The Washington Nationals have plenty of reasons to be disappointed in themselves. They floundered for 75 percent of the season, then turned it on and were still eliminated. They wasted pitching gem after pitching gem, never scoring enough runs and coming one hit short.
There are many different solutions to the Nationals’ problems. Some will be ridiculous and fueled by fans’ dreams and some will make sense. As an example of what not to do, Washington can look across the map to the Los Angeles Angels, a team that blew up their pitching rotation and went after more offense where after another disappointing season, which is pretty much the polar opposite of how to build a team in today’s league.
What the Angels did was make impulsive, ownership-fueled moves that may have made some sense at the time, but only hurt the team for 2013 and in the long run.
I am of the opinion that Washington should do what they can to sign second baseman Robinson Cano because of the balance he will provide in their lineup, the stellar defense he will play and the fact that he will solidify a position Washington has struggled to have longevity at since they moved from Montreal. Reports surfaces yesterday that Cano will be asking for a 10-year deal in the range of $305 million. Aside from the fact that the number is just plain stupid, it’s pretty safe to say Cano will not get that deal.
Let’s look back at the Angels for a second, and you’ll get a two-word example of why Washington or any other team should not entertain that number: Albert Pujols. Pujols is in year two of a $240 million contract, and the Angels have done nothing but struggle since he signed. What’s more, Cano’s market is not going to be very strong anyway, as many in the media cannot seem to name more than two or three teams that will even give him a call.
Sure, there are teams thrown around that are looking to change the outlook people have on them, but that never is a good reason to sign a player, and it’s not very enticing for a player to sign there.
Washington needs to make pragmatic, well thought-out moves, not impulsive, Angels-esque ones. If Cano is looking for a record-breaking deal, then by all means Washington should go into Spring Training with an open competition between Steve Lombardozzi, Zach Walters and Danny Espinosa if he decides to get surgery and is healthy by the spring.
If Cano is out there and his market is what I expect it to be, then Washington will be in a fantastic position to sign him. It’s not as though Washington desperately needs Cano, but signing him would certainly be an upgrade. That said, it’s about being smart, not impulsive.