Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Home Perspectives Welcome to 2021, and the Washington Nationals To-Do list is pretty long.

Welcome to 2021, and the Washington Nationals To-Do list is pretty long.

Pitchers and catchers report in 42 days, and only 2 of the top 25 free agents have signed so far and the Washington Nationals have a lot of work to do to be ready. Here is our to-do list.

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The Washington Nationals staff have been pretty quiet so far this offseason. The only splash the Nationals have made is trading for 1st baseman Josh Bell from the Pirates on Christmas Eve. 

With Spring Training supposed to be starting on time and pitchers and catchers planning on reporting next month, the to-do list for the Nationals is still pretty long. 

We figured that we offer a couple of to-do list items and some recommendations on addressing them in the interest of time. 

To-Do List Item #1: Catcher 

“I think Yan’s capable of it,” general manager Mike Rizzo said at the end of the year press conference. “He’s done it on championship-caliber clubs in Cleveland and with us. It’s such a demanding, physically taxing position that we certainly would like to take a little bit of burden off him. But I think he’s capable of playing 90 to 100 games, at least. We’re certainly going to have to get him a complement over there.” Dave Martinez also made the same point: “We have a couple young guys that are going to come to camp. You never have enough catchers, it’s a tough position. But I really do feel like Yan can go out there every day and handle our pitching staff and play really well.”

One idea to help cross this off the to-do list would be to trade for current Cubs Catcher Wilson Contreras. At the end of the year, we outlined why Wilson would be a perfect fit for the Nationals, and Contreras comes with a very friendly team contract.


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Item #2: Complete the Outfield 

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One item that should be on the list of the Washington Nationals front office is the outfield. While Andrew Stevenson is an excellent addition to the outfield, the Nationals should look for an outfielder who can play right or left field, have reliable defensive metrics, and fill another need. 

There are a couple of ideal players that could fit the bill in the outfield. One idea that we suggested back in November could be Michael Brantley. What makes Michael Brantley a good option is because he has some great power at the plate and has had reliable performance in the field. The Nationals need both and don’t come with a hefty price tag as a George Springer would cost, so the Nationals can fill the other gaps they require.

Item #3: Find Another Bat for the Middle of the Lineup

We are sure that as we inch more and more towards Spring Training and there are still free agents to be signed, the Washington Nationals can look for players that fit the bill and not break the bank. We all know that Trea Turner and Juan Soto need some protection in the lineup, and while Josh Bell is a good addition, he shouldn’t only be the only bat that the Nationals acquire. Some players that could cross off a couple of the above options include:

Item #4: Solidify the Starting Rotation

With the Nationals declining the club option for Anibal Sanchez, there is a spot open with an already impressive pitching rotation. We have written twice with some ideas that fill the fourth spot of the rotation. [Check them out Part 1 and Part 2]

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However, according to The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli, the Nationals will be among the teams who will have scouts at Corey Kluber’s showcase on January 13. Kluber is a two-time AL Cy Young winner who has generated interest from approximately 12 teams this offseason. Kluber hasn’t pitched a full season since 2018, but the now-34-year-old did log a 2.89 ERA in 215 innings then.


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