Washington Nationals: 5 Things Fans Should Be Thankful For
Five Things for Nationals Fans to be Thankful For
After a very disappointing 86 win season that saw them finish far behind the Atlanta Braves and flounder below .500 for most of the year, it's easier than one would think to find positives for the Washington Nationals. They have been connected to almost every big name this winter, and would certainly have the facilities needed to acquire any of them. Regardless of their sub-90 win season, Washington is still going to be an attraction for free agents with their solid core of young players. Not too long ago, Washington was a laughingstock in baseball circles, but with the team's recent success, that all feels like ancient history.
In the eyes of many, Washington is still a playoff team, and with a few tweaks, the Nationals will be right back in the fray for the postseason, if not back on top of the NL East. Their stiffest competition for the division, the Braves, absorbed a lot of subpar seasons from key players and will definitely need to make more moves than Washington needs to. Obviously, standing pat would not be the best path to success for Washington, but they are in a much better position than many other teams are at this point in the winter. With a less-than-stellar crop of free agents, Washington can afford to bide their time. Some of the moves they have already made have already gotten fans excited, and with that in mind, here are five aspects of the Nationals that fans should be thankful for on Thanksgiving. It's likely that they'll continue to be thankful for these things when pitchers and catchers report in the spring, too.
5. Matt Williams
Williams was probably one of Rizzo's only predictable moves, as he was seen as the front-runner for the Nationals skipper job and he got it. It seems that Williams' managerial style is going to be predicated on being aggressive and putting pressure on the other team. If that is the case, he has the right team to do that, and baseball will be fun to watch in D.C.
4. The Lerner Family
Hey, the Nationals aren't exactly owned by Jeffrey Loria, which is a Thanksgiving and Christmas miracle. The Lerners have given Rizzo every opportunity to address any need his team has. They have deep pockets and have been more than willing to do everything possible to add payroll and make the Nationals a World Series contender.
3. Mike Rizzo
Rizzo will probably forever be criticized for his shutdown of Stephen Strasburg, but his belief in protecting his players, as well as a strong sense of self-confidence is what makes him one of the top GMs in baseball. He rewards players and coaches and colleagues alike for their hard work, and has made the Nationals one of the top organizations in baseball for player development.
2. Jayson Werth
No matter how his seven-year, $126 million contract pans out, Werth should and will always be remembered as the one who came to Washington before it was 'cool' to do so. Was it an overpay? Yes, but Werth could have gone to another organization and contend quicker than he did with the Nationals. Werth's veteran leadership and hardworking attitude are what makes his a great leader, and fans should definitely be thankful for him.
1. Ian Desmond
Aside from Bryce Harper, Desmond is the heart and soul of this team, and has become an almost irreplaceable player. His stellar defense, quick bat and fierce competitive spirit are three of the biggest aspects to fueling the Nationals to the success they have had over the past couple seasons, after a slow start to his career. Desmond should get paid this offseason, and will make Nationals fans thankful for years to come.