Nationals Arm Race

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

Gold Glove awards versus advanced stats for 2019


Arenado well represented on these leader boards this year. Photo via

Arenado well represented on these leader boards this year. Photo via

(whoops, forgot to post this earlier this off-season)

Every year I have kept a spreadsheet with each year’s Gold Glove award winners and then shown how the leading advanced statistical measures listed out the best in the league.

Here’s the same post for past years: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.

In 2019, for the first time in a while, I think the selectors really did an excellent job picking the Gold Glove winners in each league.  Of the 18 winners, I think 15 of them were spot-on, inarguable selections.  And the 3 that I quibbled with each still led in some statistical categories, or were selected by the blue-ribbon Bill James-led panel of fielding Bible winners.  So you’d be hard pressed to even argue that those three were troublesome selections.  There’s no Derek Jeter esque selection (he won the Gold Glove in 2005 posting a -27 DRS figure) and no Rafael Palmeiro esque selections (he won the GG in 1999 playing just 28 games in the field and DHing the rest).  I feel like the selection committee is really getting good at picking the best defenders in the league.

Here’s your 2019 GG winners:

PosAL GG WinnerNL GG Winner
CRoberto PerezJT Realmudo
1BMatt OlsonAnthony Rizzo
2BYolmer SanchezKolten Wong
SSFrancisco LindorNick Ahmed
3BMatt ChapmanNolan Arenado
LFAlex GordonDavid Peralta
CFKevin KiermaierLorenzo Cain
RFMookie BettsCody Bellinger
PMike LeakeZack Greinke

I had quibbles with the following players (along with counter arguments):

  • Nick Ahmed: did not lead the NL in Fangraphs all-encompassing Defensive Statistical measure (Paul deJong), nor UZR/150 (Miguel Rojas), but was the top SS in DRS and in Baseball-Reference’s Total Zone.  Ahmed was given the Fielding Bible award though (as we’ll see in a moment) but missed out on the Wilson defensive POTY award to Andrelton Simmons (which seemed to be a reputation award).
  • David Peralta: This is a very slight quibble; Peralta missed out on officially qualifying for some of the Fangraphs lists by virtue of missing a bunch of time; otherwise he’d have gotten a clean sweep of statistical and named awards.  Marcell Ozuna was pretty much #2 across the board in all statistical categories.
  • Lorenzo Cain: Cain wasn’t the leader in a single statistical category, but was the Fielding Bible and Wilson POTY.  Harrison Bader was the CF leader in both Fangraphs total Defense and UZR/150, while our own Victor Robles ended up leading the qualified DRS candidates in the NL.

Lets look at other fielding awards for 2019:

Fielding Bible

PosFielding Bible Winner
CRoberto Perez
1BMatt Olsen
2BKolten Wong
SSNick Ahmed
3BMatt Chapman
LFDavid Peralta
CFLorenzo Cain
RFCody Bellinger
PZack Greinke
UtilCody Bellinger

Every Fielding Bible recipient in 2019 also matched a Gold Glove winner; a first that I can remember.

Wilson Defensive POTY

PosWilson Defensive POTY
CRoberto Perez
1BFreddie Freeman
2BKolten Wong
SSAndrelton Simmons
3BMatt Chapman
LFDavid Peralta
CFLorenzo Cain
RFAaron Judge
PZack Greinke

Simmons seems like (as i said above) an award based on his reputation for years being the best defender in the league.  He’s not that anymore.  I’m not sure where the Freddie Freeman award came from; he did not lead any defensive measures in 2019.  The Aaron Judge award wasn’t too egregious; he led DRS in the AL, one of two primary defensive stats I like.

Fangraphs DEF stat (for a definition see here:; it’s basically a combo state that tries to equate all players into one stat using positional adjustments.

PosAL Fangraphs Stat Avg (Def)NL Fangraphs Stat Avg (Def)
CChristian VazquezJT Realmudo
1BMatt OlsonAnthony Rizzo
2BYolmer SanchezKolten Wong
SSMarcus SiemenPaul DeJong
3BMatt ChapmanNolan Arenado
LFAlex GordonMarcell Ozuna
CFKevin KiermaierHarrison Bader
RFMookie BettsCody Bellinger

So, 11 of the 16 GG winners are here, for about 70% match rate.  That’s not too bad.  A couple of the deltas we’ve already discussed (Ozuna and Bader).  Both SS figures resulted in different leaders here versus the GG winners, oddly.  But for the most part, this state predicted the GGs well.

Ultimate Zone Rating averaged over 150 games (UZR/150):

PosAL UZR/150NL UZR/150
1BMatt OlsonAnthony Rizzo
2BYolmer SanchezKolten Wong
SSFrancisco LindorMiguel Rojas
3BMatt ChapmanNolan Arenado
LFAlex GordonMarcell Ozuna
CFKevin KiermaierHarrison Bader
RFMookie BettsCody Bellinger

This is one of my two go-to defensive stats; it does suffer from Short Sample Sizes so you really need a full season, but the range factor it measures does seem to tell a good story about how much ground the defender covers.  Its interesting to go through and look at certain players UZR/150 machinations; when Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were hurt, their UZRs plummeted accordingly.

In 2019, 11 of the 14 GG winners also led their leagues in UZR/150, a great showing.  Two of the three outliers are guys we’ve already talked about (Ozuna, Bader).

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS)

CRoberto PerezJT Realmudo
1BMatt OlsonChristian Walker
2BYolmer SanchezKolten Wong
SSWilly AdamesNick Ahmed
3BMatt ChapmanJosh Donaldson
LFMichael BrantleyDavid Peralta
CFKevin KiermaierVictor Robles
RFAaron JudgeCody Bellinger
PZack GreinkeMax Fried

this figure is often the go-to stat for people: I like using it in conjunction with UZR to tell a more complete picture.  DRS is context-sensitive; if you (for example) reach over the fence to save a grand slam … you get 4 defensive runs saved added to your total for the year (as opposed to the fact that you just made one out, albeit a tough one).  Its an accumulator stat … but its also worth noting that a player can accumulate a lot (or cost his team a lot) in a short amount of time.  So often times the DRS leaders don’t technically “qualify” by ABs or percentage of games played like other stats show.

DRS leaders include our own Robles, Josh Donaldson, Judge (in the only stat he led), and have some random players not present on any other stat.  So its kind of hard to depend on this stat for the purposes of saying, “So and so was the best defender at his position this year.”

Baseball-Reference total Zone

PosAL Total Zone rTOTNL Total Zone rTOT
CRoberto PerezJT Realmudo
1BYuli GurrielChristian Walker
2BYolmer SanchezKolten Wong
SSWilly AdamesNick Ahmed
3BMatt ChapmanNolan Arenado
LFRobbie GrossmanDavid Peralta
CFMallex SmithManuel Margot
RFAaron JudgeAustin Slater

This is B-R’s equivalent to Fangraphs total Defense stat … and its always had issues.  I’m not sure why.  but for 2019, in only was in line with the GG winers half the time, and was the only stat that had a number of players listed as the leader.  Its the least dependable advanced defensive stat of those listed here.

Baseball Prospectus FRAA: I gave up on it this year b/c BP has gone to a subscriber model, and you have to be a subscriber in order to get sortable stats on their page.


So that’s it.  Not sure if there’s much interest in this stuff but its something I track every eyar so I thought i’d post it.

26 Responses to 'Gold Glove awards versus advanced stats for 2019'

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  1. Usually with defense, it’s metrics vs. eye test. Maybe metrics are getting better? Of course now we have some cases were metrics actually rate some players better than the eye test does. Robles is a case in point. Yes, he has phenomenal range, but his instincts still seem a bit raw, and at times he actually overruns plays, or comes close to it. He’ll keep learning, though. Robles and Bader should be competing for CF Gold Gloves over the years to come.


    21 Dec 19 at 3:47 pm

  2. I was shocked to see Robles rated so highly in one of the advanced metrics. Sometimes the eye test fools you too 🙂

    Todd Boss

    21 Dec 19 at 3:56 pm

  3. Hey Sao — It looks like you’re getting (politely) beaten up over at Nats Talk for you pouring cold water on the Donaldson fanatics. I’m with you, man. He’s worth two years plus an option. Four years is crazy talk. I’m also in total agreement that a $25M outlay will hamstring the rest of roster construction. One of the major factors that carried the Nats through the rough patches and ultimately to a championship was the quality depth. They need at least two or three bench guys, one of whom may or may not be Zim. Depending on Difo and MAT isn’t a good plan.

    Plus the club hasn’t done anything yet to bolster the bullpen. Do we really want Rainey and Suero as the 8th-inning guys and Doo with no relief on the back end? I think not. There’s nothing wrong with hoping that Strickland and Elias can regain their form, but that’s not an actual plan. I also don’t blame them for not wanting to make too much of a commitment to Hudson since 2019 was the first time he had an ERA under 3.00 since 2010. If someone is deserving 2/$14M, that’s Harris much more than Hudson. At that price range, though, I’d like to have both of them, . . . which might be possible if we don’t tie up $25M in a rapidly aging 3B.

    Or are we just waiting on that trade for Giles?


    21 Dec 19 at 4:16 pm

  4. KW, I have nothing to say here since you’ve already said what I’m thinking. 🙂

    Mark L

    21 Dec 19 at 5:07 pm

  5. Thanks, Mark. Whether one likes Donaldson or not, or thinks four years is too many for him or not, I fear the Nats have too many holes to fill to put that many eggs of their remaining bucks into one basket.

    Keuchel to AL, leaving one less NL concern. Not sure why the Braves aren’t chasing starting pitching, but that’s their problem.

    Ryu is the only top starter left. I’ve had a secret fascination with him for the the Nats. As with signing Donaldson, adding another starter might not be the best use of limited resources, but that would give the Nats an insane rotation. If the Nats don’t get him, I hope he also drains to the AL.

    If the Nats don’t sign Donaldson, I would be shocked if they trade for Bryant. First and foremost, I don’t think they have the type of trade capital the Cubs would be seeking. They’ll be wanting something spectacular, even though they’d really help themselves with a package of Taylor (to replace Almora), Fedde, and Ross. That’s not the dazzle they’d want, though.

    As I’ve previously noted, I’m ambivalent on K. Seager. I just don’t think he’s going to be that much better than Cabrera/B. Dozier/C. Hernandez/Frazier et al., for twice the AAV hit and three times the actual salary. Someone like Brad Miller would come even cheaper.

    I would like to see the Nats add a quality hitter, but who knows who might be available for trade. We’ll see. They’ve got some flexibility with the positions they have open, although not really a starting spot in the OF.


    21 Dec 19 at 10:19 pm

  6. Oh, and back to Todd’s original post here, I just wanted to point out that the Nats took Fedde in the 2014 draft over Matt Chapman, who went seven picks later. There’s our missing third baseman!


    21 Dec 19 at 10:24 pm

  7. Ah thanks, KW and Mark — most of the folks at TalkNats are good fans with smart things to say, but there are a few I think have gotten tunnel vision on this and see Donaldson as the only way to replace Rendon’s production (which he probably won’t, while likely taking up more payroll space than Rendon did in ’19). Whatever happens, I just hope it happens soon. The arguments have become too familiar.

    Here’s a somewhat more novel debate to have: go for a big arm in relief who could be a co-closer, or aim for more of a setup type? And if we re-sign Hudson, is he the former or the latter? I love what Hudson did for the Nats, but the advanced stats certainly suggest the baseball gods were looking out for him.


    22 Dec 19 at 2:34 am

  8. I’m amazed at how little chatter I’ve seen in the Natosphere this winter about the need to upgrade the bullpen. On paper, it looks pretty darn suspect. We have a decent closer, but he breaks down if he has to be a 40+ save guy (or even a 30+ save guy), and he’s not getting any younger. Suero and Rainey have been reasonably effective, and still have some room to improve, but they’re not really back-end guys yet. Strickland and Elias have histories of being good, but they weren’t last year. Hudson, if he were to return, had a 1.44 ERA with the Nats, but a disturbing 4.68 xFIP.

    So yes, I’m very much on board with exploring a closer in the Giles or Yates mold. Preller may have blocked Rizzo’s cell number after the Turner/Ross heist, but you never know. Both Giles and Yates have only one year to go on their deals, with non-contending teams, and are owed less than even Hudson is seeking. I’d rather give up a couple of mid-level prospects for one of those guys than pay more to roll the dice on Betances. And while I would like to have Walt Harris, I can’t see him being worth $10M per as mostly a non-closer.


    22 Dec 19 at 8:04 am

  9. This is what I mean by “tunnel vision” — I see this refrain from some at TalkNats and MASN that the Nats need to sign Donaldson, and they can wait him out and/or meet his price because there are a bunch of second basemen and first basemen and relievers out there and none of them are that good and most of them will sign for cheap. But that elides the importance of these non-third base roster roles. These markets have been heating up, and whether it’s because we run out of payroll space or we run out of time waiting for Donaldson to make a decision, there is a big difference between signing someone like Starlin Castro or Dellin Betances, and signing someone like Jason Kipnis or Cory Gearrin.


    22 Dec 19 at 1:16 pm

  10. Yes, exactly. In fact, I’m beginning to get concerned about the Nats’ pace in filling all the holes they have. Rizzo is usually quicker and more efficient. But the Nats’ season ended late, and he got married, and he had to deal with the Stras and Rendon sagas . . .

    At the same time, not too many of the mid-level folks have come off the board yet, at least not at a price point I’d want them. Also, there’s not as many guys who would make sense on a championship squad as one might think. There’s also the calculation of whether the Nats caught peaks with guys like Cabrera and Hudson and risking a big fall-off if they bring them back. At the same time, who do you believe will bounce back? Betances? (Probably) S. Castro? (No) Adams? B. Dozier?

    I’m not on the Starlin Castro bandwagon. He wasn’t very good last season (91 wRC+, .300 OBP), plus his body language never impressed me. Some may give him a pass on that since he was stuck with the Marlins, but I think a lot of the other options we’ve discussed in the same price range would better. Davey was with the Cubs at the time they decided to move on from him, so he’d at least know that side of the story.

    By my count, the Nats have seven slots open on the 40-man, and probably two or three of the 33 will be traded or DFA’d before the season. That’s a lot of openings to fill. Of the seven, I’d break it out to 3 INF (incl. 1B), 1 OF, and 3 relievers. How you would sign Donaldson and then fill the other six for $13M, at around $2M per, I have no idea. Without JD, you’ve got an average of just over $6M per slot. A lot of pretty decent guys are in play in that price range who wouldn’t be at $2M.

    We’ll see. There are a lot of different directions Rizzo could go. I do think there will be at least two or three guys coming via trade, and I hope Taylor is leaving by trade to free up a little more salary room.


    22 Dec 19 at 3:48 pm

  11. A few related but somewhat random thoughts:

    — The Nats scored more runs than the Braves in 2019 and allowed fewer. The Nats have already lost their top hitter, and the Braves may end up losing theirs. So the Rendon loss may sort of be a wash if JD doesn’t end up back with the Braves. Meanwhile, the Braves have done nothing to strengthen their rotation (and lost Keuchel and Teheran), but they’ve invested heavily in their bullpen. The Nats bet big on their rotation, as usual.

    — The only real model for sustained championship success in the last decade is the Giants. (The Bosox almost completely rebuilt between their titles.) Look back at those Giant rosters sometime. They weren’t great. There were a lot more Kendrick/Cabrera types on those teams, “professional hitters,” than there were Buster Poseys. They also weren’t dominant regular-season teams, winning 92, 94, and 88 (WC) games in their title years.

    — Also over the decade, there’s not much evidence that big contracts for aging sluggers leads to championships. Pujols, Miggy, Cano, Ryan Howard (after their title), Prince Fielder, . . . I guess JD Martinez was big for the Bosox in ’18, but his contract ENDS at age 34, not BEGINS! But more often than not, the key signing/acquisition seems to have been someone like Zobrist (rings in ’15 & ’16, ’16 WS MVP) (although one could argue that he was paid too much and for too long).

    — I guess the collective point I’m getting around to here is that I don’t think the Nats need to be desperate to add a high-impact bat, either Donaldson or by trade. If one presents in trade, it’s worth exploring, but I don’t see such a player as make or break. For surviving 162 and just making the playoffs, I’m more concerned about the bullpen than I am the lineup.


    22 Dec 19 at 6:43 pm

  12. Ryu to the AL. I’m surprised that a team gave him four years, but I guess that’s what a second-tier team had to do to reel him in. Anyway, he could have shifted the NL power structure a bit if he’d gone back to the Dodgers or to the Braves, but he didn’t. The Nats will have a better rotation than either of them.

    I do wonder whether the market for a Fedde trade just increased as contending teams look at the FA board this morning and see Bailey, Nova, and Vargas as the “top” guys remaining. There are a lot of teams out there who think of themselves as contenders who did little or nothing to upgrade their rotations.


    23 Dec 19 at 8:20 am

  13. Very strange for the free agent market to run out of credible starters by Christmas. You’re not exaggerating those guys are what’s left of the market, and I don’t think they even merit guaranteed major league deals. I don’t know about Fedde — maybe — but dangling Ross couls be a smart move for us, especially if we’re trying to free up payroll for (ugh) Donaldson.


    23 Dec 19 at 11:05 am

  14. I think Sao is right, Fedde won’t have much value (nor Voth) but if Ross did, I’d consider it. Depends on the return, obviously.

    I’m kind of shocked at the Ryu contract, feels desperate.

    Last out of the box idea (maybe): Castellanos @ 4/$56m to play mostly 1B, a little corner OF as needed, and 18 games as a DH. What say you smarter-than-I folks? I like JDM better, but Castellanos only costs $.


    23 Dec 19 at 11:52 am

  15. Yes, you have to feel a lot better about the Nats rotation now that the free agent starter market is done.
    I especially like that the Braves & Phillies are way short on starters.
    There’s going to be a lot of desperate teams in January.

    Mark L

    23 Dec 19 at 2:50 pm

  16. Boz also made the point in his chat today that the primary rivals in the NL haven’t really improved. He does think Donaldson is giving the Braves the chance to match whatever best offer he receives.

    Wally, I’ve been trying to think of ways to add a bat like Castellanos, Ozuna (QO killing his market?), or even Calhoun in some sort of 1B platoon/reserve OF role. I guess J.D. Martinez would fit the same billing. Not exactly ideal fits, but those free agents aren’t getting the action they probably expected, so it wouldn’t hurt to kick the tires.

    Among guys who do fit, Cesar Hernandez has come off the board. He’s had a decent bat, but for the Nats’ purposes, they’d prefer someone who isn’t just tied to 2B. Perhaps his number helps set the price for Cabrera and Dozier.

    I wonder whether Brad Miller would take a minor-league contract. He intrigues me for some reason, I guess all the defensive flexibility. Pretty high K numbers, but decent pop.


    23 Dec 19 at 9:19 pm

  17. From Boz’s chat:

    I’m as fascinated as everybody else at when Josh Donaldson will sign — especially since the bidding range seems so well established at $90-to-$100M for four years. The Nats definitely want him and think that their strong clubhouse could handle his big personality — after all, Adam Eaton’s high-energy, high-heat personality wasn’t to everyone’s taste — yet those were qualities that the Nats WANTED when they got him.

    The Dodgers keep whiffing on everybody they want. Ryu, one of their Big Three last year, has gone to non-contender Toronto. They were in on Rendon — maybe didn’t know how much he didn’t want to be “Hollywood.” The Dodgers are still the BIG hurdle in ’20 for everybody. As Kershaw keeps showing more cracks, they may feel they just have to BUY SOMEBODY. And Donaldson is the only real all-around high-quality piece available.

    The Donaldson market may be stalled because there is a sense that he will give the Braves a last chance to match the last-best offer he gets. Nobody likes to join that kind of auction where there’s a sense that the player is actually happy where he is — with the 97-win Braves.

    But the Braves’ picture is weakening as they subtract Dallas Keuchel ($55M/3yr, White Sox) and Julio Teheran ($9M/1-yr, Angels), both solid rotation pieces last year. Take away Donaldson and they have reasons to worry even though adding FA Will Smith for 3 years helps their bullpen and FA Cole Hamels may have a year’s worth of Keuchel-like production in him.

    Though the Yanks are much improved with Gerritt Cole, the overall story of the winter is that talent has drifted down from top teams –like the Astros, Nats and Dodgers — to average or poor teams. MLB is FAR from parity. But this is a welcome return toward baseball-normal and a VERY good sign that chances of a work stoppage after ’21 are going down. This pleases me — okay, not the astronomical salaries, but the direction of the player movement — as much as it also surprises me. Whatever happened to “analytics told us to give up, so WE QUIT — for the next 3-4-5 years.”

    The Nats model has actually helped the price of pitching go up — way up.

    However, veteran everyday players are still available in quantity. And there may be a point where, even if the Nats are confident that Carter Kieboom had to hold down either 2d or 3rd base, that they will need to decide if they need to lock up a couple of ’19 infielders from the group of ACabrera, Dozier, Zimmerman and Matt Adams (still only 31).


    23 Dec 19 at 9:25 pm

  18. I forgot to address the pitcher trade thing. Fedde was a highly rated prospect for several years. I doubt many teams still believe that rating now, but all it would take would be one that does to give us a quality return for him.

    Let’s take it a step further, though — if the Nats really have faith in Voth (and McGowin/Crowe/M Sanchez), could they consider packaging Ross AND Fedde? I doubt they would do it, but considering all the teams out there that are (or at least should be) desperate for starting pitching, and how bad the remaining free agents are, the Nats should have an opportunity to get a decent return for Fedde and/or Ross.

    I’d rather trade Fedde, but I agree with the sentiment that Ross has more value. Ross is also problematic with the Nats if he can’t beat out Voth for 5th starter, as Todd pointed out recently that Ross has been significantly better starting than he has been in relief.

    I have no idea how much value Fedde or Ross would have. I do know that the Nats could sweeten a deal with Taylor, Difo (of little value), and a host of mid-level minor-league arms. They do have some close-to-MLB-ready guys in Crowe, Sanchez, and Braymer, all of whom were great at AA last year but struggled in the wilds of the PCL. Crowe rated surprisingly high in the scouting-driven Fangraphs’ Nats prospects rankings recently posted. If other teams think that well of him, I’d consider moving him, as I don’t believe the FG comp on him of Roark.


    24 Dec 19 at 8:09 am

  19. I think they should keep Taylor for $3m, especially if they don’t get JD and aren’t squeezed for space. Taylor’s flaws are well known but his defense and speed alone will provide .5 WAR, which is all that is, and the drop off to Stevenson is significant. Our OF isn’t necessarily the sturdiest and I’d expect some DL time for one or two.


    24 Dec 19 at 12:11 pm

  20. Agreed, the way Robles plays I doubt he is more of a 120 game a season player. Taylor is still the best centerfielder in baseball, with Victor quickly becoming 1A.

    Mark L

    24 Dec 19 at 12:36 pm

  21. Betances to the Mets. A little pricey for the injury risk but if he’s healthy, he’s tremendous. You can say that about 3/4s of their staff, really. They could be a powerhouse, or because they are the Mets, just bleh. I pulling for bleh.

    NL East is going to be pretty tough this year. Might be the toughest top to bottom in baseball. Them and AL West maybe.


    24 Dec 19 at 1:47 pm

  22. There aren’t a lot of divisions other than the NL East where four teams are “trying” and are well funded. I didn’t think Betances was worth the risk vs. price tag, but we’ll see, but yes, if he’s fully back, he’ll be very good. The Mets seem to prefer gambles over logical upgrades.

    Taylor had a wRC+ of 73 at the MLB level last season, struck out 35% of the time, had a negative defensive rating, and spent half the season at AA, where he hit only .248. Sorry, but he’s not worth $3.75, and the Nats wasted $3.25M on him last season. If he was a FA, would you sign him for 2/$7M? Heck no. If you want defense, replace him with Kevin Pillar for half the price. Or just go with Stevenson and Yadiel Hernandez. (I’m not a huge Stevenson fan, either, but his success at the MLB level last season as a pinch hitter was impressive, and potentially useful.)

    We’ll see. It’s interesting how many guys have come off the board before Christmas. It’s also interesting how relatively inactive Rizzo has been thus far, particularly with so much of the roster still left to fill. Is he really being held hostage by Donaldson? It’s possible that he is, as the Nats wouldn’t be able to afford many of the $5-7M guys we’ve discussed if JD ends up on South Capitol.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!


    24 Dec 19 at 2:32 pm

  23. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and everyone else, as well.

    I know you dislike MAT for the price (maybe at any price) and I get the offensive concerns. But I don’t think it’s fair to knock his defense. Last year was the only one he was even slightly below average, and he played less than 160 innings. That’s literally one missed fly ball that a stat guy thought he should have caught. Every other year he’s been plus to elite on defense and I think it’s safe to say he’s a good defender.

    I’d be fine with Pillar instead. Can you get him for $1.75m? Sign me up, actually I’d be ok paying him the $3.75m MAT is likely to get. But we need someone who can play CF for a stretch. I just shudder to think that Stevenson plays 50 games if Robles breaks his hand or something. Yes, I’d rather have MAT in that case.

    It does seem like Rizzo is waiting out JD. He seems to like him more than some of us do, but the guy has earned some deference at this stage.


    24 Dec 19 at 3:33 pm

  24. I completely agree that the Nats need a legit CF option to back up Robles. He has significant history of getting himself hurt, with HBP and diving in the OF. I think Taylor would be a Difo-like liability playing every day, though. Not great FA options, however — Pillar, Dyson, Billy Hamilton. I would think that Adam Jones’s days in CF are in the past, judging by his very negative defensive numbers for his last two years in Balto.

    Stevenson was a CF in college and has been logging the majority of his minor-league innings there for the Nats. He has the speed to play center, but not much of an arm. I would trust Stevenson slightly more at the plate than Taylor, less in the field, but probably not so much less that I’d pay the $3M difference to carry Taylor instead of him.

    I think Stevenson will be on the 26-man unless he really stinks in the spring. I think they’ll also have another OF on the roster, and I doubt it will be Taylor. The days of Kendrick in LF are probably over, other than for emergency purposes. Maybe they bring in another 1B who can also stand in LF every now and then, a la Adams? Brad Miller, maybe?


    25 Dec 19 at 10:14 pm

  25. The problem with all of these discussions about center fielders and second basemen and first basemen and relievers and fifth starters is the same: Mike Rizzo appears to be, at least from the outside, willing to go to such great lengths to sign a player who likely will take up nearly all of our remaining payroll space, he’s put all other roster upgrades on hold while Donaldson makes up his mind.

    I’m hoping Donaldson goes elsewhere anyway. Sometimes Rizzo’s Plan B/C works out a lot better than his Plan A.


    26 Dec 19 at 1:35 pm

  26. Sao — exactly. That’s my biggest concern with Donaldson: that he will eat up the budget to fill out the roster with quality guys.


    27 Dec 19 at 8:56 am

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