The Washington Nationals are in a good position right now. They have a dominant starting rotation, and they have young players like Bryce Harper who will shape the team’s future.
As the trade deadline approaches, the front office must think about acquiring a power hitting left fielder, though.
Does that definition ring a bell?
Yes, Carlos Quentin is the answer. Here are three reasons why the Nats’ should trade for the Padres’ left fielder.
He Would Give the Nationals Another Power Hitter
The Nationals are a decent power hitting team, but by no means great. The whole team as a unit ranks sixth in the National League with 64 home runs. A respectable number, but they are going to need more production from the offense if they plan on advancing past the first round of the playoffs.
The front office has already formed one, if not the most dominant pitching staffs in all of baseball and they are all just about to enter their prime. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson and Ching Ming Wang have combined to boast a major league best, 3.00 ERA. Not to mention that this impressive group is on pace to set a new strikeout record by a pitching staff. However, the great pitching needs to be backed by great hitting, which is why they need to pry Carlos Quentin away from the Padres.
In just 15 games, Quentin has launched six home runs and most of them were hit in the pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The fact that Quentin missed a big chunk of the season yet he still has more home runs than all the Nats’ left fielders combined, is saying something. This leads us into to the next reason.
Could Fix the No Left Field Production Problem
Left field has been a big problem for the Nationals in 2012. Maybe it’s because Jayson Werth has been on the shelf for the past month with an injured hand, but whatever the problem may be, it must been fixed.
All left fielders for the Nats have combined to hit for an atrocious batting average of just .180 accompanied by only four home runs. So if there is in a hole in the lineup, it’s in left field. However, Quentin would be a simple fix to this glaring problem. Not only would he carry the team with his power bat, but he would also get on base for the likes of Adam Laroche and Ryan Zimmerman to drive him in.
Now, when Jayson Werth returns sometime in the next few weeks, the Nats could boast a pretty solid outfield if they were to trade for the current Padre. On offense, Bryce Harper, Werth, and Quentin would possess power, speed, and the ability to get on base. That is the making of a solid core, and all three of those players are still young. Then you throw Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, and Adam Laroche into the mix, the Nationals lineup suddenly looks dangerous, and with their already dominant pitching staff, they would be an unstoppable force in the National League.
He Would take some of the Pressure off Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Laroche
Zimmerman has struggled to find his stroke here in 2012. The gold glove third basemen signed a hefty contract during the offseason, and has not lived up to the high standards that a $100+ million contract brings. Usually a .300+ hitter, Zimmerman is hitting just .234 with three home runs and 22 runs batted in. Meanwhile, Laroche is carrying the load.
However, is that what the Nationals want, though?
Do they want to rely on Adam Laroche to lead them offensively? I’m guessing they probably don’t, but for now they will take whatever they can get. But Quentin would take some of the pressure off Laroche and Zimmerman. They wouldn’t have to try to do too much and it would probably benefit them more than anything.
More importantly, Quentin could and deserves to take his talents to a winning team, and the Nationals are just starting to win and will continue to do so over the next several years.