Players across the majors usually get non-tendered for good reason: They haven’t performed nearly well enough to merit the salaries they’d command via arbitration. So, the 43 newly minted free agents who became available late Monday night don’t exactly leave scouts drooling.
But non-tendered players do make for affordable reclamation projects, and sometimes they prove to be savvy pick-ups for new clubs.
With that in mind, here are a handful of guys who just got whacked this week and could pique the Nationals’ interest…
CHRIS COGHLAN, OF
It’s been a precipitous drop-off for the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, but if healthy he could still prove valuable to someone. A left-handed-hitting outfielder who also has logged a little bit of time in the infield, sports a career .270 batting average and .337 on-base percentage could merit consideration.
SAM FULD, OF
Another left-handed-hitting outfielder coming off a miserable season, Fuld is a stellar defender with some speed. His career offensive numbers (.234/.314/.330) aren’t much to get excited about, though.
PAUL JANISH, INF
With Steve Lombardozzi now in Detroit, the Nationals are going to want to bring in a utility infielder who can compete with Danny Espinosa for a spot on the bench. Janish is an elite defensive player, a true whiz at shortstop. Problem is, he sports Mario Mendoza-like numbers at the plate: .214/.284/.288.
GARRETT JONES, OF
Probably the best hitter of the 43 non-tenders, the former Pirates outfielder/first baseman provides some legitimate pop from the left side of the plate, including a trio of 20-homer seasons. He’d make perfect sense for the Nationals coming off the bench, but you wonder if some other club might offer Jones the opportunity to get more playing time, and whether that ultimately would sway his decision.
XAVIER PAUL, OF
Little-known fact: Paul was a Nat before, a minor-league free agent who was in big-league camp in Viera in 2012 before getting released. He wound up contributing to the Reds the last two seasons, though his ceiling appears to be as a fifth outfielder.
JUSTIN TURNER, INF
The Nationals saw plenty of Turner the last three seasons with the Mets, and while he won’t blow you away, he’s more than a serviceable infielder. You could certainly do worse than a .267/.327/.371-hitting utilityman.