Pick ’em from the discount aisle; Shopping with the #Nats from Casali to Eugenio Suarez!

Davey and Mike are the first ones off the escalator: Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

Putting together a roster in the offseason is complicated, of course. Some of it is choosing from the ala carte menu while some of it feels like you are piecing together an intricate puzzle. If general manager Mike Rizzo is choosing a starting pitcher and a backup catcher, they are not as dependent on the rest of the roster as a starting infielder or outfielder would be and as such you could pick them up ala carte.

If the budget is as tight as we expect it to be, maybe most of the acquisitions will continue to come from the discount aisle. Next to the player’s name is their hand they bat with, age today, FanGraphs WAR for 2020, most recent salary, and most recent slash line.

Right-handed outfielder:

  1. Kevin Pillar R ( 31 11/12. +1.1)  | 2020 salary $4,250,000 | slash line .288/.336/.462/.798 |
  2. Yasiel Puig R (30 1/12, N/A) | 2019 salary $9,7000,000 |slash line .267/.327/.458/.785 (2019) |
  3. Adam Duvall R (32 1/3, +0.5)  | 2020 salary $3,250,000 | slash line .237/.301/ .532/.833 |

Starting first baseman:

  1. Kyle Schwarber L (27 3/4, +0.4)  | 2020 salary $7,010,000 | slash line .188/ .308/ .393/ .701 |
  2. Mitch Moreland L (35 1/3. +0.9)  | 2020 salary $2,500,000 | slash line .265/ .342/ .551/ .894 |
  3.  Danny Santana S (30 1/12, -0.2) | 2020 salary $3,600,000 | slash line .145 /.238/ .273/ .511 |

Back-up first baseman:

  1. Ryan Zimmerman R (36 1/4, N/A)  | 2020 salary $2,000,000 | slash line .257/.321/.415/.736 (2019) |
  2. Howie Kendrick  R (37 1/2, -0.3)  | 2020 salary $6,250,000 | slash line .275/.320/.385/.705 | 
  3. Asdrubal Cabrera S (35 1/12, +0.0) | 2020 salary $2,500,000 | slash line .242/.305/.447/.753 |

Back-up catcher:

  1. Tyler Flowers R (34 11/12, +0.4)  | 2020 salary $4,000,000 | slash line .217/.325/.348/.673 |
  2. Jason Castro L (33 1/2, +0.3)  | 2020 salary $6,850,000 | slash line .179/ .233/.357/.590 |
  3. Curt Casali R (32 1/12, +0.7) | 2020 salary $1,462,000 | slash line .224/.366/.500/.866 |

Of course we could add more names to this list of free agents from the trade markets or diving deeper into the free agents available. But these are names we believe Mike Rizzo could be looking at, and some names he is not looking at and should be considering. Or maybe Jon Heyman is correct and Eugenio Suarez to the Nats is legitimate. That might solve the big bat hitting after Juan Soto in the batting order. Suarez, 29, smashed 49-home runs in 2019, but then suffered a right shoulder injury in a swimming pool accident that required surgery 11 months ago. Suarez struggled to a .202/.312/.470/.781 slash in 2020 with 15 home runs in 231 plate appearances. He is cost-controlled through 2024 including an option for 2025 ($15 million) and due just about $11 million a year.

The cautionary tale on Suarez is to make sure that right shoulder is 100 percent. Also, because this is a trade, Rizzo has to give up value in an exchange, but do so without getting fleeced in the process.

“I think it’s going to be a fluid decision,” Rizzo said in 2017. “We’re going to have to see what’s available and what the cost is. That’s always the issue, and supply and demand at this time of the year is always what it comes down to. We’ve shown that we’ve been willing to pull the trigger and do deals … I don’t see that being any different right now. We have to make good, prudent moves.”

Prudent moves is the key. We also reported yesterday from sources that the Nats are looking at both Flowers and Castro as backup catchers and while we could not get confirmation on Casali, he is a fine fit in that backup grouping. The team would like to fill that spot soon while their choices are from a large group of players still available.

If you want to go back to a more detailed analysis on some of these players, we covered many of them in our non-tender article.

Most of the market is moving slowly, and teams appear to be in no rush to fill vacancies. If the start of the season is pushed back, signings could certainly push back into late January and February.

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