As expected, the Nationals tendered their only two remaining arbitration-eligible players (Juan Soto and Trea Turner) before Wednesday’s 8 p.m. deadline. And as expected, a whole bunch of notable names were non-tendered by other clubs and became instant free agents.
All told, 59 players were non-tendered, joining an already large list of free agents looking for work during what’s expected to be a rough winter for everyone. And though the new additions to the list don’t include star-level names, there are more than a few intriguing ones who are now available, particularly for a Nationals club that has some obvious holes to fill.
We’ve previously run through a host of the Nats’ potential free agent targets, lumping them by position. But let’s run through some of the newly unemployed outfielders who might particularly be of some interest to the local ballclub ...
Opening day 2021 age: 32
2020 stats (with ATL): 209 PA, .237 AVG, .301 OBP, .532 SLG, .833 OPS, 16 HR, 33 RBI, 2 DRS (in LF), -2 DRS (in RF), 0.6 bWAR
Comment: The Braves’ decision to non-tender one of the league’s best power hitters caught a lot of people off-guard but was a perfect illustration of the dilemma National League teams are in right now. Without knowing yet if they will again use a DH in 2021, the Braves couldn’t risk committing money to Duvall and then not having a spot to sign a better middle-of-the-order bat (like Marcell Ozuna) later this winter. Duvall’s far from perfect. He’s very streaky at the plate, hits for a low average and owns a career .293 on-base percentage. But he was third in the NL in homers this year. He’s a solid defensive left fielder. And he might just pair up nicely as a right-handed complement to Andrew Stevenson if the Nationals want to try to go with a cheaper platoon at one corner outfield position.
Opening day 2021 age: 27
2020 stats (with COL): 99 PA, .183 AVG, .222 OBP, .247 SLG, .470 OPS, 0 HR, 9 RBI, -3 DRS (in CF), -0.7 bWAR
Comment: Don’t pay too much attention to Dahl’s 2020 stats. He was hampered by back and shoulder injuries. He was an All-Star in 2019, batting .302/.353/.524 with 15 homers and 61 RBIs in 413 plate appearances. Yes, he benefited from Coors Field, but the left-handed hitter has skills that should still be productive in normal ballparks. He’s not a great defender, but the Nats wouldn’t need him to play center field, as he often did in Colorado. This could be a buy-low move that pays off if Dahl is healthy and reaches his full potential.
Opening day 2021 age: 28
2020 stats (with CHC): 224 PA, .188 AVG, .308 OBP, .393 SLG, .701 OPS, 11 HR, 24 RBI, -3 DRS (in LF), -0.2 bWAR
Comment: He won’t hit for average, but boy will he hit for power. From 2017-19, Schwarber averaged 31 homers in only 535 plate appearances. He also draws walks, producing a career .336 on-base percentage that’s more than 100 points better than his career .230 batting average. He’s kind of a butcher in the field, so he’d be a better fit if you knew the NL was going to have a DH next season. But he can catch in a pinch, and Davey Martinez knows him well from his time with the Cubs.
Opening day 2021 age: 29
2020 stats (with MIN): 231 PA, .257 AVG, .316 OBP, .476 SLG, .792 OPS, 13 HR, 42 RBI, 3 DRS (in LF), 0.9 bWAR
Comment: He didn’t get as much publicity as his Twins teammates, but Rosario was a certified member of the Bomba Squad that blasted balls out of Target Field on a nightly basis. He earned down-ballot MVP votes each of the last two years. He’s been an above-average offensive player (based on OPS+) each of the last four years. He’s got solid defensive numbers in left field. His name won’t generate many headlines, but he could be an inexpensive quality player for any team.
Opening day 2021 age: 26
2020 stats (with CHC): 34 PA, .167 AVG, .265 OBP, .200 SLG, .465 OPS, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 DRS (in CF), -0.1 bWAR
Comment: Speaking of former Cubs who used to play for Davey Martinez ... Almora doesn’t have the upside Schwarber does, but he’s been a decent center fielder in the past. The Nats wouldn’t look at him as an everyday player, but as a right-handed backup outfielder in the Michael A. Taylor role, he might be worth consideration.