Nats Aren’t Signing Free Agents

The free agent market is still pretty large with a lot of talent that hasn’t signed yet. However, the Nats are no longer seeking the services of Adam Dunn and Orlando Hudson. In fact, sources have stated that the Nats are no longer looking to the free agent market for solutions. Dunn has been linked to the Dodgers and Hudson is believed to be talking with the Mets. Both guys are no longer in the Nationals price range. Furthermore, the Nats have stated that they aren’t willing to pay Derek Lowe $10-$15 million a season because he is 35. Any roster moves that the Nationals make at this point are likely to come through trades.

A lot of people are griping about the Nationals not being willing to spend big money on free agents. I’ve heard people say things like “I’m not going to pay big league ticket prices to go see Triple-A talent.” I can sympathize with this type of thinking to a certain extent. Yeah, I would’ve liked to see the Nats be able to get some of these guys, but AT THE RIGHT PRICE. Bowden has made it no secret what his plan has been. He said he was unwilling to spend big money on mediocre talent so that he could spend more resources on developing young talent. It might come as a surprise to some people, but Dunn, Hudson, and Lowe are not going to put the Nats on everybody’s radar as a pre-season play-off pick. Of course, all of these guys are capable of helping any team win and they will all do fine wherever they end up. Signing Teixeira wouldn’t have put the Nats in the play-off picture either, but Bowden was willing to offer him big bucks because he fit into their long-term plans.

I would still like to see the Nats try and find a first baseman who can stay healthy. A healthy Nick Johnson is a great player, but he doesn’t take care of his body and hasn’t been able to stay on the field. I think he’s probably lazy and doesn’t rehab his injuries seriously. He looks more like professional beer drinker than a professional athlete. The Nats could benefit a lot by putting more resources into their team doctors, trainers, and strength training to keep more guys on the field. They have plenty of young talent, but have suffered a lot from guys on the disabled list.

The Nats are not going to the World Series this year and probably not the next year either. But in a couple of years the Nats are going to be a play-off contending team. They have completely revamped their minor league system and will start to see it pay-off. They might not sit on top of the NL East over the course of the next two years, but they still have the potential to be a fun team to watch. A guy like Derek Lowe may guarantee a few more wins, but isn’t going to be a part of the Nats long-term. A few more wins would be nice, but only at the right price.

The Nats are a young team and most players still have their best years ahead of them, but here is what the Nats current players have done in their best years:

Josh Willingham (2006): .277, 26 HR
Wily Mo Pena (2004): .259, 26 HR
Elijah Dukes (2008): .264, 13 HR
Lastings Milledge (2008): .268, 14 HR
Austin Kearns (2005): .240, 18 HR

Ryan Zimmerman (2007): .266, 24 HR

Christian Guzman (2008): .316, 9 HR

Angel Hernandez (2008): .333, 0 HR (Out of 81 AB’s)

Nick Johnson (2006): .290, 23 HR

Ronny Belliard (2005): .284, 17 HR
Willie Harris (2008): .251, 13 HR

Jesus Flores (2008): .256, 8 HR
Will Nieves (2008): .268, 1 HR

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