Free Agency or Trade Route? What’s the better path? #Nats

We certainly know from Dusty Baker’s radio interview on Friday that Dusty wants a prolific lead-off man and he made it clear that he wasn’t enthused over the Nats lead-off situation.  Dusty said he hadn’t discussed with Rizzo what the budget is or the players he is targeting for the team.

Sol Tucker for TalkNats

Sol Tucker for TalkNats

Casey Sterns during the radio interview said Dusty went through 74 (exaggerating) lead-off men with the Reds.  They discussed how important the lead-off is.  Dusty acknowledged:

“I don’t know if we got that guy yet because the other guys are prone to strikeouts and don’t have that high OBP. We had that guy in Denard Span. I don’t know if we will sign him or have a chance of re-signing him.  I haven’t really talked to Rizzo or the organization yet about potential Free Agents…or what the payroll is going to be…I’m always trying to pump people to get the best team, not only the best team, the best overall balanced team. This is what I’m shooting for.”

Was Baker aware that Michael A. Taylor was last in the Majors as a leadoff man in BB/K LEADOFF STAT for 2015 ? Dusty seemed well aware that MAT was last in OBP in the leadoff at .229 LEADOFF OBP .

Sterns suggested Dusty could trade for Billy Hamilton or sign Free Agent Dexter Fowler.  Dusty was well aware of Denard Span’s abilities.

Those suggestions bring up the challenges for Rizzo to how he will upgrade the 2016 roster, and in particular who will be the Nats lead-off man on Opening Day. Rizzo has some potential trade bait in Yunel Escobar and Drew Storen, and could always trade prospects which Rizzo doesn’t like to do.  Rizzo would like to not sign a QO’d free agent that will cost the forfeiture of the Nats #18 overall draft pick in the process.  On the other hand, there are some good free agents that won’t cost the Nats a draft pick like Denard Span and Gerardo Parra.  Other outfielders who wouldn’t cost a draft pick are Austin Jackson and Yoenis Cespedes although we aren’t suggesting either as a fit for the Nats.

Here’s the list of QO’d Free Agents who would cost the Nats to forfeit their 1st round Draft Pick:

  1. Wei-Yen Chen
  2. Chris Davis
  3. Dexter Fowler
  4. Yovani Gallardo
  5. Alex Gordon
  6. Zack Greinke
  7. Jason Heyward
  8. Hisashi Iwakuma
  9. Howie Kendrick
  10. Ian Kennedy
  11. John Lackey
  12. Daniel Murphy
  13. Jeff Samardzjia
  14. Justin Upton

That leaves Mike Rizzo many other options to consider.  Here is Jon Heyman’s Top 50 Free Agent list:

Before you make a quick decision on Gerardo Parra, he was 4th in OBP as a leadoff hitter in 2015 at .386  Top 2015 Leadoff OBP

On trades, would it be worth trading for a Brett Gardner or a Billy Hamilton who struggled in 2016 or look for a corner outfielder instead where you shift Bryce Harper to CF?  Would you look to Freddie Freeman and make the decision to put Ryan Zimmerman on the bench?  Ken Rosenthal has said the Braves would listen to teams on Freddie Freeman.

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