The Washington Nationals rank last among Major League Baseball teams in OPS from the leadoff spot. As a group, their center fielders are third from the bottom.It's not surprising, then, that they've had trade talks with the Colorado Rockies about Charlie Blackmon -- a productive leadoff-hitting center fielder.The Nationals and
The Washington Nationals rank last among Major League Baseball teams in OPS from the leadoff spot. As a group, their center fielders are third from the bottom.
It's not surprising, then, that they've had trade talks with the Colorado Rockies about Charlie Blackmon -- a productive leadoff-hitting center fielder.
The Nationals and Rockies have engaged in "preliminary" dialogue about a deal that would send Blackmon to Washington, sources say. While Nats general manager Mike Rizzo also is trying to upgrade a bullpen that buckled in the 2012 and '14 playoffs, Blackmon would address a glaring need.
For all the questions that follow players with huge numbers at Coors Field -- as Blackmon has -- even his .790 road OPS this year would be a substantial upgrade over the .611 posted by Nationals center fielders.
Most recently, Nats manager Dusty Baker has moved rookie Trea Turner atop the order. Ultimately, team officials would like to have a veteran with established on-base skills in the leadoff spot, to increase the number of times Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper come to the plate with runners in scoring position.
• Speaking of the Rockies, left-handed reliever Boone Logan will be among the most talked about bullpen arms across the industry in the coming days.
Logan, who will be eligible for free agency this offseason, has held lefties to a .465 OPS during the season -- a valuable skill to National League suitors like the Nationals, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants.
Why is an NL team most likely to make the strongest offer for Logan? Consider the significant left-handed (and switch-hitting) bats on the NL side of the playoff bracket:
Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward
Nationals: Harper, Murphy, Danny Espinosa
Giants: Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Denard Span, Ángel Pagán
Dodgers: Adrián González, Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Chase Utley, Yasmani Grandal
• Asked to identify the most active seller in trade talks this week, one executive identified the San Diego Padres, with Andrew Cashner the most probable trade candidate. Cashner has a history of injuries and inconsistency, but as a rental pitcher, teams are most concerned with how he looks right now . And he's coming off an impressive performance against the first-place Giants.
The Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles are among the teams with interest in Cashner. Expect his next start -- Wednesday in St. Louis -- to be scouted heavily.
Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.