GM for the Day: Washington Nationals

The Nationals are in a tough situation right now. Should they win now or should they wait for the system for another year?  They have talent that can win games right now, but in 2013 and 2014, they’ll have even more.  Lets take a look at the current 25-man roster:

C: Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores

1B: Adam LaRoche

2B: Danny Esposinosa

3B: Ryan Zimmerman

SS: Ian Desmond

LF: Mike Morse

CF: Roger Bernadina

RF: Jayson Werth

Bench: Steve Lombardozzi (INF), Chris Marrero (1B/LF)

Starting Pitchers: Stephen Strasburg, John Lannon, Jordan Zimmerman, Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler

Relief Pitchers: Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzellany, Collin Balester, Henry Rodriguez, Ryan Mattheus and Yunesky Maya

The roster is currently short due to the loss of Alex Cora, Rick Ankiel, Jonny Gomes, Ivan Rodriguez, Laynce Nix, Livan Hernandez and Todd Coffey.  The Nationals have some pretty special talent coming up in Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Brad Peacock, and the recently drafted Alex Meyer and Matt Purke.

The Nats want to make another splash in Free Agency, but if they have to overpay someone, like they did with Werth last offseason, maybe they should just sit back another year.  Certainly they could use some pieces, but they have plenty to build with now.  They could toss $200 million at Prince Fielder…or they could sign Mike Morse to an extension and put him at first base long-term.  They could use the money saved to get another ace or top of the rotation starter via Free Agency in 2013 when Cole Hamels, Ervin Santana, Colby Lewis, Shaun Marcum, Dan Haren and Jake Peavy could all hit the market.  The team is set-up offensively long-term like this:

C: Wilson Ramos

1B: Mike Morse

2B: Anthony Rendon

3B: Ryan Zimmerman

SS: Danny Espinosa

LF: Jayson Werth

CF: Roger Bernadina

RF: Bryce Harper

If Werth could play CF, they could put Morse in LF and sign Fielder and be absolutely loaded, but he won’t be playing CF well enough in his mid to late 30’s to be Werth trying (haha, get it?).  For 2012, though, lets just say that the Nats don’t sign Fielder, because it doesn’t make sense to do that based on the lineup above.  They’ll need some depth, though, so this is who they should sign:

Outfield depth could be useful.  They have had veterans in Gomes and Nix.  If LaRoche, stays healthy and Morse stays in the outfield, they would be able to go  cheap on depth here with Reed Johnson.  Johnson is an interesting name that doesn’t get a lot of recognition.  While he’ll be 35-years-old next season, he can play all three positions in the outfield and over the last three seasons as a part-time player, he has a .744 OPS and 59 XBH in 613 at bats, which is a little over a full season worth of at bats.  Due to Chris Marrero’s ability to handle LF and 1B, Johnson’s versatility makes him a perfect 4th outfielder.

Infield depth is pretty straight forward in getting a super utility type and an up the middle guy.  Jerry Hairston, Jr. would be an excellent signing because if Zimmerman gets hurt again, he won’t kill them as an everyday 3B, though he won’t be amazing there either.  They could also grab Andres Blanco to play 2B/SS.  He’ll be 28 next year and hasn’t ever got a shot in the Majors as a slick fielding, light hitting middle infielder.  He’ll get his shot now backing up Espinosa and Desmond.

The bullpen is fine and the rotation looks good.  If someone falters, they’ll have Brad Peacock or Tom Milone ready to take over.  The depth and smart drafting is about to arrive.  So this is the 25-man roster after the basic moves:

Catchers: Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores

1B: Adam LaRoche

2B: Danny Espinosa

3B: Ryan Zimmerman

SS: Ian Desmond

LF: Mike Morse

CF: Roger Bernadina

RF: Jayson Werth

Bench: Chris Marrero (1B/LF), Reed Johnson (OF), Jerry Hairston, Jr. (UTIL), Andres Blanco (2B/SS)

Starting Pitchers: Stephen Strasburg, John Lannon, Jordan Zimmerman, Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler

Relief Pitchers: Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzellany, Collin Balester, Henry Rodriguez and Ryan Mattheus

When Harper is ready, which could even be decided to be Spring Training, Werth will move to LF, Morse to 1B, and LaRoche to Free Agency after the 2012 season.  If the Nationals find a long-term answer in centerfield that arrives in the next two seasons, they will win a World Series by 2015.  Yes…the Nationals WILL win a World Series in the next five years.

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2 thoughts on “GM for the Day: Washington Nationals

  1. If I were the Nats, I’d send him to Triple-A for a few months. The reasoning behind it is this: He has faced a few top notch prospects in Double-A and the AFL, but prospects are still a work in progress. If he goes to Triple-A, he’ll face veteran pitchers who have more complete breaking pitches. While the pitches aren’t good enough and those vets aren’t quite good enough to be in the Bigs now, they’re still complete and more consistent. He can murder a fastball, like most hitters, but he still needs some work on breaking pitches. He is almost ready. I would feel comfortable from an organizational standpoint with him spending the entire 2012 season in the Minors, but he may force their hands with his incredible skill set. I’d start him in Triple-A. If the Nats are struggling early and he is doing well there, he’ll get the call.

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