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The Washington Nationals are facing a host of changes after missing the playoffs in their title-defense campaign. They laid off a number of front office employees, including scouts and minor league coaches, while 15 players from their 40-man roster are now free agents, writes Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. The goal for the Nats remains as ever, building for the playoffs with a veteran-laden roster to support their young stars.

  • Dougherty notes a particular need for another heavy hitter in the middle of the order to help protect all-world outfielder Juan Soto. When World Series hero (and current free agent) Howie Kendrick went down with injury, the Nats didn’t have another bat capable of protecting Soto. An outfield corner spot seems the most likely place to find such a hitter, though they have a hole at first base as well, depending on the status of Mr. Nat  Ryan Zimmerman, who opted out in 2020. The rest of the infield is relatively set with Trea Turner manning shortstop, Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia looking to establish themselves at third and second, and the duo of Starlin Castro and Josh Harrison providing the safety nets for those positions.
  • The Yankees’ thinking on slugger Giancarlo Stanton has not changed in the weeks following their postseason elimination. The front office expects Stanton to spend most of his time at designated hitter in order to give him the best chance of staying healthy, per Erik Boland of Newsday. Though they think Stanton capable of playing the outfield, they’re paying him $29MM in 2021 for his bat to be in the lineup. If he could give them innings in the field, it would certainly help from a roster construction perspective, but his value proposition remains dependent on his offensive production.
  • The Mets have shut down their minor league camps because of positive COVID-19 tests, per the Athletic’s Tim Britton (via Twitter). There were two positive tests, and further testing hasn’t revealed any further positives as of right now. These are the proper protocols for any positive tests. The Mets camp will wait a couple of days until they can confirm the containment of the virus.
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