clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals’ Black Friday shopping list; What should be on it...

Here are some ideas about what Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Washington Nationals’ front office should be looking for on Black Friday...

Washington Nationals Introduce Dusty Baker Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

It’s one day after Thanksgiving, which typically means some time to relax with your family and friends, eat some leftovers, and then pass out for the day.

Or go spend thousands of dollars of money on gifts. It’s your call, actually.

If the Lerners/Mike Rizzo decide to go with the latter route, they can probably skip the Walmart and the Best Buy, and instead go straight to Scott Boras — here are a few things that they should try and get while they’re hot, hot, hot:

A stadium naming rights deal:

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when the Nats were supposedly putting the naming rights to Nationals Park on the market at the beginning of 2016? How a deal seemed imminent, likely to come within the next year? And then it didn’t, so the team said it would come in 2017? Yeah, that looks like it’s not happening.

Which is a shame — SunTrust Bank is paying the Atlanta Braves $10 million a year for the naming rights to their ballpark, and that’s not chump change at all. Nationals Park could bring in even more than that, which would certainly account for a few players’ salaries (or a couple of managers’ salaries).

Apparently, the team has been trying now for a few years, and it’s led to a few new sponsors — MGM, Mars — but they’ve now sold nearly every marketable object except the stadium itself (The Geico Garage? The MGM Dugout Club?). Sell your souls, Lerners!

An international free-agent or two

South Korea v Japan - WBSC Premier 12 Semi Final Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

Okay, this is a little unrealistic, but maybe Target has a sale?

Realism aside, there are a lot — and when I say a lot, I mean a lot — of really valuable international free agents hitting the market. Shohei Otani, Japanese Babe Ruth And Savior of Baseball comes to mind. However, the Nats can only offer him $300,000 dollars as a bonus, and Otani will probably command just a little more than that. (Also, they would owe the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Otani’s Japanese team, around $20 million. Again, the odds are slim.)

But perhaps they can entice one of Atlanta’s newly freed international free-agents? Maybe not Kevin Maitan, but one of the others? It would be worth checking the ads to see if there are any good deals.

A fifth starting pitcher

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The Nationals have four starting pitchers heading into next year — Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, and Gio Gonzalez. Two of those are pitchers they can trust. Roark and Gonzalez are a little more iffy. What’s more iffy is the team’s fifth rotation spot, which either Erick Fedde (disappointing in a short major league stint) or A.J. Cole (mediocre in a longer major league stint) will fill.

Joe Ross will presumably reclaim the spot come July or August, when he returns from Tommy John surgery, but Ross has also been inconsistent in his time in Washington.

With that in mind, the Nationals should definitely invest in a fifth starter — nobody too flashy or Boras-represented — that can provide insurance in case one of the front-line starters are injured, in addition to just giving the team a significantly better chance to win games than, say, A.J. Cole or Erick Fedde would.

Moreover, if he sticks, the Nats could finally use Joe Ross in the bullpen role they’ve been threatening to use him in for so long.

A little more bullpen help

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images

Right now, the Nationals have a very strong back end of the bullpen (something they could not say last year) in Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. They also have what could be a reasonably strong middle bullpen with Koda Glover, Enny Romero, and Sammy Solis. There are currently two glaring weaknesses in the pen, though: A seventh-inning pitcher, and a long-reliever.

Glover, if he can prove that he can stay healthy, could easily fill the seventh inning on stuff alone. However, the Nats shouldn’t bank on him to be usable simply based on previous years, meaning that they may need to go out and get a seventh-inning man — a Pat Neshek, Brandon Kintzler, or Brandon Morrow type.

Also, the Nats went into October without a reliever who could pitch more than two innings at a time. They were able to escape the consequences for the first four games, but having someone who they could trust for say, three innings up 4-3 in the top of the fifth inning wouldn’t have killed them. Maybe that person is Joe Ross. Maybe that person is someone else. But he’s out there, and the Nats need him.

A Bryce Harper/Anthony Rendon extension

Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

This would be the equivalent of going into Walmart for a fifty dollar toaster and leaving with a $7000 4K television. Which isn’t to say it’s impossible, but just unlikely. However, everyone has a price — and if the Nats can blow Scott Boras away, they can save themselves a lot of hassle come this time next year, when Harper will be on the open market and Rendon will be in the position Harper currently holds.

The odds of this happening are slim. But if the Nats have a shopping list, this should be at the very top.