Nats keeping center field options open

Targeting McCutchen, Washington also considering Fowler, Gomez, Eaton

December 2nd, 2016

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have been connected to recently, but the team is reportedly keeping its options open as it searches for an outfielder and right-handed bat.

Washington is also considering free agents and , in addition to White Sox outfielder , according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The Nationals non-tendered the contract of outfielder before Friday's 8 p.m. ET deadline, increasing the importance of finding another outfielder.

Washington has expressed interest in acquiring Eaton in the past, and Chicago is reportedly open to listening to offers for the veterans on its roster. It would likely cost Washington less to acquire Eaton -- who turns 28 next week and is under team control until 2021 -- than it would McCutchen. But Eaton is also an imperfect fit. Although he has played center field in the past, he excelled last season in right field and probably fits better as a corner outfielder. The Nationals could either acquire him to play center field or place him in right field and move to center.

The Nationals could also turn to a free-agent option.

Fowler, 30, is coming off perhaps the best season of his career, when he hit .276/.393/.447 with an .840 OPS with the Cubs. He is likely to command a multi-year deal and could add versatility to the Nationals' lineup as a switch-hitter. He is a natural center fielder.

The other option is counting on a rebound season from Gomez, who turns 31 on Sunday. He struggled during the first half of the season in Houston with a .594 OPS in 85 games. After being released and signing with Texas, he hit eight of his 13 home runs this season and posted a .905 OPS in 33 games.