Will The Washington Nationals Offer Ben Revere Salary Arbitration?


On Episode #80 of THE NatsGM Show, guest Dan Rozenson and I were hypothesizing about possible Washington Nationals’ offseason moves – one particular comment Dan made, namely that Ben Revere would return in 2017, caught me off-guard.  After Revere was left off Washington’s postseason roster, I had made the assumption that Revere would not be offered salary arbitration this winter, making him a free agent.

Considering how shrewd Dan is, I started re-thinking my assumption and decided to revisit the Nats’ decision – Will Washington offer Ben Revere arbitration?


The 28-year-old Revere suffered through the worst year of his 7-year career in 2016, missing the first 30+ games of the season with an injured right oblique muscle.  When Revere returned, he hit only .217/.260/.300 with 18 extra base hits and 14 steals over 103 games played.   These numbers are not simply awful, they made him one of the worst full-time players in baseball last season.  According to MLBTradeRumors, Revere is expected to command $6.3 million in his final season of arbitration.  Without question, these numbers do not warrant $6.3 million for 2017.

However, prior to 2016 Revere had been one of the more consistent hitters in baseball, batting above .294 each year from 2012-2015.  Even including last season’s woeful numbers, Revere is still a career .285/.320/.342 hitter with 190 stolen bases over 748 games.  Therefore, it is easy to ponder if last season was an aberration or the beginning of a steep career decline?

One must immediately question if Revere was fully healthy last season, as the right oblique is the lead side for a left-handed hitter.  Although his average exit velocity was relatively stable from 2015 to 2016, one must wonder why his velocity dropped so severely on off-speed pitches, going from 83.06mph to 78.41.  A further look into his numbers also shows that Revere’s line drive rate dropped significantly from 2015 to 2016 (26.4% to 18.1%) and his fly ball percentage spiked, going from 18.9% in 2015 to 26.5%.  Certainly these numbers could be a one year abnormality, but this does have me wondering if he was ever healthy last season.

Additionally, Revere struggled through a year with a BABIP of .234, 60 points below league average and 80 points below his career .314.  Furthermore, only Ryan Howard had a lower BABIP in 2016 (.205) than Ben Revere.  Normally players with Revere’s profile, namely very fast runners with good contact skills, do not see their BABIP decline so drastically, so there is good reason to expect this number to normalize in 2017.  Finally, his BB% and K% percentages remained in line with his career averages, and Fangraphs graded him as a positive baserunner and defensive outfielder.

In conclusion, the Washington Nationals have a legitimately difficult decision with Ben Revere.  If the team is convinced he was injured much of last year and/or believes he will rebound next season, it is a slam-dunk to offer him arbitration.  The Nationals have long coveted a 4th outfielder capable of serving as a starter if injuries occur, and prior to 2016, Revere was an ideal major league 4th outfielder.

However, if the Nationals are worried Revere’s disastrous season was not due to injury, but the first sign in a career decline, Washington should obviously redistribute those funds toward other options.  If Revere were to reach free agency, I do think he would have a large list of suitors gambling on an intriguing buy-low option in the outfield.

In the end, I believe Washington will offer Revere arbitration, as it gives the team tremendous positional flexibility and $6.3 million is the going rate for a quality backup outfielder.  With the market rather limited this winter with free agent outfielders, keeping Revere provides Washington with a potentially strong 4th outfielder, a possible platoon option in either center field or left field, and allows the front office to seek additional offensive upgrades from a position of strength.

Washington Should Sign J.J. Hoover


According to the most recent Baseball America “Minor League Transactions” column, former Cincinnati Reds right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover has elected free agency after being outrighted from the 40-man roster in August.  A long-time personal favorite since scouting him in college, I believe the Washington Nationals should immediately attempt to sign Hoover to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Hoover entered the year as one of the favorites to act as the closer for Cincinnati, but unfortunately his season started poorly and he never recovered, allowing 29 runs, 29 hits and 12 walks in only 18.2 innings pitched before being demoted.  Prior to 2016, Hoover had been one of the more reliable relievers in baseball, posting four consecutive solid seasons for Cincinnati.  For his 5-year major league career, the 29-year-old Hoover owns a 4.12 ERA, 4.37 xFIP, and a 1.263 WHIP, with an impressive 8.9 K/9 ratio against a 4.2 BB/9.

While last season’s statistics are rather off-putting, after studying Hoover in-depth there are several reasons I believe Hoover could rebound.  First, I learned his average velocity was down 1.5mph last season (94.12mph in 2015 and 92.60mph in 2016).  Also, Hoover’s horizontal release point was the lowest of his career, perhaps indicating some type of injury hindering his performance.  (Thanks BrooksBaseball.net)

Finally, Hoover has spent his entire career with Cincinnati, pitching in their hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, which has contributed to his elevated his 1.4 Home Runs Allowed per 9 innings ratio.  As evidence, Hoover has allowed 25 career home runs at home in 137 innings verses 12 homers in 105.1 innings on the road – perhaps a change of scenery and a friendlier home park for pitchers could help rectify this issue.

In conclusion, while I certainly understand why Cincinnati decided to outright Hoover from their roster, I believe he represents an intriguing, no-risk gamble this offseason for the right club.  If he was truly injured or if he simply needs to recapture his previously higher arm slot, relievers with a career 8.9 K/9 ratio and a track record of success are rarely available on a potential minor league deal.  Washington’s front office should quickly seize this opportunity and see if a change of scenery can help J.J. Hoover return to his previous form.

THE NatsGM Show #81 – Special Guest Dan Barry


Episode #81 of THE NatsGM Show is now widely available and we are proud to welcome professional wrestler, standup comic and WWE reality television star, Dan Barry!

This week’s episode begins with Dan talking about his debut appearance in NoVA Pro Wrestling this Saturday, October 22nd, with tag-team partner Chuck Taylor against Logan Easton Laroux and Alexander James.  Next we discuss his 16-year career in professional wrestling, growing up as a fan and training with legendary ECW star Mikey Whipwreck.  Then we shift to his career as a comedian, how he got into comedy and the similarities and differences to professional wrestling.  Finally Dan shares his thoughts on his appearances on WWE’s Holy Foley, his friendship with Mick Foley, training Noelle Foley and Frank the Clown.

Special Thanks to Dan for joining the show and NoVA Pro Wrestling (@VAWrestling) for helping arrange this interview.  Thanks as always to our sponsor No Halftime and to you for listening!

THE NatsGM Show #80 – Guest Dan Rozenson

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THE NatsGM Show Episode #80 is now available and we are proud to welcome back to the program Pitch F/X guru for Baseball Prospectus and BrooksBaseball.net, Dan Rozenson!

This week Dan and I discuss the Washington Nationals unfortunate loss in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, why did the team fall short in Game 5 and what can be learned from the series .  Then we transition and focus our attention on the upcoming offseason, theorizing what moves the Nationals will make offensively at catcher, shortstop, and center field, among other spots.  Finally we talk about the 2017 pitching staff, who will act as the closer in 2017 and if we would re-sign Mark Melancon to a 3-year $36 million contract.

Thank you to Dan for joining us and to our sponsor, No Halftime, for their promotional considerations.  Please Rate and Review the show on iTunes and thanks for listening!