The Nationals have several spots to fill, a solid chunk of money to possibly do it with and lots of quality options to choose from.
The free agent list this year is not about superstar names. Rather, it’s about depth and quality. Even the second tier of free agents holds value, especially if their contracts are brief and costs suppressed by a mediocre market.
All week, we’re going to take a look at individuals who could fit in different places for the Nationals. Let’s check on former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
What he does well: Defense. Molina remains one of the better defensive catchers in the league, though he has slid back in recent years as he ages. He won his ninth Gold Glove in 2018 and continues to throw out runners at a high rate. His reputation also serves as a base-stealing deterrent. Teams were much more selective about running against Molina than they were against Yan Gomes or Kurt Suzuki. His offense also remains reasonable.
Where he fits with the Nationals: Suzuki is gone to free agency with an unclear future. Gomes remains in Washington on the final year of his contract. Molina is entering his age-38 season and is in decline. However, he would be an interesting one-year pairing with Gomes. The reduced workload would benefit both. The starting staff would also be happy to throw to Molina the way they were to throw to Suzuki. Molina’s depth of knowledge in regard to National League hitters would be a weapon in itself. Molina made $20 million each of the last three seasons (pro-rated in 2020). Suzuki was set to make $6 million in 2020. That’s a number the Nationals would like to match or be under at catcher next year since Gomes will receive a pay bump to $6 million.
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