The baseball season is officially over — which means that another season begins today. Welcome... to the Hot Stove.
The Nationals are in a good place — they’re a talented young team with postseason experience. Even so, there are a lot of decisions to be made this offseason, all of which will be made in an effort to get Washington over the hump, by getting them to the NLCS... or further. But, you have to get to the playoffs first before you can get out of the first round... so how do you get the Nationals back to October... and then, how do you get them deep into October?
Here’s the rundown
The Nats are (potentially) losing Wilson Ramos, Mark Melancon, Stephen Drew, Marc Rzepczynski, Matt Belisle, Sean Burnett, and Chris Heisey to free agency.
They can choose to extend a 1-year/$17.2 million qualifying offer to any of the eligible players (who were with the team all year), or they can let them go directly into the open market.
Additionally, they have six players that are eligible for arbitration — Ben Revere, Jose Lobaton, Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Tanner Roark — who they can also choose to tender contracts to (their projected salaries are provided by MLB Trade Rumors in the grand look at all things offseason).
The Nationals have already exercised their option on Gio Gonzalez and bought out Yusmeiro Petit’s 2017 contract for $500,000.
Everyone else is on board for 2017, unless you think it’s best to release or trade them.
Here’s how the payroll will stack up for the 2017 season (with arbitration estimates).
Here’s the Nationals’ 40-man roster as it’s currently comprised.
Here’s a list of every player that is eligible for free-agency this offseason.
The rest is up to you. Would you extend Wilson Ramos a qualifying offer? Would you make a big trade for a corner outfielder like Andrew McCutchen?
Would you sign Yoenis Cespedes or Dexter Fowler? Would you re-sign Mark Melancon, or go after Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman? The world is your oyster!
Let us know about your plan in the comments section. Or, go above and beyond and write a FanPost and lay out the details!