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Nats Offseason Plan A, B, and C

12:56 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
The Nats celebrate one of the best moments in recent D.C. sports history (US Presswire)
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ASHBURN, Va. (WUSA) -- We've already gotten to the point where talking about the Washington Nationals offseason is 400 times more exciting than analyzing why the Wizards are the NBA's worst franchise, again.

Major League Baseball will be conducting their annual owners meetings in Nashville, TN December 3-6. The Nats will learn a gigantic amount about how their future will play out in the Music City.

General Manager Mike Rizzo usually likes to concoct an offseason trade or two, so keep your Twitter eyes peeled for information. If I were him, these would be my three separate plans of action during free agency.

Plan A

Re-sign first basemen Adam LaRoche (.271, 33 HR, 100 RBI, 76 R)

Sign starting pitcher Zack Greinke (15-5, 3.48 ERA, 200 K's, 1.20 WHIP)

Sign relief pitcher Chad Durbin (76 appearances, 3.10 ERA, 49 K's, 1.31 WHIP)

What does this mean?

If plan A is executed, the Nationals keep everything from the 2012 magical season intact, and then some. Greinke would be elevated to third in the rotation above Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler, and has Cy Young capabilities. The rotation -- arguably already the best in the league -- would become an unstoppable force. 

Some people aren't a fan of splurging potentially $80 million for a dominant 29-year-old starter like Greinke. But remember this: the Nationals starting unit avoided the injury bug for the duration of the 2012 season. It's highly unlikely each arm will go unscathed in 2013. And if the Lerner's have the money, why not?

Plan B

Sign center fielder Michael Bourn (.257, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 96 R, 42 SB)

Sign starting pitcher Joe Blanton (10-13, 4.71 ERA, 166 K's, 1.26 WHIP)

Sign first baseman Casey Kotchman (.229, 12 HR, 55 RBI, 46 R)

Sign relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth (34 appearances, 4.00 ERA, 25 K's, 1.33 WHIP)

What does this mean?

Parting ways with Adam LaRoche will be tough to swallow, but if someone like the Orioles were to offer him a five-year $50 million deal, the Nationals brass will likely pass on his services. LaRoche's replacement? Michael Morse is not necessarily a shoe-in. Tyler Moore will give Morse stiff competition at first, and one of the two may be dealt for prospects or relief pitching.

Bourn, who turns 30 in December, adds blazing speed, a leadoff bat and a permanent center fielder. I would guess Jayson Werth would slide to left field and also the number two spot in the order; followed by Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and then either Morse/Moore. Harper, who would move to right field because of his arm, reiterated his commitment to lifting weights the other day on 106.7 The Fan. He has potential for close to 35 homers in 2013.

I know Joe Blanton seems like a glorified version of John Lannan, but he's a playoff veteran who can morph into a long reliever without much of an issue. Kotchman will provide competition for the Goon Squad.

Plan C

Sign starting pitcher Shaun Marcum (7-4, 3.70 ERA, 109 K's, 1.27 WHIP)

Sign outfielder Melky Cabrera (.346, 11 HR, 60 RBI, 84 R 13 SB, 113 games)

What does this mean?

Although it's doubtful, Rizzo may opt to go the cost efficient route, showing the rest of the league the roster he already has is still good enough to be a surefire playoff team. Of course, this is a guy who had the audacity to shut down Stephen Strasburg. 

Marcum, 31, was an above average righty for the Brewers last season but missed some time with injury. What about Cabrera, you ask? Because of his drug suspension, the 28-year-old outfielder will go for cheaper than what he's worth. Cabrera could slide into left field and is worth rolling the dice for. If not, the Nats could survive with Steve Lombardozzi manning left.

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