’m tired of watching him’ become a legit trade strategy? that’s how I feel about Gio. I would never give away anyone that had value, but I’m tired of Gio’s performance. If Gio, Espy and maybe a Voth or Cole could bring back Simmons, I’d sign up for that even if it is an overpay.


    8 Nov 16 at 3:29 pm

  23. Roark FIP being higher than Gio’s: Fip is precisely the kind of stat that Roark will never look great with, since he’s not a high K guy. Command and control, induce weak contact, make hitters hit his pitches; that’s his game. And its why FIP is a tough stat to depend on in and among itself. I like using it side by side with ERA to kind of tell the story, but also put it with BABIP. So Roark has a 2.83 ERA, 3.79FIP, .269 babip, 1.17 whip in 2016.

    Want to see something interesting? in 2014, when he started, here’s his same numbers: 2.85 ERA, 3.47 FIP, .270 BABIP, 1.09 whip. Wow. Almost identical ERA and BABIP figures. His FIP is up in 2016 thanks to a lot more walks, but his GB rate is up from 41% two years ago to 48% this year. So all of this supports the delta between his ERA and FIP.

    Todd Boss

    8 Nov 16 at 5:43 pm

  24. Roark has two seasons of producing through weak contact and deception. It’s time to credit him with that skill. Glad to see he is finally going to get paid, too.

    I was, not a skeptic necessarily, but someone who needed more data before believing it was a repeatable skill. But Hendricks, even Kluber, are somewhat similar and they are Cy Young level guys. So I believe it is a skill. If he ever loses that swingback fastball though, I think his performance could fall off precipitously. No reason why he should lose it though.

    They need to get Eaton. Pay up for the guy, he is a perfect fit and CWS are selling.


    8 Nov 16 at 6:42 pm

  25. the nice thing about a pitcher like Roark is that he “ages” well. Greg Maddox and his swingback fastball basically dominated until age 40.

    Adam Eaton eh? Very affordable contract, and he’s young. He’d cost a significant prospect haul … and thats if CWS actually sells. Where are you reading that their incompetent FO/owner is onboard with a rebuild?

    Todd Boss

    8 Nov 16 at 6:47 pm

  26. In 32 starts, Gio only went seven innings four times, and never went longer than seven. In 14 of the starts — nearly half of them — he didn’t make it to six innings.

    Eaton: five years of control makes me fear the price would be too high. I’d like to have him, but on our terms. As you noted, the pieces available are Gio, Danny, Voth, and Cole. I’d add Taylor to that list if he’s still got any value.


    8 Nov 16 at 7:44 pm

  27. There were rumor floating around last July that the Nats were making calls to the ChiSox about Eaton. Then Turner managed to deep six a potential trade with his performance. If Espinosa goes, the Nats need a new centerfielder, and he’d be a good fit.

    At some point they are going to have to use their starting pitching prospect surplus to fill other holes. They also still have no idea what Severino is going to be able to do offensively. Can he hold his own, or will he be a black hole stuck in 8th spot while battling the Mendoza Line? If it is the latter, that will be another hole that needs filling.

    Karl Kolchack

    8 Nov 16 at 9:52 pm

  28. On another note–Voth is really killing his potential trade value in the AFL this year. I don’t know what happened, but he’s been steadily regressing since having an outstanding first month in AAA last April.

    In order to really give this team an upgrade via trade, I would think Fedde would have part of the deal since Lopez and Giolito appear to be untouchable.

    Karl Kolchack

    8 Nov 16 at 9:56 pm

  29. Todd – I can’t speak for the owner, but MLBTR suggesting Hahn is ready to sell

    As for Eaton, no way that Gio + group gets it done. That might work for Simmons, because LAA wants to win now and needs pitching. But CWS will want prospects, and many of them. I’d say it wouldn’t take Robles, but either Giolito or Lopez, plus others. Let’s say it’s Lopez, Soto, Difo, Stevenson and Cole. Something like that. It’s a lot, but I’d pay it. Eaton is a 28 yr old 4 WAR player locked up through his prime, and above average in all areas of the game. He could even play below average, but passable CF until Robles is up.


    8 Nov 16 at 10:13 pm

  30. I share the concerns about Severino. Based on what he’s done in the minors, his major-league OPS projection would be around .600. That’s ain’t great. Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of other even semi-reasonable options out there. Wally had suggested making a run at Swihart, although he got so much prospect hype that you have to wonder how reasonable the price would be.


    9 Nov 16 at 6:37 am

  31. Karl, I would be VERY interested to know how the Nats rank Giolito, Lopez, and Fedde internally. If they had to trade one, who would it be? I had never been on the Fedde bandwagon, but he really came on in the last 2/3 of 2016.

    As I’ve speculated on Nats prospects, the only reason I can think of that the Nats have Voth in AZ is to build up his innings. He had 157.1 in ’15 and finished ’16 at 157, so no increase. He’s since added a bunch of mostly bad innings in AZ and now could get to 200 next season with less than a 20% increase. The “official” word is that he’s in AZ to work on his change-up. If unofficially he was there to be showcased, it hasn’t worked. His AAA season was actually solid, much better than Cole’s.


    9 Nov 16 at 6:51 am

  32. Eaton actually rated 6 fWAR, which I think gives more credit for defense than B-R does. It doesn’t hurt to inquire about him, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I think the price is going to be too high.

    My other question about Eaton would be whether he would provide enough pop as the lineup tries to offset what it will be losing from Ramos and Espinosa. Eaton caught the rabbit ball this year for 14 HRs, but his track record suggests he’ll hit fewer. Of course “empty” HR numbers like Danny’s don’t mean everything, and a higher SLG is more worthwhile.


    9 Nov 16 at 7:06 am

  33. I’ve never been a strict power guy, I’ll always take a good hit tool over a good power tool. And today’s movement towards all around players fit my personal preference, as opposed to limited players with extreme skills in one or two areas, like a Trumbo type.

    Anyway, I like LoCain too, he’s just older and only controlled for 1 year. So he is a good fit short term, and maybe that’s enough to bridge to Robles.

    If they don’t get someone like that and still move Turner to SS, I’d keep Revere, honestly. I think he is going to have a bounce back year for someone, and $6m for one year is nothing in today’s baseball environment.


    9 Nov 16 at 7:50 am

  34. I would prefer a trade for Cain, which shouldn’t cost too much for one year of control, over the big risks of extended contracts for free swingers like Gomez or Desi.

    Part of that equation, and perhaps similar consideration of whether to just roll with Revere, is internal evaluation of the near-term OF prospects, particularly Stevenson and Robles. Will they be ready by ’18? Neither has shown much pop. But yes, I’m all in for more contact, which is why I was excited by the additions of Murphy and Revere. One of those worked out pretty well.

    There was some short period, a series or so, when the Nats batted Turner and Revere 1-2 and they ran wild. A full season of that would be fun to watch . . . if Revere can get his mojo back. Are the Nats willing to make a big bet on 2017 that he does? I don’t know, but I’m doubtful that they would.


    9 Nov 16 at 10:32 am


    there’s some evidence that the CWS are doing a complete rebuild…

    Todd Boss

    9 Nov 16 at 12:53 pm


    MLBtraderumors chat on their “top 50 FA” list with predictions. They predict Nats sign … Holland and Moss. But lots of talk in the q&a about the same scenarios we’re talking about; buying a CF fa, moving Turner to short, trading Gio…

    Todd Boss

    9 Nov 16 at 1:05 pm

  37. Here’s a question: would you guys be willing to include Robles in a deal for Eaton? I think I would. Eaton is a sure thing, signed for five years, while Robles is a promise. Maybe he becomes a five-tool superstar. More likely he doesn’t. Right now, he looks more like a guy with gap power who can really run, and who may not have the best of arms. I don’t think he’s Harper’s “replacement” by any means.


    9 Nov 16 at 4:26 pm

  38. I suggested the Moss concept (alt LF/1B), but I have a hard time with the thought of bringing in the real, low-contact Moss. He’s a “big bat,” though.

    Holland’s showcase wasn’t that great. I’ll pass on him as well.

    And the more I read about Reddick, the less I like. I’m talking myself out of everyone!

    Here’s a refreshingly irreverent review of the FA landscape:


    9 Nov 16 at 4:32 pm

  39. Yes, I think I’d trade Robles for Eaton. What would you give for LoCain?


    9 Nov 16 at 8:10 pm

  40. Well, the real deal would be for Cain AND Wade Davis, wouldn’t it? That would certainly be a win-now deal, as both are only signed through ’17.

    The Royals really need starting pitching, so Gio for Cain would seem to make a lot of sense for both teams.

    My preference would be to try to package Gio for someone with more years, Eaton/Simmons/Cutch, but if there’s no traction on those fronts, I’d do Gio for Cain, or perhaps Gio plus some second-tier prospect like Mapes.


    9 Nov 16 at 8:25 pm

  41. Rosenthal now reporting that the Nats offered Robles for Cutch at the same time as the Melancon deal. So the front office is thinking along similar lines.


    10 Nov 16 at 8:12 am

  42. Reading that the Royals aren’t quite ready to blow things up so Cain may be unattainable. Also read the McCutchen rumors; interesting. there’s definitely an argument to be made that the Nats should really blow it out for the next two years of Harper and acquiring McCutchen would fit.

    Todd Boss

    10 Nov 16 at 9:30 am

  43. Except if he is declining. That’s the rub with Cutch – what kind of player would he be? I’m not comfortable with the risk


    10 Nov 16 at 9:34 am

  44. Newposted on QOs and what the Nats might do.

    Todd Boss

    10 Nov 16 at 10:10 am

Leave a Reply