There’s no getting around the fact that 2013 has gone about as poorly for the Washington Nationals as it possibly could have gone. With a week and a half left to go in August, Washington sits three games under .500, 15.5 games back in the NL East and 9.5 back of the second Wild Card spot, so they probably will be watching the playoffs this season.
Recently, Washington has seen the return of Tyler Moore, who was tearing up the minors and deserved the promotion he received, along with the release of Montreal and Washington mainstay Roger Bernadina, who was the longest tenured player in the organization. Washington also acquired David DeJesus, who has a team option for 2014, and has seen Dan Haren make a complete 180 in production for the 2013 season.
The problem is that with all of these changes, Washington has most likely dug too deep of a hole for themselves to make a Wild Card spot since the NL East is not even a pipe dream for the Nationals. Manager Davey Johnson has alluded to giving the younger players more playing time due to Washington’s low position in the standings. The Nationals have also brought up guys like Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark throughout the season, allowing them to showcase their wares, probably setting themselves up for chances at Washington’s 2013 rotation.
All of these moves pose an interesting question regarding Washington’s outlook on 2013 and whether or not GM Mike Rizzo and Johnson still are focusing on 2013 or if they both have decided to focus on 2014 when they will hopefully have everyone back and healthy at the same time. It’s no secret that Washington is probably not going to turn things around; the hole is too big and they have given fans and media no reason whatsoever to believe they have anything resembling a run in them.
Making a deal for a guy like DeJesus gives the impression Rizzo is preparing for 2014 or that he could be giving himself an opportunity to send down some of the under performing bench players back to the Minors to straighten themselves out. Regardless, it seems as though Rizzo is starting to focus on 2014, and fans should probably follow suit.