Royals: Making the case for free agency, Nationals edition

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images /

Ahead of Kansas City Royals free agency, let’s take a look at the Washington Nationals’ upcoming free agents and decide whether the team should pursue any.

Welcome to the continuation of our “Kansas City Royals: Making the case” series for free agency. After missing the playoffs in 2018 and having star outfielder Bryce Harper leave town for Philadelphia, the Washington Nationals bounced back in a huge way in 2019. Under second-year manager Dave Martinez, the Nationals won 93 games in the regular season and won their first World Series championship in franchise history just a couple of nights ago.

Spotrac’s official list provides a ton of Nationals to look out for come free agency. 23, to be exact, throughout the organization. For our purposes, we’ve cut that list down substantially to 12. Are any of the top names worth Royals general manager Dayton Moore pursuing? Let’s find out.

Stephen StrasburgP

Strasburg has a $25 million player option that it’s not clear whether he’ll accept or decline ahead of the 2020 season. Some sites think he’s more and more likely to decline and hit free agency, but winning a World Series might change that. He’s been a National for his entire career — and a darn good one at that. One of the more consistent pitchers of the last seven-or-so years, Strasburg would make a welcomed addition to the Royals’ rotation. His age (31) and projected contract value ($25M or more) make us think twice about saying yes, though.

Verdict: Pass (unless John Sherman wants to show he means business?)

Anthony Rendon3B

Rendon was one of the best players in baseball this season, hitting for a .319/.412/.598 line and clubbing 34 home runs in the process. Leading the National League in doubles and pacing all major league hitters in RBIs, he’s one heck of a player. With that said, the Royals don’t have a need at third base nor shortstop.

Verdict: Pass

Ryan Zimmerman1B

Zimmerman is now on the back nine of his career. Well, more like the final couple holes of his career. A 35-year-old corner infielder, the righty has been sapped of some of the power that helped name him to the All-Star team in 2017. He’s still a valuable piece to have but definitely doesn’t fit the Royals’ timeline.

Verdict: Pass

Brian Dozier2B

Much like Zimmerman, Dozier hasn’t been the same player he was in 2017. With Nicky Lopez set to at least receive at least one chance to hold down the second base job in 2020, Dozier just doesn’t seem to be a good fit.

Verdict: Pass

Fernando RodneyP

Rodney will, somehow, be 43 in March of next year. He improved once he went from Oakland to Washington in 2019 but with that said, the Royals probably don’t need a 40-something reliever to come out of the bullpen.

Verdict: Pass

Howie Kendrick2B

Even at 36, Kendrick is still quite the productive player. He was phenomenal this past season with Washington, hitting for a .344 batting average in 121 games. Unfortunately, though, he’s a second baseman. Kansas City doesn’t need one of those — unless we’re talking about putting Mike Moustakas there.

Verdict: Pass

Adam EatonOF

Eaton was a consistent presence in the Nationals’ lineup in 2019, playing 151 games and hitting for a .279/.365/.428 line and going yard 15 times on the season. He’s got a very solid track record and will turn 31 in December. Washington’s club option for him heading into next year sits at $9.5 million. If the team declines it, perhaps Dayton Moore would want to create some competition in the outfield.

Verdict: Potentially

Yan GomesC

Gomes is a starting-caliber catcher. The Royals already have one in Salvador Perez.

Verdict: Pass

Asdrubal Cabrera2B/UTIL

Some Royals fans will remember Cabrera for his stellar play during the beginning of the decade as a member of the Cleveland Indians. That era is over, though, and Cabrera is now approaching his 34th birthday. If you throw in the fact that he’s a middle infielder, it’s not hard to see why he just doesn’t make sense for the Royals at this point.

Verdict: Pass

Jonny VentersP

Venters held a 12.38 ERA in 2019 (5.40 with Washington). Before that, he was very solid out of the bullpen in 2018. He’s had an awkward career, as he didn’t pitch at the major league level from 2013-17. Venters was one of the best relievers in all of baseball in his first few seasons Before missing five-straight campaigns. At 34, it’s clear his best baseball is behind him. The Royals can pass.

Verdict: Pass

Related Story. Making the case for free agency, Reds edition. light

Sean DoolittleP

A two-time All-Star, Doolittle has been one of the more consistent relievers in the game since coming into the league in 2012. With that said, he had arguably the worst season of his career last season. Tossing 60 innings en route to a 4.05 ERA, the 33-year-old came back down to earth a bit. If he were needed on a one-year deal, perhaps Kansas City could take a flyer out on him. Because he likely isn’t, KC can hold tight.

Verdict: Pass

Catching up with pitching prospect Zach Haake. dark. Next

Daniel HudsonP

Hudson was a below-average pitcher in 2016, 2017 and 2018 when he pitched for three separate teams. After going to yet another squad, then settling in with the Nationals in 2019, the right-hander finally gained control on the mound. Posting a 186 ERA+ on the season, teams should be cautiously optimistic in regards to how sure of a thing the 32-year-old is. He’d likely come cheap, though, which is music to Dayton Moore’s ears.

Verdict: Potentially