Robinson Cano Should Top Washington Nationals' Offseason List

By Nick Comando
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Not long ago, the Washington Nationals thought they had their second baseman of the future in a young switch hitter named Danny Espinosa, who came up in the previous September like a house on fire and had a very impressive first half as a rookie.

Unfortunately, injuries derailed Espinosa’s budding career, and he has now been relegated to the minors where he continues not to hit and will at some point have to capitulate to shoulder surgery.

Enter Anthony Rendon, Washington’s big-name draft pick who has converted to second base, though is a natural third baseman. Rendon has been solid if nothing else for Washington, but with Adam LaRoche‘s down season, many believe that the fabled Ryan Zimmerman-to-first base plan will finally come to fruition.

LaRoche would be the casualty via trade, freeing up third for Rendon and first for Zimmerman, whose throwing issues can no longer be ignored.

With that in mind, combined with Washington’s disappointing season, changes will come; and if the aforementioned plan plays out, Washington will have a hole at second base — a hole that could be filled by none other than Robinson Cano.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote an article speculating where Cano could end up, and listed the top three destinations as the Detroit Tigers, Washington and the San Francisco Giants.

Detroit probably is a no-go unless Cano’s market completely breaks down, as their next contract focus will probably be Miguel Cabrera. Max Scherzer may not be far behind, and the team will run out of money at some point.

The Giants’ last big free agent signing was Barry Zito, and based on the results (102-63/3.55 ERA with OAK, 62-79/ 4.62 ERA with the Giants), it would be hard to believe that they would take a gamble on a 30-year-old player many fans call “lazy.”

Washington makes a lot of sense for Cano, and the idea could seriously intrigue him. Washington has one of the league’s richest ownership groups so the contract, though large, will not be a problem. Imagine plugging Cano in between names like Bryce Harper,  Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond. Washington’s lineup would all of a sudden become frighteningly balanced again.

Cano’s defense is stellar, and of course he will have the maddening error every so often, but this is the way he plays and any team signing him will need to accept that.

Of course, Washington does have players they too need to take care of in Stephen StrasburgJordan ZimmermannIan DesmondWilson Ramos and so on. However, with the team trending upward, and with the MASN dispute being rectified at some point, Washington’s financial situation, which is already good, could become even better.

Cano to the Nationals makes a lot of sense. He will solidify a position of need for years to come in Washington, and his bat will make the Nationals all the scarier.

Nick Comando is a Washington Nationals writer for Follow him on Twitter (@NickComando) and on Google+

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