Rizzo seemed to prefer negotiating directly with players; he signed 11 of them from the available open market. Some GMs are better at assessing available talent than others, and 2023 has not been one of Rizzo’s better years. Those 11 free agent pickups have netted -2.7 games of WAA to Washington’s cause.
The best of Rizzo’s moves was his ability to see something in veteran infielder Jeimer Candelario, who had been let go by Detroit. Candelario was a .217 hitter last season for the Tigers, but he’s at .264 halfway through 2023 with 10 homers and an .814 OPS. That adds up to a +1.5 WAA.
Most of Rizzo’s gambles have fared worse. He signed veteran reliever Chad Kuhl and got 38 innings of an 8.45 ERA and an 0-4 record. That works out to a -1.6 WAA.
Dominic Smith, late of the Mets, signed and has produced a credible .265 average in 78 games. But the power hasn’t been there (his slugging average is a paltry .340) and that’s dragged his value down to -1.2 WAA.
Stone Garrett has won the left field job in Washington after being granted free agency by the Diamondbacks. Like Smith, Garrett (.278) is providing batting average, but he’s added a touch of power, and as a result has a +0.4 WAA.
The Nats only lost three players to free agency this winter, none of whom have made significant contributions to their new teams.