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 a veteran outfielder with a big contract that may be on the trading block.
Player: Wil Myers
2021 Stats: 146 G, .256/.334/.434, 17 HR, 63 RBIs, .330 wOBA, 109 wRC+, 1.4 WAR
2021 Review: While Wil Myers didn’t have nearly as good of a season as he did in the shortened 2020 year, he did still post some decent production in 2021. The 31-year-old outfielder hit right near his career average at .256 to go with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs. Myers’ OBP (.334) and SLG (.434) were way down from his career-high 2020 marks, .353 OBP and .606 SLG, but they still were pretty consistent with where he has been in the past four or five seasons.
At his age, Myers might not ever be the 28 and 30 home run guy he was back in 2016 and 2017, but he does still have some pop and could be a valuable offensive addition to plenty of teams.
Trade Outlook: Now we get to the reason why a Myers deal is so complicated. The 31-year-old is a slightly above average player, but his current contract has him being paid like an All-Star. Myers has two years left on the six-year, $83M deal he signed with the Padres back in 2017.
While there is a club option in Myers’ deal for the 2023 season, he is set to make $22.5M this upcoming season, $13.83M of which will count against the luxury tax. If the Padres want to add a talented player in free agency once baseball resumes, they likely will have to move Myers or Eric Hosmer, another veteran on a big-money deal. MLB Trade Rumors mentioned how difficult it will be for San Diego to add talent if they are unable to move one of the veterans.
As such, the Padres’ spending will probably be limited to some extent, as Lin has “a hard time seeing the Padres taking on another contract approaching nine figures” while the contracts of Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers are still on San Diego’s payroll. Both Hosmer and Myers have been mentioned in trade rumors for well over a year, as the Friars have looked for creative ways of unloading either player’s hefty salary. Hosmer is the more expensive of the duo, owed $59MM through the 2025 season while Myers is owed $21MM in 2022 ($20MM in salary and a $1MM buyout of a $20MM club option for 2023).
Nationals Fit: If the Nationals were to swing a deal for Myers, he would instantly become their starting left fielder and would be a solid upgrade to their lineup. He would bring some much-needed power to the middle of the order and has the flexibility to play all over the outfielder as well as first base if need be.
Acquiring Myers wouldn’t be a “move the needle” type acquisition, but it would A)Make the Nationals a more competitive team this season, and B)Give them a potential l trade chip to move at the trade deadline. With a club option on his deal for 2023, Myers could be an attractive option for competing teams looking for a veteran, power bat in July.
Washington also could probably get San Diego to include a decent prospect in return for the Nationals taking on Myers’ bad contract, which makes the move even more intriguing.
Final Verdict: Wil Myers is exactly the type of player the Nationals should be targeting once the deadline ends. If the Padres are willing to include a prospect in return for the Nationals taking on his deal, the two seem like a very good match.