Washington bid close to $200 million on outfielder Jason Heyward before he signed in mid-December with the Chicago Cubs. And the Nationals front office then made a play for Justin Upton before he inked a six-year, $132.75 million contract earlier this week with the Tigers.
It’s pretty clear that the Nationals want to make a big splash, and there’s only one top-tier free agent remaining on the open market. Connect the dots.
Here is FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal …
Could the signing of free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes be the next bombshell out of Washington D.C.?
The exact market for Cespedes remains unclear, but the Nationals are indeed pursuing the slugger, according to major-league sources.
Rosenthal says the Nationals have made a formal offer to Cespedes, though it is “said to be for less than the Tigers gave Upton.” Would something in the five-year, $100-110 million range get it done?
Cespedes had the best year of his career in 2015, slashing .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs and 105 RBI in 159 games between the Tigers and Mets.
The 30-year-old Cuban slugger is not a great on-paper fit for the Nationals’ current roster given that veteran left fielder Jayson Werth is owed $42 million over the next two seasons, right fielder and 2015 MVP Bryce Harper is locked in through 2018, and Ben Revere was brought in this winter to share time with Michael Taylor in center field. But a trade or two could clear some room.
Cespedes is also being pursued by the White Sox and Mets, but both of those teams are reluctant to go beyond three years. It’s a winnable bidding war for the Nats, who were a major disappointment last season.