Hot Stove Burning: Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals have come a long way from their days as the Expos in Montreal.  Although some of may miss the retro stylings of those old ‘Spos caps and uni’s, no one can miss what the Nationals have built in the Capitol city.

DC has a lot of good young talent in or around the big league club, they also have some serious contracts on the books.  The Nationals signed OF Jayson Werth to a mega deal before the 2011 season and it doesn’t look like they are going to stop there.  Whether Werth is worth as much as he got is a different argument.  This is a team that has Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg.  Zimmerman missed significant time last season and Strasburg looked good in a start against the Dodgers in September which marked his first major league start after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Don’t be surprised to see:

OF help.  Bryce Harper is close to being called up to the parent club, but the Nats still need help to fill holes out there.  Michael Morse looked like someone who could stay in the middle of the line up for a while, so how much help they need is in question.  Grady Sizemore might be a name to come up down the road at cheap price.

Bashing Firstbaseman.  Prince Fielder would be a good fit here.  Prince wants to keep playing 1B, and considering how much money was offered to Mark Texiera a couple of off-seasons ago, Fielder and his snake-in-the-grass agent, Scott Boras, might get what they are looking for.  The other thought could be to front load the contract in order to make his salary more attractive a few years down the road if his skills at 1B decline to an even lower level than are now.  This would help to influence a trade to an American League team, and free up money to sign Strasburg and Harper to the grand scale contracts they will demand.

The Nationals finished 3rd in a tough NL East in 2011, and look to climb further up the poll with a large wallet and young talent.