On a certain level, the Nationals’ decision Friday night not to tender a contract to Luke Voit made sense. They never coveted the 31-year-old in the first place. He was simply a player added to last summer’s haul of prospects in the Juan Soto-Josh Bell deal with the Padres because the Nats needed one actual big leaguer who could finish out the season with them.
Voit wasn’t going to be part of the Nats’ long-term plan, so why spend $8 million or so via arbitration to bring him back?
That’s all sound logic, except for the end result of all this: The Nationals now need to acquire two more bats this winter, and there’s a good chance it’ll cost them more than $8 million to find somebody at least as productive as Voit.
At this early stage of the offseason, we can probably safely name six of the projected nine members of the Opening Day 2023 lineup: Keibert Ruiz behind the plate, Joey Meneses at first base (or maybe left field), Luis García and CJ Abrams in the middle infield, Victor Robles in center field and Lane Thomas in right field.
Third base will be up for grabs, with Carter Kieboom attempting to return from Tommy John surgery, Ildemaro Vargas returning after a surprisingly productive couple of months to end the season and Jake Alu now on the 40-man roster after putting up some shockingly good numbers at Triple-A Rochester.