While signing Prince Fielder would have upgraded the Nationals offense tremendously, the money saved could be used next year for a huge offer to Cole Hamels. Granted, the Phillies will try to have him locked up before he becomes a free agent next year, but there is the chance of him hitting the open market.
A Hamels move from the Phillies to the Nationals would shift some of the power in what should be an elite division for the foreseeable future. The Braves and Marlins (a lot depending on Josh Johnson’s health) have the talent for 90-plus wins already. The Nationals aren’t quite ready to make their move yet, but they’re not far off. A Hamels move pushes them up while taking the Phillies back a step, putting all four teams closer to even footing. Starting next season, this division has the chance to produce multiple wild card teams every year.
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A Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Hamels combo could be as lethal as anything the Phillies or Braves throw out on the mound. What they lack offensively is mitigated by that kind of rotation, and it shouldn’t be more than two years before Bryce Harper is hitting in the middle of that order.