Washington made several moves Saturday night following its celebratory afternoon journey down Constitution Avenue.
It declined Yan Gomes’ $9 million option, as well as Ryan Zimmerman’s $18 million option. It picked up Sean Doolittle’s $6.5 million option and Adam Eaton’s $9.5 million option, according to multiple reports. Here’s the breakdown of what’s happening:
Gomes: His price point outweighed his production. Kurt Suzuki also became the preferred catcher for several members of the Nationals’ pitching staff. Gomes finished the regular season with a 78 OPS-plus (league average is 100). His defense was also subpar. The Nationals will look for another platoon option to pair with Suzuki. Gomes is unlikely to return, even at a discounted rate.
Zimmerman: Zero surprises here. His option was much too high for this stage of his career. He, and the team, expected this decision. He, and the team, expect to work something out. Anticipate Zimmerman signing a one-year deal in the $5-$7 million range, perhaps with an option. He’s publicly stated his desire to return and understanding he could well play the rest of his career on one-year deals. Don’t expect it to occur anywhere else. He’s the likely starting first baseman Opening Day 2020.
Doolittle: Picking up his option was a no-brainer. Doolittle remains a bargain at $6.5 million. Daniel Hudson is a free agent. Hunter Strickland is not a viable closer option. Doolittle will head into spring training as the team’s closer, again working on a deal well below open-market value for his services.
Eaton: Picking up his option was also an easy call. Washington has tremendous cost control among its outfielders. Juan Soto and Victor Robles remain at the bottom of the pay scale. Eaton’s $9.5 million option is modest when considered in the context of what the other outfielders are being paid.
The decisions give Washington quick clarity in its outfield, at first base and at closer. Stephen Strasburg’s decision to opt-out of his remaining contract created chaos elsewhere. Anthony Rendon’s long-awaited free agency opens a hole at third base. Welcome to the offseason.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS: