Ted Youngling: Frustration grows with Nationals' lackluster play

If a win/loss record is the true indication of a team's success, then the Nationals front office should take serious consideration in bringing back Jim Riggleman to manage this team next season.

Don't worry, I'm only being facetious, but let's not overlook the fact that ever since Riggleman bailed on his team they simply haven't been the same. In fact, it's been getting so bad that the Nats are currently battling the Florida Marlins for fourth place in the division. Hard to believe that not too long ago we were arguing whether or not the Nationals should be buyers or sellers at the midseason trading deadline.

Several critics of the team say that Davey Johnson has been outmanaged by his counterparts on several occasions. Whether that's true or not, it's hard to inherit a team that had won 11 out of its previous 12 and not have the expectations go through the roof. Unfortunately for Johnson, the team hasn't even been able to play close to .500 baseball as the excitement surrounding the up-and-coming Washington team fizzled as quickly as it came.

In watching their games, it's almost as if the team has regressed since Johnson's takeover. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth continue to be non-factors and the bullpen is giving Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty a nightly panic attack which can't be good for the two elder statesmen. Johnson even went as far to call a closed-door meeting last night before the game to try and get some more inspired baseball out of his team.

Let's not kid ourselves: Even when the team was reeling of win after win in June, we all knew reaching the postseason was a long shot. I think any fan of the Nationals would have been more than happy if they finished the season with at least 85 wins, but now it looks like asking for 80 wins is a stretch.

At this point, you have to begin wondering how long Johnson will realistically stick around. Remember, his deal says he can be in a Nationals uniform for up to three years, but can step down from his position at any time if he finds his successor. There hasn't been much talk about who is next in line to replace Johnson but maybe its something we should all start thinking about as soon as this offseason.

Ted Youngling blogs about the Nationals for The Nats Blog, and offers his viewpoints as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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