Bashing Together In DC: The Nationals Should Go All-In For Stanton
Since moving to Washington, D.C. the Nationals have been one of baseball’s more aggressive franchises. Under the ownership of Ted Lerner they have never been shy about making the bold moves necessary to bring a winning team to the nation’s capital.
They have signed Max Scherzer to what was then the largest free agent contract ever given to a pitcher.
The handed Stephen Strasburg a $175 million extensions to avoid the open market and stay in D.C.
Along with everyone else they had on the books in 2017 the Nationals exceeded the luxury tax for the first time.
And yet, NOW is the time for the franchise to go ALL-IN!
The upcoming season represents a make or break year for the franchise—or at least a transition year. They have won 95+ games in four of the last six seasons, yet haven’t made it passed the division series.
The 2019 team could be vastly different. They stand to lose several veterans including franchise player Bryce Harper, offensive standout Daniel Murphy, starter Gio Gonzalez, and shutdown setup reliever Ryan Madson to free agency.
While the Nationals’ farm system is well-prepared to restock the major league team, prospects, no matter how highly touted, are never sure things. Washington needs to operate as if 2018 is their best (and only) chance to win a World Championship.
They need to cash in their chips, go all-in, and make the Marlins an offer they can’t refuse.
The Nationals NEED to get Giancarlo Stanton.
On the surface the idea seems ludicrous. Trading for Stanton, especially from division rival Miami, would require a massive haul of prospects. Washington would likely be able to hang onto prize prospect Victor Robles, but anyone else would be up for grabs for the Marlins.
Then there’s Stanton’s contract to consider. His salary alone would blow their budget, pushing Washington deeper into the luxury tax than ever before. It would be an extremely expensive transaction to make.
But only for one year. Following the 2018 season the Nationals clear more than $65 million from their books, and likely would escape from a third consecutive season.
Nearly a third of those dollars belong to Harper, who undoubtedly will leave Washington for much greener pastures. That is why acquiring Stanton NOW, despite all the hurdles, makes so much sense. It would be a preemptive strike, aiming at keeping their window of contention wide-open.
Either Stanton or Harper can man left-field for a year, and together they could mash their way into bringing that elusive World Championship back the D.C. Then when Harper leaves Stanton can slide into the face-of-the-franchise role.
It would be a huge risk. It might backfire. The cost in prospects is going to sting. And for years the Nationals have been robbing Peter to pay Paul, deferring tens of millions of dollars.
Regardless of how their TV contract/lawsuits go, those bills are going to come do. And it could bankrupt the franchise. But that’s not enough of a reason to not bring the game’s best slugger to the nation’s capital.
A parade down Pennsylvania Avenue would look pretty sweet next fall, and help everyone forget about the cost.