⚾️⚾️ The Morning Briefing: Dodgers continue to add while rest of league waits
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, January 8.
Good Morning Washington Nationals Fans,
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, January 8, 2024.
Welcome to the Morning Briefing. I am back for another edition, breaking down the latest signing in MLB.
Leading today’s Morning Briefing: Dodgers add another big power bat
According to Jeff Passan, the Dodgers added corner outfielder/designated hitter Teoscar Hernandez to a one-year, $23.5M deal with $8.5M being deferred. The early returns on the math suggest that the actual luxury tax hit will be slightly below $20M.
So what does this mean for the rest of the league and the Nationals? The market is almost nonexistent, with teams balking at offering many of these players long-term contracts, which makes sense. I’ve talked a lot about the red flags in the offensive profile of a player like Cody Bellinger, and Hernandez had his question marks after the 2023 season. There were just not a whole lot of sure bets in this free agency class.
That is all without factoring in the implosion of regional sports networks and their subsequent payments to teams. Without these payments, there is much uncertainty surrounding many franchises.
This leaves the Nationals in a nice position. The team has plenty of payroll space, so offering a big one-year deal to a free agent like Jorge Soler where he can prove he is more like his 2023 results than his 2020 to 2022. Is Soler likely to sign with the Nationals under those terms? Probably not. The Nationals don’t have the best hitting coach on the planet like the Dodgers do, nor do they have World Series aspirations or a super-mega star like Shohei Ohtani or Mookie Betts. But if there was an offseason that it could be done, it would be this one.
Nationals add minor league depth
Over the past month, the Nationals kept themselves busy by bringing in multiple players on minor league deals. Most of them are just depth pieces, but because of the lack of overall news let’s quick talk about them.
RH reliever Ty Tice: Tice last appeared in the majors in 2021. In 2023, he was with the Braves minor league Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, where he posted the best strikeout rates of his career. Halfway through the year, his walk rate and home run rate skyrocketed, putting a damper on what was a mini breakout for Tice. If he can perform again like in the first half of 2023, he could pitch his way onto the major league roster.
RH reliever Samuel Reyes: Another depth option, the 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons pitching in the upper minors for the Cubs. He had strong results in 2023 but is likely only going to pitch in Harrisburg and Rochester in 2024.
1B Dérmis Garcia: Garcia played in 39 games for the 2022 Oakland Athletics, but had no shot of winning the first base job in 2023 thanks to a breakout performance from Ryan Noda. Garcia has shown significant power in the minors, but his high strikeout rate makes him nothing more than a depth option. Still, Garcia makes the Nationals farm better as a higher upside, more athletic upgrade over Matt Adams, who got a bulk of the playing time at 1B in 2023.
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