One of the contenders that kept swinging and missing in this offseason are the Washington Nationals, going after most of the big name free agents on the market but rarely walking away with the prize they wanted.
The most recent example is Yoenis Cespedes, one of the best hitters on the market who preferred staying with the New York Mets for slightly less money than what the Nationals were offering despite the short-term deal. The Mets offered more money per season, but only three years, compared to the $100 million, five years the Nationals had on the table for him, which was much closer to what he was initially looking for when free agency began.
This isn’t the first player this offseason to take less money in order to play somewhere else, with some of the events unfolding late last season possibly proving to be a deterrent to free agents regarding the ballclub. Both Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist signed with the Chicago Cubs who seemed like the most attractive franchise for players to go to over the last two months despite the Nationals offering both of them more money.
Other players that the Nationals are rumored to have missed out on are Darren O’Day of the Baltimore Orioles who looked like he was on the verge of signing for Washington at some point; Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman (traded player) ended up with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees instead of Washington. The trade for Brandon Phillips collapsed as well, after he used his trading veto to cancel it from happening after the deal almost being agreed upon.
Who did the Nationals sign? Oliver Perez, Yusmeiro Petit, Shawn Kelley, Daniel Murphy and Ben Revere among others. Not bad players, but all of them seem to be fallback options compared to what the Nationals had planned originally, in something of a disappointing offseason, although it doesn’t stop them from having plenty of expectations going into 2016.