Svrluga’s thoughts on Free Agency

We wanted to keep most of the Free Agency talk for after the season but Svrluga gave his thoughts in his weekly chat so we will continue this discussion briefly for the morning. The discussion for Free Agency or even trades, we’ve thought you have to upgrade the outfield with a lefty bat.

Names we came up with were Jason Heyward, Alex Gordon, Gerardo Parra or another lefty bat like Dexter Fowler (who is a switch hitter) who are all potential Free Agents as well as looking to find a lefty in trade.   Thoughts would also be creating a back-up for Ryan Zimmerman in case he gets injured or for days off.  My personal opinion has been being flexible to creative solutions as Jayson Werth has been one of the worst defenders in the outfield (-7.3 in LF for 2015, .7 in RF for RF in 2015) and his offensive numbers have been like the good, bad, and ugly depending on how you want to analyze them, and Michael A. Taylor’s stats on his base statline were never good with an OBP on May 13th as the high point if we don’t use April stats at .316, and he’s currently at .284 OBP and that won’t cut it, and if you think it was the outfield wall collision, think again because MAT was at a .290 OBP on August 26th. Werth is meeting age regression and MAT should have age progression and we will leave the 2016 projections to the services that do that for a living.

Ryan Zimmerman went from a 61 game season in 2014 to a 95 game season in 2015 and that’s 156 games over 2 seasons, and Ryan Zimmerman wasn’t healthy for much of 2015 and finished with his lowest BA, OBP, and OPS of his career. RZim just turned 31 last week, and it is difficult to project what Ryan will be in 2016. Part of Ryan’s problem in 2015 was his 33 games in 2015 were “0-fors” which means over 1/3 of his games he went hitless and he had 20 multi-hit games in 2015 earning him a .249 BA, .308 OBP and a .773 OPS.

Barry, great writing as always. Which potential free agents would you see the Nats going after this off-season and which current Nats free agents do you see them trying to sign if any?

Thanks very much.

I don’t think this is going to be an active season for free agent pursuit by the Nats. (Now, going into last offseason — or shoot, in January — I didn’t exactly expect them to spend $210 million on a pitcher, either). I think they want a left-handed hitter who, ideally, could play the corner outfield spots and spell Zimmerman at first base. And perhaps a reliever or two, though that market is historically not very efficient.

Right now, their free agents are Zimmermann, Desmond, Fister, Span, Thornton — and they can buy out Janssen for $1.5M. I suspect they will all be gone.

Good to see Svrluga thinking along the same lines and Barry has a similar rosy outlook on the Nats for 2016.

Hi, and thanks for great reporting on this season. Knowing that Matt Williams is likely not returning, and with all the FAs the Nats will potentially lose this offseason, is there a way to imagine them even as contenders next season?

Oh, absolutely. And there’ll be a new dynamic in the division, because no matter who the Nats add, they won’t be the clear-cut favorites, not with the Mets returning all that pitching.

But think of it this way: The rotation will be Scherzer, Strasburg (whose last dozen starts have been phenomenal, all made while healthy), Gonzalez, Joe Ross and Roark. Not a lot of teams can best that.

The lineup, even with all its fits and starts, ranks third in the N.L. in runs scored this season (which is why it makes me crazy when people say they blew it by not adding a bat at the trade deadline). They’ll have Michael A. Taylor in center to replace Span, and potentially Espinosa at short with Escobar either traded or at second (or potentially SS) and Rendon back at third. A healthy Zimmerman is obviously a big question, but he’ll still be only 31 and can still rake. They’ll sign a left-handed bat to serve as a fourth outfielder, may do something different with the catching — I’m intrigued by this — and have to build a bullpen.

But there are a lot of good pieces on this roster and in this organization.

Statlines as of October 2, 2015:

  • Werth:  .226/.308/.393/.701
  • MAT:  .232/.284./.363/.647
  • RZim:  .249/.308/.465/.773

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