A couple of more points about the hitting comparison between the Nationals and the Braves. We think the Nats have to consider themselves set for this year at catcher, first, second, center, and right.
The Nats clearly need an offensive upgrade at short and third. We trust that no one disputes the need for an upgrade at short.
For those who believe that Castilla is merely in a slump and therefore dispute the need at third, consider that Vinny Castilla last year away from Colorado had the following stats: .281 OBP, .493 SLG, .774 OPS. Those are similar to his stats this year (.330 OBP, .397 SLG, .727 OPS). Castilla is suffering from a power outage, but his advancing years and playing half his games in RFK lead us to conclude that we may seem some improvement in his slugging percentage, but not much of one.
We also think the Nats should consider spending some of their money in left. Ryan Church has done a great job so far, but we're inclined to think that his long-term role is as a fourth outfielder. That's not a criticism of Church, but he's 26 and has only 160 at bats. For these reasons, we're a bit skeptical that he's going to continue putting up OPS numbers comparable with Adam Dunn and Andruw Jones.
For reasons we've already noted, the Nats have a lot of money to spend on hitting. An upgrade at short and third strikes us as obvious, and as long as we have the money to spend, why not spend it on a great player in left and use Ryan Church to significantly strengthen the bench?