Today is deadline day, and as Chris Needham points out so well, the Nationals have been quiet. Too quiet.
Apparently the Nats are so loaded with talent and potential for the coming years that they don’t need to make a change. At least that’s how you could read it considering all the moves they haven’t made and how two-thirds of the league’s players have seemingly changed hands.
The Nationals are on their way to losing well over 100 games this season and even the most die-hard idealist isn’t expecting them contend anytime soon. Their attendance is one of the worst in baseball despite their nifty new facilities. Let’s face it; the team may as well be back in Canada for all Washington fans care at the moment. They have one thing in the world to look forward to as fans: Signing Stephen Strasburg. So why are the Nats not in full blown fire-sale mode, a la Pittsburgh? They have some assets.
Needham pointed out a few, including Nick Johnson and Josh Willingham. Johnson is healthy this season and still gets on base at a high clip. ZiPS projects Johnson to produce a robust .380 wOBA the rest of the season. He’s going to be a Type B free agent, meaning you can buy Nick Johnson and he comes with the added bonus of a draft pick. Not much not to like.
Josh Willingham is quietly having a fantastic season, putting together a .300/.410/.586 line. Bear in mind his batting average is nearly thirty points higher than his career standard, but Willingham has been a consistently productive hitter, with a career .372 wOBA. He picked a great time to have a career year, as he’ll be arbitration eligible for the second time this off-season, making him due for a raise.
But what about Adam Dunn? Why is no one talking about him? The Prophet of the Three True Outcomes Cult is putting together yet another strong offensive season, posting a .407 wOBA. Granted, he’s been downright grisly in left field (-12) UZR, but there has to be a contending team out there with a 1B/DH on their wish list. Matt Holliday, Dunn is not, but he’d bring comparable offensive production, just keep the Big Donkey away from the outfield.
The only stumbling block I can see that would deter a team from trading for Dunn is that he has 1 year, $12 million left on his contract after the season. While that might not be ideal for some buyers, in view of the fact that he’ll most likely be a 3-4 win player next year, that’s really not all that exorbitant.
The Nationals are a terrible team with a rather weak farm system. They need all the extra dough they can scrape up just to sign Strasburg, and more talent than the Zimmerman(n)s and Derek Norris to build around their future ace. It’s a quarter to midnight, Mr. Rizzo. Do the team’s future GM a favor and don’t just keep his seat warm. Give him or her a head start at rebuilding this mess.
updated: I stand corrected, Johnson is just short of Type B status. He’s still a decent trading chip, though.
Print This Post