MLB Trade Rumors: Could the Nationals be in on Robinson Cano?

Scott Halleran

Robinson Cano is the top free agent target this offseason, but he won't come cheap. Could the Nationals be in on Cano for their second base job?

Teams can start making contract offers to free agents now, and we heard today that the Phillies have already made several offers to some free agents, and are set to be very aggressive this offseason. And other teams might be still figuring out who they want to target and how much they are willing to spend on said targets. One free agent who will get plenty of attention this offseason is Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. I discussed the chances, albeit small, that the Dodgers sign Cano a few weeks ago, and today, I take a look a the possibility that the Nationals sign him.

The Nationals are no stranger to making a big splash in the offseason, as a few years ago, they signed Jayson Werth to a seven year, $126 million contract, mainly to make a statement that they were serious about building a winner in Washington. After missing out on the playoffs in 2013, the Nationals may be ready to make a splash this offseason, and Cano would be a huge splash.

First and foremost, they would have to dole out a few hundred million dollars over anywhere from six to eight years to win the biddlng on Cano. Once that is completed, the signing would send a message to Nationals fans and fantasy owners that Ryan Zimmerman would be making a move across the diamond to first base, and second baseman Anthony Rendon returning to his natural position at third base.

A move to first base for Zimmerman would result in the Nationals having to deal current first baseman Adam Laroche, who is coming off a down year. A team like the Rays could be a good match for Laroche, assuming the Nationals eat half of his $12 million contract plus the $2 million buyout. You throw in Drew Storen into the deal and you may not need to eat half of Laroche's contract. In return, the Nationals could some prospects.

Getting back to Cano, here is what the Nationals lineup would look like with Cano at second base:

CF Denard Span

SS Ian Desmond

LF Bryce Harper

2B Robinson Cano

1B Ryan Zimmerman

RF Jayson Werth

3B Anthony Rendon

C Wilson Ramos

That's a pretty damn good lineup that will play behind a rotation that includes two aces in Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann and near ace Gio Gonzalez. I am not sure the batting order I have listed above would be the most efficient Nationals lineup, as Harper and Cano are 3 hitters for me, but who's complaining, right?

Signing Cano would also signal to other teams that shortstop/second baseman Danny Espinosa is available on the trade market, in addition to Laroche. There are several teams that would trade for Espinosa to play second base like Los Angeles or shortstop, like the Cardinals or Yankees.

We haven't heard that the Nationals are in on Cano yet, but it would make sense for them, and would make them one of the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series next season.

For more on Nationals, check out Federal Baseball, SB Nation's Nationals fan site.

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