2012 was magical, and 2013 has been anything but for the Washington Nationals.
Is there anything else to say?
The Nationals have been the poster child for worst case scenarios in 2013 with every possible “if this guy gets hurt…” statement ringing true. Of course, we know how much of a polar opposite 2012 was, as this time last year, Washington was 56-39 with a comfortable 4.5 game first place lead in the NL East.
Washington did go through a lot of changes during the offseason, trading away players, letting players walk, and signing players. The Nationals saw all three of their lefty relievers leave, with Michael Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny signing with the Milwaukee Brewers and fellow southpaw Sean Burnett signing with the Los Angeles Angels. Washington also saw clubhouse blessing but oft injured bench veteran Mark DeRosa sign with the Toronto Blue Jays where he has been much more serviceable off the bench than he was with Washington. They also allowed Edwin Jackson to walk away, without a qualifying offer, to the Chicago Cubs on a four year deal.
Washington also dealt power bat Mike Morse to the Seattle Mariners in a three team deal, along with acquiring Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins for high end prospect Alex Meyer. GM Mike Rizzo also went out and signed closer Rafael Soriano and veteran Dan Haren to round out the rotation and bullpen.
So, let’s take inventory, shall we? Washington saw four pitchers walk via free agency, traded away one power bat, acquired a leadoff bat, an experienced closer and a veteran to fill out their rotation. That’s a lot of coming and going if you ask me. In fact, I think it’s mildly safe to say Washington may have made too many moves.
Usually, when a team has a season like Washington’s, that team wants to try everything they can to keep that team together. The Nationals seemingly did the exact opposite of that, letting players walk and trying to plug holes from within with young players who are major league ready, such as Tyler Moore, Steve Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina. Well, Moore is in Syracuse, Bernadina is not hitting and Lombardozzi keeps being forgotten about on the bench.
Maybe the moves Washington made have no bearing on their success or failure this year, maybe they do. The bottom line is this: Washington might have been better served making fewer moves and trying to keep the successful roster together.