Taking another look at a few more players who could fill the void the Nationals have in their lineup, this time specifically focusing on third basemen. Some positive news before diving in is that Starlin Castro has started to be much better and more consistent at the plate as our everyday third baseman. Over the last 15 days, his OPS is at .786, up from his season long number of only .635 and his average is up from .251 to .286. While a good sign, it is a small sample size and lineup help is still needed from outside sources.
One choice here would be the Reds third baseman, Eugenio Suarez. Suarez has an AAV of $9.4 million and the Nationals currently have around $12 million to work with. Trading players could help reduce the effect he would have on the cap as well.
Suarez has had a pretty down year compared to his career averages, batting only .175 but he does have 16 home runs. He has shown an ability to hit for power for most of his career but especially of late with a SLG% over .470 in 2018, 2019, and 2020. With his track record, it may not be unreasonable to expect a bounce back from him in the second half of this season. This could also lower the asking price that Cincinatti would request from Washington should there be talks of a deal.
Next on my list is Eduardo Escobar, the third baseman from the Arizona Diamondback. The Dbacks are definitely not in the playoff race, losing their record 24th straight game on the 26th of June. Escobar currently has a deal in place through the end of 2021 with an AAV of only $7 million which would leave the Nationals even more room to improve their roster should they reach that point.
Escobar is 13th among third basemen in average at .254, 6th in SLG% at .484, and second in home runs with 17 on the season. While the Nationals prefer players who have some longer term control, Escobar could come at a price they can’t pass up. If he performed like he has all season, an extension could be in the cards as well for the 32 year old.
The Nationals have begun to play much better of late, but will not be in a spot to compete for a playoff spot without healthy pitchers or more help at the plate. Escobar and Suarez both provide solid choices to help out at third and at the plate. The longer this lineup can get, the better for everyone involved, including us fans.