Welcome to the offseason edition of the Nationals Beat newsletter. This is your stop for the latest on and off the field, from news to exclusive player interviews and insights brought to you by MLB.com club reporter Jessica Camerato.
Kyle Schwarber. Jeimer Candelario. Dominic Smith. The Nationals have had recent success in signing veteran contributors who had been non-tendered and seeing them have bounce-back seasons in Washington.
Following this year’s non-tender deadline on Friday night, there are notable names who potentially could fit the Nats’ 2024 needs.
The Nationals have to fill the starting first-base role after they designated Smith for assignment ahead of the Rule 5 Draft protection deadline. If they shift Joey Meneses back to first, where he played in 2022, they would need to find a new designated hitter.
The Nats also could consider starting Ildemaro Vargas, Carter Kieboom or Jake Alu at third base to open the season, or they could explore external options.
Across the lineup, Washington is looking to boost its offensive power after finishing last in the NL in home runs. On the opposite side of the field, pitching remains a priority.
Here are three notable position players now on the free-agent market.
1B Rowdy Tellez
Non-tendered by: Brewers
2023: 105 games, .215/.291/.376, 13 home runs, .667 OPS
2022: 153 games, .219/.306/.461, 35 home runs, .767 OPS
Following a career year in home run production, Tellez’s power dipped this past season amid injuries which limited him to 26 games in the second half. The lefty first baseman posted a .996 fielding percentage at the position in 2023. Read more on the Brewers’ decision to non-tender Tellez here.
INF/OF Nick Senzel
Non-tendered by: Reds
2023: 104 games, .236/.297/.399, 13 home runs, .696 OPS
2022: 110 games, .231/.296/.306, five home runs, .601 OPS
The Nationals covet defensive versatility, and Senzel has played at second base, third base and all three outfield positions over his five-year career. Senzel, a righty, also has a .287 career batting average versus lefties. Read more on the Reds’ decision to non-tender Senzel here.
DH Daniel Vogelbach
Non-tendered by: Mets
2023: 104 games, .233/.339/.404, 13 home runs, .742 OPS
2022: 130 games (Mets and Pirates), .238/.360/.433, 18 home runs, .793 OPS
Vogelbach turned heads in 2022 when he was acquired midseason from Pittsburgh and hit .255 with an .830 OPS in 55 games with the Mets. A lefty hitter, Vogelbach has a career .129 batting average against left-handers, but he had a solid 50 percent hard-hit rate overall this season. Read more on the Mets’ decision to non-tender Vogelbach here.
Who tied for most doubles on the Nationals in 2023?
A. CJ Abrams and Joey Meneses
B. Abrams and Keibert Ruiz
C. Meneses and Lane Thomas
D. Ruiz and Thomas
NATIONALS ORGANIZATION ALL-STARS ANNOUNCED
Considering prospects from all levels of the Nationals’ farm system, MiLB.com selected Minor League All-Stars at every position. This season, the honorees are:
• 1B: Travis Blankenhorn
• 2B: Darren Baker (Nationals’ No. 24 prospect, per MLB Pipeline)
• SS: Jordy Barley
• 3B: Brady House (Nationals’ No. 3, MLB No. 40)
• OF: James Wood (Nationals’ No. 2, MLB No. 7)
• OF: Dylan Crews (Nationals’ No. 1, MLB No. 4)
• OF: Jacob Young (Nationals’ No. 29)
• C: Drew Millas (Nationals’ No. 22)
• RHP: Jackson Rutledge (Nationals’ No. 13)
• LHP: Andrew Alvarez
• RP: Marquis Grissom Jr.
Of this group, Blankenhorn, Young, Millas and Rutledge played on the Major League level this season.
C. Meneses and Thomas led the Nats with 36 doubles each. Abrams (28) and Ruiz (24) followed in third and fourth place.
The Nationals held auditions on Saturday for hopefuls vying to be selected as the Racing Presidents next season. Wearing Tom, George & Abe presidential suits, candidates competed in two solo timed 40-yard dashes as well as two longer group foot races at the Washington Nationals Philanthropies Youth Baseball Academy. The Racing Presidents have been official mascots of the Nats since debuting on July 21, 2006.
This event is taking place at Nationals Park in the offseason:
• Nov. 24-Dec. 31: Enchant
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