Nationals Arm Race

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

Rendon signs with LAA: now what for the Nats?


Rendon's lasting legacy will be his amazing 2019 post season late inning performances. Photo via

Rendon’s lasting legacy will be his amazing 2019 post season late inning performances. Photo via

I’m not the only one writing about this particular question today, but its the biggest question the team has faced in a while.

Incumbent 3B Anthony Rendon, who before the season was thought in most circles to have no chance of matching Nolan Arenado‘s 8yr/$260M deal ($32.5M AAV), got a slightly shorter but higher AAV deal with zero deferred dollars by signing a 7yr/$245M ($35M AAV) deal with the Angels.

As we noted, Rendon made himself a whole lotta money in the post season.  And he blows past the reported 7yr/$215M deal with significant deferred dollars (the Nat’s specialty) to stay here.

Nats ownership warned us they may not be able to retain both players, and now we know for sure.   Despite tens of millions of dollars of expected new revenues flowing into the team, they still are beholden to the imaginary luxury tax line (thanks MLBPA!) and using it as a budget as opposed to a guideline for retaining home grown (but expensive) talent.

So now what?

Options seem to be:

  1. Play Howie Kendrick at 3B?    He actually played nearly 100 innings at 3B this past season, didn’t make an error and had a decent UZR/150 and -2 DRS in a SSS sampling.  I know he’s still athletic and in shape, but he’s a 2B/LF guy.  He’s really not even tall enough to play 1B (he’s not even 6’0″).  I think our defense takes a huge hit if he’s at third.  BUT … it guarantees his bat in the lineup and allows the Nats to buy a big bopper 1B FA guy to hit in the middle of the order.  Is it worth an experiment?
  2. Hand the keys to 3B for the next six years to Carter Kieboom?   per Fangraphs, Kieboom played all of 10 games at third for AAA Fresno this  year.  He made four errors in those 10 games.  Not quite as bad as his defensive show playing SS for the big club last April; 10 games, 4 fielding errors, -7 DRS (in other words, he basically cost the team two full wins by defensive runs cost).   So, how is it possible he was THAT bad playing SS in the majors (where the fields are astronomically better than in the minors) and hasn’t been moved off the position yet to someplace like 2B or 3B where he can do less damage?   Anyway; decision time has come.  His hitting numbers in AAA were great: .303/.409/.493 and a 123 wRC+.  that’s great; everyone’s hitting numbers are great in the PCL.  What does that tell us?  Can he start at 3B in the majors next year?  Its a $25M question, because if he can’t, the next best alternative will be….
  3. Win the Josh Donaldson sweepstakes for the honor of paying him $25M/year (or more) as he rockets into his mid 30s.  He just finished a show-me season in Atlanta in his age 33 season and thrived; now he’s looking for a 3-4 year deal at $25 per… is this what you want to commit to if you’re the Nats?  We’re not the only team out there now desperate for a starting 3B.  Philly, Atlanta, Texas, Los Angeles Dodgers, even the Mets all went into this season with a big checkbook looking to win Rendon (or at least a quality 3B).  Now what?  Do we pay the money for this guy?  On the one hand, buying him weakens our biggest divisional rival (Atlanta) and blocks him from two other likely NL East rivals, both of whom might have interest.  On the other hand, we buy Donaldson that’s a huge chunk of our remaining cap space (roughly $39m in my spreadsheet, probably slightly more once we figure out how MLB values Strasburg‘s contract on an AAV basis).
  4. Trade for Kris Bryant, the rumor of the week.   He made $12.9M last year, probably jumps up to at least $16M in arbitration after another All Star season in 2019, and currently in the midst of a dispute over the most blatant service time manipulation case we’ve seen in the last decade.  I’m guessing personally that he does NOT win the service time dispute and gains a 4th arb year, meaning that anyone trading for him gets two years of control.  Now; do we want to empty what is left in our dwindling farm system for two years of Bryant?   Lets be honest here; he’s a crummy defender whose defensive bWAR component cost him more than a win and who has negative advanced fielding metrics across the board.  The Cubs had him in LF for more than 100 innings this year, and he was even worse out there.  If you are willing to put up with a crummy defensive component at 3B to gain a big bat … isn’t that Kendrick for 1/3rd the cost?  Or perhaps Kieboom for 1/25th of the cost?  I’m not saying its apples for apples; after all Bryant was nearly a 5-win player by fWAR last  year even with defensive issues.  He’s a big middle of the order, former MVP, former 2nd overall pick.  You’re going to pay for him.  But at this point in the Nats lifecycle … with so little in the farm … do you want to blow it out for 2 years of a gun for hire with no ties to the city?
  5. Trade for some other 3B: who knows who else is out there for the having, or what they’d cost.  Its impossible to speculate; lots of teams that I thougth were already tanking for 2020 are signing starters to 8 figure deals this offseason.
  6. Sign a lesser FA 3B: there’s two dozen FA 3B out there right now.   Todd Frazier wasn’t bad last year.  Starlin Castro can hit and could be a one year bridge to a prospect.  Ben Zobrist may be old but he can still play 7 positions and may still produce.  None of these guys would break the bank and could allow for the pursuit of a more expensive 1B option (which then allows you to put Kendrick at 2B, where he’s not great defensively but at least its what he knows).

What would I do?

I dunno.  I like going with the prospect but Kieboom’s debut was not hope-inspiring.  I like Kendrick at 3B to buy a 1B … but it has to be the right bat.  I like keeping what prospect depth we have in lieu of trading for Bryant.  I like the thought of a one year solution in a lesser 3B free agent, allowing Kendrick to 1B/2B and buying what we don’t have and enabling Kieboom to get more minors time.

Lots of options here.

33 Responses to 'Rendon signs with LAA: now what for the Nats?'

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  1. No to Castro — OBP only .300, low wRC+ of 91, walk rate of only 4.1% (2019 stats). He’s pretty mediocre, despite the 22 HRs.

    I don’t hate the thought of Kendrick getting some time at 3B, but he’s a half-time player, and like Todd, I doubt his SSS defense will hold up. Cabrera has 1,200 MLB innings at 3B with a UZR/150 at +2, with it at +4.6 for his 812 innings there in 2019. They could do worse than that.

    I’m not a big fan of the Toddfather, but he’d come a lot cheaper than several of the other options. I’d probably take him over Castro or Franco.

    I know folks want an instant replacement, but if I had to guess, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kieboom is standing by 3B on opening day. If they were to bring back Cabrera, and possibly Dozier as well if Cabrera is going to be moving around the infield, then they’d at least have some fallback options if the rookie struggles.


    12 Dec 19 at 11:44 am

  2. I do want to say that I’m not particularly upset that the Nats didn’t pony up to meet or exceed what Rendon is getting to go finish his career in obscurity with the Halos. We had a good debate on the last post about how bringing him back would probably put them over the tax line for the next two years.

    That said, the team/ownership just got a massive windfall from winning the WS, so they darn well better spend most of that ~$41M they have left under the tax line.


    12 Dec 19 at 11:54 am

  3. I think bringing back Cabrera is a no-brainer and really allows for flexibility between positions, including days when it is best to try Howie at 3B.
    That does not mean this would be the only move, but he checks so many boxes needed for a repeat championship run.

    I’m no fan of replacement filler (Castro, Frazier, Dozier). No more 19-31 starts, and that kind of setup will create that risk.

    Better to see this as an opportunity to introduce new major ingredients to the cast, as one does an ensemble. This requires a trade (or Donaldson), and the pieces are there for a trade.

    I’m OK with Donaldson and not too scared about his injury history, because there was a time Rendon was hurt as well. And of course, Howie came back from an Achilles tear and at an older age. The fact is that Donaldson was a thoroughly dominant player as recently as 2017, and his hard hit rate last year was that of a real thumper. He’s a two way player and defense is needed to win championships.

    The Nats have been successful with their high end big contracts and free agency signings, so we will have to trust them and their evaluation of Donaldson. They certainly showed a good feel for picking up older ML talent in recent years that can still play. Donaldson has to be hungry for a World Series and if he is a fiery player that fits a clubhouse, that adds to his skill set.

    As for the leftover $, let’s get out in front of Soto’s career now. His agent may be Boras, but one has to think that the Nats would now gladly pay what they could have signed Rendon for a year ago. And Soto will only get better.


    12 Dec 19 at 12:20 pm

  4. Todd Boss

    12 Dec 19 at 12:46 pm

  5. I wasn’t nearly as much on the Sharp bandwagon as some others were. We’ll see. He’ll be in the same division, with the Marlins.


    12 Dec 19 at 12:53 pm

  6. I had a rundown of some of the options over at Given Donaldson’s price tag (added to the fact I’ve just never liked him, personally), I think right now I’d like to see the Nats try to swing a trade and keep some cash free to upgrade the bullpen and add a few more infield pieces.

    I’m not excited about Kyle Seager’s batting average, but the numbers say he’s a consistently above-average hitter, and he’s never hit fewer than 20 home runs in a season despite playing in a fairly spacious park. His contract went bad a couple years ago, and Jerry Dipoto would trade his own mother if he could. I don’t think he’d cost much in trade, and especially if the Nats could get the Mariners to eat a meaningful fraction of his salary, his CBT hit would be more than $10M under what Donaldson’s is likely to be.

    If we’re aiming a little higher, Eduardo Escobar is interesting. If Arizona is dealing, they might be open to trading him, or trading Jake Lamb, who hasn’t been good in a couple of years now but might just need a change of scenery. Escobar would take one of our blue-chippers to get done, I think. Lamb would be cheap, but he’s no sure thing, obviously.

    Elsewhere around the horn, Holt, Cabrera, and Smoak top my list. Wilmer Flores and Yolmer Sanchez are also interesting, one with a big bat and one with a gold glove.


    12 Dec 19 at 1:06 pm

  7. Sao — yes, very good rundown of 3B options at Nats Talk.

    You know, I wanted to cry when the A’s traded Donaldson and we didn’t get him. But that was five years ago, and none of us is getting any younger. Maybe Donaldson has four more above-average years in him, but I really doubt it. I’d say probably two, plus at some point, he’ll probably have to move to 1B. I don’t know. He’s by far and away the best option out there . . . for 2020, but beyond that, who knows? My guess is that he wants to go back to the Braves anyway (went to college at Auburn, less than two hours from ATL), unless the Dodgers blow him away with a deal. (As for the clubhouse questions about him, Hale and possibly Doo overlapped with him in OAK, and Gomes did with him in CLE. So they’ve got plenty of firsthand intel on that front.)

    The other thing that concerns me about Donaldson is the price tag. The Nats have ~$41 under the tax line, but if Josh gets $25M, they’re down to $16M. They still need some guys like Hudson (probably at least $7M), Cabrera ($5-7M), another bench bat, maybe the Zim reunion ($2-4M). Basically, if they got Josh, there wouldn’t be much flexibility for anything new/more. Admittedly, Harris and Hudson are the only FA bullpen pieces who really interest me, unless there was some deep discount for Betances (unlikely).


    12 Dec 19 at 1:41 pm

  8. I wouldn’t hate Kyle Seager if the M’s ate $5-7M per season. The M’s are a team that could desperately use a Fedde or Ross, and possibly an MAT as well.

    Speaking of Fedde and Ross, I do wonder if Fedde’s miraculous 4th option year now makes Ross more expendable. Overall, I like Ross more than I do Fedde.


    12 Dec 19 at 1:49 pm

  9. Reports are that Donaldson is seeking the biggest deal, but all things being equal, he wants to stay in Atlanta. He’s a Southern good old boy — I believe he makes his offseason home in Alabama — so both staying in Florida for spring training and Georgia for the season would certainly hold appeal for him.

    I mean, it seems like Mike Rizzo wants him, and if we get him, I’ll try to learn to like him. But I think that a four-year deal for a 34-year-old with a bad leg is just a disaster waiting to happen. I get that our options behind him are thin, but they’re not nonexistent, and having some financial flexibility heading into the season isn’t the worst idea in the world considering the number of mid-level teams that are trying to contend this year (spoiler alert: most of them can’t and won’t).


    12 Dec 19 at 2:06 pm

  10. If signing Donaldson keeps him out of LA or Atlanta, that’s no reason to invest. But if he ends up at either destination, or even in Philadelphia, I’ll view any such team as improved. That speaks to his value.

    He’s not damaged as he was last winter. He’s an elite athlete who regained his health. In that regard, if he only had Boras to embellish him, we’d be having a different conversation.


    12 Dec 19 at 2:35 pm

  11. When I scan the FA list, and keep seeing a couple of names on there, I do wonder whether we’re overthinking this. Maybe the Nats are as well. They could probably bring back Cabrera and Dozier for a collective amount of around $10-12M. Tell them, and Kendrick as well, that they’ll all be getting looks at 3B, 2B, and 1B in the spring. Tell Kieboom to work out at both 3B and 2B. Then put them on the field and see who looks best at which slots.

    Does that scenario compensate for the loss of one of the best all-around players in the game? No, of course not. But it also doesn’t stick them with a big contract of an older player. Plus it would leave them with ~$30M to use to recoup WAR in other areas.

    Really, with this combination, they’d probably be at least as good as they would be with adding someone like Castro, Franco, Hernandez, or Frazier. They also have no doubts about how Dozier and Cabrera fit in the clubhouse.

    Like Fore, I want Cabrera back regardless of the plan. He’s still SS-capable enough to be the safety net for Trea as well.


    12 Dec 19 at 3:11 pm

  12. I love our 2019 team, but I am a little bit concerned about trying to rebuild it piece for piece. Hudson was far better in his three months as a Nat than he’s been at any point in his career, ever, and I always get a little nervous about that. Ditto Cabrera, who is actually the same age as Donaldson, although he’s been more durable in his career and won’t get even close to as large of a commitment.

    There’s a persuasive argument that it’s really Donaldson or bust at this point; we’re neck-and-neck with the Braves, and if one of us gets Donaldson, that shifts the balance of power in a way done by no one else who is likely to come to the NL East. Donaldson is the only viable choice in free agency as an impact player at either third or second base, and the quality options at first base aren’t voluminous either.

    But I’m concerned about Donaldson for a couple of reasons.

    One, I think the Nats worked very well this past season as a unit, and there were anonymous player quotes in more than one piece suggesting that while Bryce Harper wasn’t a problem in the clubhouse, he also stood apart from the rest of the team and was treated differently. Josh Donaldson reminds me of no other player more than he does Harper (fitting they won MVP the same year). They both come off as narcissists, hotheads, and mercenaries. This year’s team was about the team. I don’t know how Donaldson fits into that. Maybe I just have the wrong impression of him.

    Two, anytime you’re signing a player to a multiyear deal that takes him past 34-35 or so, you’re assuming a significant amount of risk. Some guys are ageless or even play their best in the twilight of their career, like Howie Kendrick has. But we know who those guys are and we can name them. Far more legion are the players who quietly fade from relevance. Who, now, fears Miguel Cabrera? He turned 36 earlier this year. His last full season with an OPS over .800? It was when he was 33, the same age Donaldson was this past season.


    12 Dec 19 at 7:31 pm

  13. Please no to Dozier. He strikes out a ton. Excruciating long cold streaks. And he was basically benched last third of season for Cabrera. Dozier had some of the ugliest ab’s and swings and misses we’ve had since Espinosa. We got way better last season when Dozier was finally marginalized to a defensive replacement.

    Marty C

    12 Dec 19 at 7:40 pm

  14. I pretty much agree that Donaldson is probably the only field FA left who could really shift the quality of a lineup. I also agree that his optics aren’t great, and also that paying a guy with a bad leg, and who used to catch, until he’s 38 isn’t a good recipe. About the only qualifier I can offer in return is that Hale and Doolittle were with him in OAK, and Gomes was with him in CLE, and Rizzo has been good in the past about checking with former teammates before acquiring guys.

    I also don’t discount the concerns about all the Nats who caught lightning in a bottle last season, including Cabrera and Hudson. Plus while Marty may scoff at Dozier, his .340 OBP was miles ahead of that of stiffs like Franco (.297) and Castro (.300), who I want no part of.

    Here’s the deal, though. Look at this list:

    Dozier is the #2 2B FA by bWAR (and Steamer has Sogard falling off a cliff in ’20, behind Dozier). Cabrera is the highest unsigned 3B by bWAR despite being awful for 2/3 of a season. He posted 2/3 of his WAR in 38 games! And he still equaled (bWAR) or topped (fWAR) Frazier. Steamer does like Cesar Hernandez to be in the mix with Dozier and Cabs at 2B, but not with a lot of pop.

    Scroll on down to relievers, and among the unsigned, it goes Harris, Romo (no), Hudson. “Our guys,” no matter how rightfully suspicious we are of them duplicating their success, are among the best available. I think we’ll probably get at least a couple more of them back.

    Of course there’s also a lot of trade buzz . . .


    12 Dec 19 at 9:25 pm

  15. KW

    12 Dec 19 at 9:26 pm

  16. I’ve noted before that I’m curious about Bryant, but how can a fair price be set when no one knows whether he comes with two years of control, or just one? As Todd noted, what the Cubs did with him should have been punished, hard, at the time, and he should have been granted the year then. It’s nuts that MLB is STILL messing around with this.


    12 Dec 19 at 9:30 pm

  17. I’m sure I was disagreeing with you abut Espinosa too, who had many fans on this board. Yes I scoff at Dozier. Even though he walked a little. Just a terribly inconsistent contact guy. Any yes anyone who pull swings as hard as he does and misses the ball by 3 feet like he does is going to luck into some over hundreds of at bats. But if you think he’s a good hitter, we’re not watching the same way. I watched every game and there are no stats that can convince me he was an asset. We got really good when he left the lineup.

    Marty C

    12 Dec 19 at 10:46 pm

  18. Looks like the Kyle Seager rumor mill is a-churning. No teams have been explicitly linked to him yet. I still think the likely outcome is he goes to another 3B-thirsty team and the Nats make the Donaldson mistake. But I’m hoping we short-circuit this entire thing, get Seager, and use the rest of the money to make upgrades around the roster.


    13 Dec 19 at 12:28 am

  19. Sao, you have to think that if the Nats’ heart was totally in on Donaldson, the deal would be done by now. They were rumored to be talking with him well before Rendon signed. Perhaps they were talking three years at that time and the fourth one gave them pause. Who knows? It does sound like they’re exploring trades, but those also give me pause, as they don’t have much blue-chip talent in the minors. You would figure that a team like the Cubs would HAVE to get a high-profile piece or two in return for Bryant, to save face, even though one year of him (which is how I’m assuming it will shake out) isn’t worth a Kieboom or a Rutledge.

    I do think the Nats will make a big move, either Donaldson or trade, but it’s really hard to say which would be “best,” or “least worse.”

    Marty, Dozier’s 2019 OBP of .340, 12.7% BB rate, and 21.8% K rate are all better than anything Danny the K ever posted in the majors. He’s not the second coming of Espinosa, who I came to despise. That said, I’m not in the tank for Dozier by any means, and I doubt he’ll be back with the Nats in 2020. I’m merely pointing out that among free agents, he’s better than several of the other options being bandied about, like Castro and Franco.


    13 Dec 19 at 7:59 am

  20. You know, unless there’s some clubhouse/chemisty issue with Donaldson, he would be a great addition to the lineup for 2020 and 2021. The concern comes when he’s 37 and 38, on the back end of the contract. Can he still play a credible 3B then? I doubt it. So he turns into one of these 1B/DH types who can’t get $5M despite 35 homers.

    The other potential problem I see with a Donaldson signing is that if he get $25M — or even more, considering the alleged bidding war for him — that will really hamstring the Nat budget. I see that Ghost has the remaining cash at around $38M, and Todd has it at $40-41M I think, but whatever it is, if they only have $13-15M left after signing Donaldson, they’re going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to fill out the rest of the roster. At minimum, they still need a Cabrera type, a Hudson type, and perhaps a Parra type (unless Yadiel Hernandez gets a real look). The hope had been that they would be able to get Hudson plus at least one more decent reliever.

    We’ll see. There’s so much buzz that it seems like something will happen soon. Just bargain carefully on Friday the 13th!


    13 Dec 19 at 8:25 am

  21. any evaluation of Kieboom should take into account the state of the team at the time he was playing.


    13 Dec 19 at 9:09 am

  22. My 2 cents on Donaldson: defensively he was stellar in 2019, irrespective of his age. He was 2nd in the league in DRS: he’s still playing gold glove level defense at third. I don’t think that was a one-off; he’s always been a top-level defender.

    Clubhouse issues with Donaldson? there’s more than a few points of evidence that he’s a problem. He was listed as a “problem” in Oakland, leading to his trade to Toronto. In toronto he was alternatively listed as a “leader” in a troubled clubhouse, but ther’es also no-apologies features on him where he patently says he doesn’t care how many enemies he makes. There’s a very clear story about his inclusion to Atlanta and how Freeman had to talk to him, and how his ‘in your face” personna is problemantic.

    So this isn’t just a one-off. honestly; it doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who would fit in with the loose atmosphere they cultivated last season with Kendrick and Eaton and Suzuki and Parra.

    Todd Boss

    13 Dec 19 at 10:44 am

  23. I do fear the clubhouse issue with Donaldson. As I’ve said, Doolittle and Chip Hale were in Oakland with him, and Gomes was with him in Cleveland. It would be nuts if Rizzo & Co. didn’t consult those guys and get the inside story.

    Of course Werth supposedly told Rizzo that the DC Strangler would fit in fine, and we saw how that turned out!


    13 Dec 19 at 10:54 am

  24. We’ll find out soon enough whether Rizzo is using Donaldson as a decoy in trade discussions and negotiations. The clubhouse issues would be the reason to string this along until a rival GM gets impatient and blinks.

    There may need to be other dominoes falling with teams trading assets and opening up pitching needs. I love Voth, for example, but for a true superstar, and see how Devers crept into the TalkNats conversation, I’d include him in a mega trade that send young talent line Kieboom over. To me, the only minor league untouchable is Rutledge, though I would be reluctant to part with Garcia. I think at this time next year he will be a mega prospect, based on what I’ve seen.


    13 Dec 19 at 11:05 am

  25. I trust Rizzo when he is patient and knows what he wants. This is no trading deadline in season. This is when we can be patient and let him do what he is going to do and earn his own next raise.


    13 Dec 19 at 11:07 am

  26. The Nationals talked themselves into Papelbon as a fit for the clubhouse. If JD is foul, hopefully Rizzo holds his assets. Of course, if he is not, then Braves would be serious players.

    What we will never know is if Braves are slow-playing him like Nats did Harper. In which case, hello LA.


    13 Dec 19 at 11:12 am

  27. If Rizzo didn’t learn his lesson from the Papelbon incident, then he never will.

    Todd Boss

    13 Dec 19 at 11:25 am

  28. The Dodgers are as reliable as the Red Sox for flushing money down the commode. Of course, both the Red Sox and Dodgers have made great pickups along the way as they emulate the Evil Empire Yankees of the Steinbrenner era.

    It’s about time the Nationals rebuild their farm system into the juggernaut that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers have had. Something is missing that is a comparatively minimum investment, and I hope they make that step – or continue it if it has already begun (building off the success in Latin America and its turnaround).


    13 Dec 19 at 12:03 pm

  29. I hadn’t heard that stuff about Donaldson clashing with teammates. I had heard he and Billy Beane didn’t get along, but I assumed that was a one-off. I just don’t like the guy very much; these “fiery” players who like to start fights and brag in the press and give themselves “cool” nicknames leave me cold, and Donaldson is that guy. If he’s actually a cancer on top of that, then that’s worse.


    13 Dec 19 at 12:37 pm

  30. We need to appreciate the nuance here. Harper was not a cancer. But he was altogether undesirable on a subtext level – the team wanted him back, but…meh. There are other players who are not really wanted in the clubhouse (think Jeremy Giambi in Moneyball, or Eaton-Frazier), and we never hear about them, because in the fraternity of baseball, it’s not discussed because no one wants to screw a player. So I think that to call him a cancer would be way over the top. I mean, Felipe Rivero ended up changing his name and then revealing pedophilia – after getting into a fistfight with a teammate> Now THAT’S obvious.

    The fiery think is also a double-edged quality. Max is fiery. Look how it helps the team. And interesting that the Papelbon meltdown was with no less than Bryce Harper — for his being lazy, when no one would call him out. So it’s complicated. Enough confirmed that Werth called him the DC Strangler (LOL).

    The takeaway here is that part of Rizzo’s credo is building a clubhouse with special personalities, and that’s what gave the team character. He repeatedly says, “Care about the name on the front of the jersey more than the name on the back.” So I think that aroma doesn’t play here, and can play just Sterling elsewhere, whether it is JD or whether the JD stuff is just chatter by worthless muckrackers with a pen like Svrluga (who made a living off of “nobody wants to play for the Nats” bullshayt).

    Insofar as media, fake or merely sniveling, instigates slander, we’ll never know unless a guy gets arrested, uses PEDS, or throws a tantrum on the mound. Or, of course, talks to the Washington Compost.


    13 Dec 19 at 12:53 pm

  31. And by the way, those of us who have ever had to sign non-disclosures would agree with my position that if a guy on my team chattered gossip to the press or bellyached to a bottom-feeding columnist, i’d ship his arse to a last place team for a bag of balls, too.


    13 Dec 19 at 12:56 pm

  32. My objection to Donaldson is mostly the contract he wants. I don’t like Wilmer Flores, either, but I’d sign him for cheap in a part-time role. I didn’t particularly like Jeremy Hellickson, but that low-cost, low-risk signing made a lot of sense in spring 2018.

    Donaldson would be a huge gamble, based on his age and health. Sure, the fact I don’t like him on a fan level makes it easy to root against a deal coming together with him; I’m certainly not torn between my head and my heart, which I was with Strasburg. But even if it were a 34-year-old I really liked and admired, a nine-figure contract is just crazy. Come on.


    13 Dec 19 at 1:23 pm

  33. Sao — I agree: it’s the likely 4/$100M that is the biggest mental hurdle for me with Donaldson. If the Nats had signed Rendon, they would have had no choice but to go past the tax line to fill out the rest of the team. They wouldn’t do that with JD, which may leave them signing some suboptimal guys.

    The me, the biggest vulnerability is still the bullpen. Praying that Strickland and Elias recapture their past glory doesn’t constitute a “plan.” I’m fascinated by Harris and would like to have Hudson back, but I don’t think either is worth “closer money,” or even Trenien money. If they sign JD, I’m not even sure they’d have the $6-7M that Hudson likely wants.

    I also hope they will bring back Cabrera, as a super sub if nothing else. I have no idea what he wants, or Zim either.

    Donaldson has all of baseball over a barrel right now because there’s no other hitter on the FA market in the same class. For teams needing a 3B, there’s a huge gap in free agents between him and whoever is #2. I think he’s getting four years, maybe with an option beyond that, and probably at least $25M per. That number would really hamstring the Nats.


    13 Dec 19 at 2:10 pm

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