Over the last week-plus, both MLB Network insider Jon Heyman and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that even after acquiring Josh Bell in a 2-for-1 trade with Pittsburgh, Washington’s Nationals were still in the market for another power bat.
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo had said as much after the Bell trade was officially announced.
“This is a big upgrade for us,” Rizzo said of the addition of Bell. “Middle of the lineup presence that we’ve been looking for. We never stop trying to improve the club.
“We certainly won’t this offseason, but this fulfills a big part of our wish list in getting this middle of the lineup bat.”
According to multiple reports this morning, the Nationals have added another bat to the mix in the nation’s capital, signing Kyle Schwarber to a one-year deal.
Schwarber, 27, hit free agency this offseason after the 2014 1st round pick by the Cubs was non-tendered in December. He put up a .188/.308/.393 line with six doubles and 11 home runs in a +0.4 fWAR campaign in 2020, and, in six seasons in Chicago, put up a combined .230/.336/.480 line and 162-game average of 21 doubles and 36 homers over 551 games and 2,108 plate appearances.
Schwarber and Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez, of course, have history from the time the two spent together in the Windy City (2015-17).
While a defensively challenged (-3 DRS in 2020, -12 DRS career in left) outfielder, Schwarber does give the Nationals another middle-of-the-order bat, which Rizzo said earlier this winter was a priority this offseason.
“It’s no secret that we’re a pitching-oriented team. We’ve got three great strong starting pitchers coming back,” Rizzo said.
“We’ve got a bullpen that we feel is built with a lot of depth and versatility. We’ve got some good veteran guys back there and some good young arms, more on the come, so we felt that our best bet would be to kind of surround the guys we have in the middle of the lineup already with some more bats and make offensive production a little bit more of a priority this offseason.”
What do you think of the additions of Bell and Schwarber (who is apparently getting a 1-year/$10M deal)?
hear that Schwarber deal is for 1 yr and $10M with the #Nationals— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 9, 2021
What should Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office’s next move be? 4-5 starter? Bullpen help? Something else?
Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty was the first (we saw) with the report on the Nats signing Schwarber:
Source: The Nationals have signed Kyle Schwarber to a one-year deal pending a physical.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) January 9, 2021
Source confirms. Schwarber to LF and Soto to RF unless universal DH. #Nationals https://t.co/7DC9UMM7BU— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) January 9, 2021
With additions of Josh Bell and Schwarber, the #Nationals are trying to put some protection and might around Juan Soto.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 9, 2021