Will this be the year the Nats stay away from the big Free Agents? Rizzo has given some mixed signals, and this year seems like the Nats will not be the big buyers this off-season. That would mean for the Nats that there would be no David Price, no Zack Greinke, no Jason Heyward, no Justin Upton, no Chris Davis, no Cueto, no Cespedes and no Alex Gordon. Interestingly, the only Boras client in the Top 10 projected Free Agents is Chris Davis, and it’s not unusual for the Nats to be tied to Boras clients which makes that a wait and see on the rumor mill.
Rizzo has said, “The 2016 Nats will be younger, less experienced but more athletic and speedier. A little transformation.”
Don’t expect this type of shocker (Tweet below) of a Free Agent signing for the #1 FA or anyone in the Top 5; however, don’t be shocked by a blockbuster trade and some key Free Agent signings.
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) January 21, 2015
Here is a very good list of the Top 50 Free Agents available from Jon Heyman’s projections. http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyman/25367153/inside-baseball-top-50-free-agents-ranked-by-dollars-and-projections
Then again, consider Jim Bowden’s top trade picks
|1. Aroldis Chapman||Possible destinations: Nationals|
|2. Carlos Gonzalez|
|3. Todd Frazier|
|4. Brett Gardner||Possible destinations:Nationals|
|5. Ken Giles||Possible destinations: Nationals|
|6. Tyson Ross|
|7. Jay Bruce|
|8. Starlin Castro|
|9. Brad Boxberger||Possible destinations: Nationals,|
|10. Drew Storen||Possible destinations: Blue Jays, Cubs, Tigers, Astros, Giants, Diamondbacks.|
Trades often happen in complex ways. Rizzo is creative as are other GMs who have holes to fill. This is the year that Rizzo might consider trading a Top 10 prospect or 2 since the Nats could have 4 draft picks in the Top 60 based on draft compensation they will receive for both Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond and retaining their own 1st and 2nd round picks.
One other strategy for Mike Rizzo is to not max out his budget in the off-season, and save some funds for July 31st for trade deadline upgrades. When we did our 2016 payroll projections http://www.talknats.com/2015/11/10/projecting-the-nats-2016-payroll/ , we were around $127 million and that would leave conservatively $37 to $50 million to spend if the payroll was to stay the same or just grow by 10%. David Carpenter did come off of our projected payroll.
Taking all of this information into account, Rizzo has flexibility on payroll and personnel and has some trade chips.