It is time to extend Ryan Zimmerman to a restructured deal!

Zim’s 2018 Spring Training on the back-fields; Photo by Craig Nedrow

For months our readers here have discussed our suggestion about the advantages of extending the contract of the face of the franchise for the Washington Nationals. In case you did not know, Ryan Zimmerman happens to be one of the top offensive players in baseball when facing left-handed pitching which is one of the reasons to retain him for a few more years at a lower salary. There is a perfect storm of need brewing for the Washington Nationals and Zimmerman because he wants to stay with the Nats, and the team needs to lower their 2019 payroll. They can both accomplish these goals together creatively speaking. The Nats can actually lower payroll by extending Zimmerman’s contract to include the 2019 season and at a market rate for the 2020 and 2021 season which would take Zim to his retirement at the age of 37.

For the two-time All-Star, he has repeatedly said he wants to extend his career in Washington, D.C., but determining his future value could be the sticky point. With Matt Adams signed to a new $3 million deal for 2019, the market seems clear what a 30 year old Adams is worth — but what would Zim’s value be for his age 35-36 season and his age 36-37 season? Would Zim agree that Adams’ salary is his true value? Hopefully he would as the 34 year old first baseman once again hurt his value by spending too much time on the DL and playing poorly for the first month of the season. Zim finished with just a +1.3 WAR that ranked at only the 22nd highest ranked among 1st basemen in 2018 while he is among the highest paid at that position and set to pocket $18 million more in 2019 if no renegotiation happens. Continue reading

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The 2019 NationalsProspects.com Watchlist

Originally published on NationalsProspects.com

I think the “WKRP to Cincinnati” trade is it for 2018, which means it’s safe to put the finishing touches on the Washington Nationals 2019 Watchlist.

It feels like this was one of the most difficult to assemble—despite a LOT of help in the comments—but I also have to keep reminding myself that every time I think “well, this is the last one,” someone else emerges.

While I’m sure many of you are thinking of Juan Soto, I’m actually referring to Carter Kieboom. To me, Soto was like spotting Bigfoot riding a unicorn across a double rainbow, or like Zachary Quinto is to Sheldon Cooper.

From Strasburg to Harper to Rendon to Giolito to Robles, it seems there will always be “the coming thing” – the überprospect who the beat writers can name without asking a coach will give updates on to the casual fans when there’s an injury or a slump. Continue reading

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The Aníbal Sánchez you don’t know #Nats

Sure, you all know that yesterday, the free agent signing became official for Anibal Sanchez with the Washington Nationals. What you probably did not know is what happened a year ago and a dozen years ago. A year ago, Sanchez was desperate for a deal coming off of back-to-back horrific seasons that usually end a career for a 34 year old when your last piece of data that hits any G.M. is a 6.41 ERA.

Sanchez’s best offer for the 2018 season came from the Minnesota Twins who signed Sanchez to a non-guaranteed contract for $2.5 million then cut him loose in Spring Training and paid him off 1/6th of his deal which was a little over $400,000 as he hit free agency again. The Braves picked up Sanchez just in time for the final days of the Grapefruit League schedule as he replaced Scott Kazmir who suffered a jaw injury. Sanchez dazzled in his Braves’ spring debut in the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. He must have thought he was facing the Nats who he “owned” in his career with a 10-1, 2.08 ERA record, however on that day, Sanchez would face the other team that calls FITTEAM their spring training home, the Houston Astros, who at that time were the reigning World Champs. He beat the Astros on that day in West Palm Beach after making that long trip from Orlando with a bunch of non-roster players, and he earned the praise of his new manager and eventually Kazmir was released with Sanchez being named the fifth starter.

“I like his pitchability and what he brings,” Braves’ manager Brian Snitker said of Sanchez before finalizing his 2018 roster. “Probably the arsenal isn’t what he had [earlier in his career], but he understands that, and he has the ability to use what he has now effectively.”

From the fifth starter spot, the veteran pitcher climbed to the ranks of the tops of the Braves rotation in 2018.  Here we are a year later, and another new start for Sanchez which was fine for him and his family because now he has some stability again in his career with this new 2-year deal with a third year team option, and in a stark contrast to last year, he got to choose a team from the many that wanted him. Continue reading

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The NL East was called the NL Least and now is becoming the NL Beast!

For several years, the NL East was the “NL Least” and dominated by the Washington Nationals since 2012 with little resistance from the other four teams in the division with the exception of the Braves in 2013, the Mets in 2015, and the Braves in 2018.  The Nats have either finished in first or second place in every season since 2012 with managers like Davey Johnson, Matt Williams, Dusty Baker and now Dave Martinez at the helm. The Nationals are built to win just like going into the 2019 season.

If you read yesterday’s article on FanGraphs updated statistics, you saw that the Nationals and Braves run totals were adjusted with each having one win shaved off the totals, but all teams except for the Marlins look poised to compete in 2019. Yes, you play the games to decide the champ, and there is more work to be done, but let’s have a look at the current W/L projections from FanGraphs for 2019: Continue reading

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It’s back to work for Mike Rizzo and staff! #Nats

In England, it is still a holiday today. Boxing Day is being celebrated in London and for the fútbol teams, their general managers could have another day-off. That is not the case for Washington Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo, his work is never done — those are his words. Rizzo’s employment has few days-off and few second chances. There are only 30 people in the world with the MLB general manager job title, and the general managers who are the best, live in a perpetual world where winning keeps you employed. Rizzo looks to be the biggest winner so far this off-season among his compeers. FanGraphs’ analysts believe the Nationals have made the moves to get them back to the top of the NL East. They are believers or at least their modeling for projections believes the Nats are the best team in the NL East with a projected 90-72 record after they fine tuned the numbers once again (91-71 on Monday). Continue reading

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Nationals’ Night before Christmas

Nationals’ Night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring but Rizz and his mouse.

The contracts were laid on the table with care

With hope that free agents soon would sign there.

The players were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of Florida danced in their heads.

Continue reading

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We name the remaining free agents who can move the needle! Here’s the Top 100 who are unsigned!

Using FanGraphs projections from Steamer’s 2019 WAR for remaining free agents, here are the top 100 (chart below) who could potentially move the needle for the upcoming season. At the top of the list, you will see some familiar names. As you drill down the list, there are names of players who are coming off of seasons where their impact was not felt necessarily in a positive direction — but there are always players who beat their projections by small margins and a few that will blow the projections away and of course quite a few who are complete busts. Anibal Sanchez was one of those players in 2018 who blew away his projections at a +2.4 compared to the +0.7 he was projected at.   Continue reading

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Can Mike Rizzo upgrade at second base? #Nats

When Howie Kendrick‘s season ended on May 19th in the 8th inning with an achilles tendon injury, it has led to much doubt that the player who turns 36 next season can recover to be effective on defense. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had said that he was interested in bringing in another infielder with positional versatility, but then Mike Rizzo signed left-handed first baseman Matt Adams which has now left doubt in the direction Rizzo goes now. Continue reading

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The Expos – The beginning

The Washington Nationals have now been around for a long time. They went through a dark period of horrid performances and have now been in the contenders club for 7 years. Before they came to Washington, the Nats were the Montreal Expos, and I understand for many DC area fans that the Montreal history isn’t relevant, and I am totally fine with that. There are a small group of fans though who still live and die with the Nats whose fandom originated with the Expos, some of them still live in Quebec, some in the Toronto area and a few of us are scattered in different areas in the US. Continue reading

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When the Mets, Braves or Phillies have made a move, the #Nats have answered back!

The NL East’s top four teams have all been improving this off-season with signings that have ratcheted up the team WAR. When one punches, the other counter-punches. It got so hot this past week after the Mets signed former-Nats catcher Wilson Ramos that the Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen declared, “Internally, we can argue that we’re the favorites in the division right now.” FanGraphs says otherwise Mr. Van Wagenen. After that bold proclamation by the Mets G.M., it was the Nationals G.M.’s time to throw a haymaker when Mike Rizzo signed right-hander Anibal Sanchez. Continue reading

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