When the lockout eventually ends, the Washington Nationals have some work to do. With that in mind, we revisit our series where we will examine some potential targets for the Nationals once baseball finally returns. Today, we take a look at an outfielder that may be on the move.
Player: Randal Grichuk
2021 Stats: .241/.281/.423, 22 HR, 81 RBIs, .300 wOBA, 85 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
2021 Review: After having one of the best years of his career in the shortened 2020 season, Randal Grichuk took a step back in 2021. The now 30-year-old outfielder struggled to make consistent contact, posting a batting average and OBP both well below .300. While Grichuk did strikeout quite a bit, he still did hit for some power, recording 22 home runs and 81 runs batted in.
Grichuk is a very streaky hitter, shown by his splits last season. From April 1st to June 15th, the outfielder slashed .264/.294/.476, with 13 HR, 44 RBIs, and a .770 OPS. While his OBP was still low, he had pretty solid power numbers and was on pace to have close to another 30 home run season. From June 16 on, Grichuk struggled, slashing .218/.269/.372 with just 9 HR and 37 RBIs.
Trade Outlook: The Blue Jays were already looking to move Grichuk before the lockout, as the outfielder was rumored to be discussed in a trade involving Jackie Bradley Jr. and the Milkwaue Brewers, so there’s a very good chance Toronto will try to move him again once baseball returns. The reason the Blue Jays are looking to move Grichuk is his contract. The outfielder is scheduled to make $10.4M each of the next two seasons, and will not hit free agency until 2024. Toronto’s team payroll is at $132M, according to Spotrac, so if they want to make any more key acquisitions moving Grichuk might be a necessity.
Nationals Fit: Grichuk and the Nationals would be a very good match. The 30-year-old could slide in as your starting left fielder, and would bring some much-needed power to a lineup that lacks pop. Sure, Washington would have to take on the $22M or so Grichuk is owed over the next two seasons, but with their payroll currently sitting at just $92M that would not be an issue. Grichuk also could be a guy who is dealt at the trade deadline to a contending team if he has a hot start to the season.
Final Verdict: The Blue Jays want to move Grichuk, so it would not cost Washington much of anything to acquire the outfielder. He’s not going to be an All-Star, but acquiring Grichuk would immediately upgrade the Nationals team for the present and also give them a potential trade chip for the future.
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