Nats need Gray to take big step forward in 2023

GettyImages-1398008098

PLAYER REVIEW: JOSIAH GRAY

Age on opening day 2023: 25

How acquired: Traded with Keibert Ruiz, Donovan Casey and Gerardo Carrillo from Dodgers for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, July 2021

MLB service time: 1 year, 75 days

2022 salary: $703,500

Continue reading

Where does Barrera stand on Nats' catching depth chart?

finnegan barrera after w gray

PLAYER REVIEW: TRES BARRERA

Age on opening day 2023: 28

How acquired: Sixth-round pick, 2016 draft

MLB service time: 172 days

2022 salary: $700,000

Continue reading

Call was a nice surprise, but enough to bring back in 2023?

Alex Call swinging gray

PLAYER REVIEW: ALEX CALL

Age on opening day 2023: 28

How acquired: Claimed off waivers from Guardians, August 2022

MLB service time: 74 days

2022 salary: $700,000

Continue reading

Is Adams assured of No. 2 catcher's job after rough year?

Riley Adams catchers gear CC gray

PLAYER REVIEW: RILEY ADAMS

Age on opening day 2023: 26

How acquired: Traded from Blue Jays for Brad Hand, July 2021

MLB service time: 1 year, 49 days

2022 salary: $706,700

Continue reading

Robles, Soto are Gold Glove Award finalists

GettyImages-1425718063

One current Nationals outfielder and one former Nationals outfielder were named Gold Glove Award finalists this afternoon, with Victor Robles and Juan Soto sharing that distinction despite no longer being teammates.

Robles is a finalist among National League center fielders, joining the Padres’ Trent Grisham and Diamondbacks’ Alek Thomas. Soto is a finalist among NL right fielders, joining the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and the Diamondbacks’ Daulton Varsho.

Gold Glove Awards are selected via a combination of analytics and a vote among managers and coaches, all of which are submitted prior to the end of the regular season. The top three finishers at each position in each league are considered finalists, with the winners set to be announced Nov. 1, prior to Game 4 of the World Series.

This is the second time Robles has been named a finalist, coming three years after his breakthrough rookie season in 2019. He stands a good chance of winning this time, given the fact his 12 Defensive Runs Saved led all NL center fielders and ranked behind only the Royals’ Michael A. Taylor (another former teammate) and the Guardians’ Myles Straw among all major leaguers at his position.

Robles also recorded an NL-high seven outfield assists, though he was charged with six errors (also an NL-high).

Continue reading

Do Nats still have room for Hernandez in outfield or on bench?

Yadiel Hernadez taking off helmet navy

PLAYER REVIEW: YADIEL HERNANDEZ

Age on opening day 2023: 35

How acquired: Signed as international free agent, October 2016

MLB service time: 2 years, 28 days

2022 salary: $714,000

Continue reading

Is there any reason to believe Cruz could rebound in 2023?

GettyImages-1402375753

PLAYER REVIEW: NELSON CRUZ

Age on opening day 2023: 42

How acquired: Signed as free agent, March 2022

MLB service time: 15 years, 82 days

2022 salary: $12 million

Continue reading

Nats still trying to get Robles back to 2019 form

GettyImages-123250590_20221018-123719_1

PLAYER REVIEW: VICTOR ROBLES

Age on opening day 2023: 25

How acquired: Signed as international free agent, July 2013

MLB service time: 4 years, 33 days

2022 salary: $1.65 million

Continue reading

Thomas got better as season wore on, now needs consistency

GettyImages-1239925155

PLAYER REVIEW: LANE THOMAS

Age on opening day 2023: 27

How acquired: Traded from Cardinals for Jon Lester, July 2021

MLB service time: 3 years, 14 days

2022 salary: $723,600

Continue reading

Hernández didn't deliver for Nats despite ample opportunity

Cesar Hernandez swing blue

PLAYER REVIEW: CÉSAR HERNÁNDEZ

Age on opening day 2023: 32

How acquired: Signed as free agent, November 2021

MLB service time: 8 years, 154 days

2022 salary: $4 million

Continue reading

Did surprising Vargas play himself into a role for 2023?

vargas swing @ STL gray

PLAYER REVIEW: ILDEMARO VARGAS

Age on opening day 2023: 31

How acquired: Signed as minor league free agent, May 2022

MLB service time: 3 years, 7 days

2022 salary: $700,000

Continue reading

Ruiz impressed in first full season, with room to grow

GettyImages-1419729141

PLAYER REVIEW: KEIBERT RUIZ

Age on opening day 2023: 24

How acquired: Traded from Dodgers with Josiah Gray, Donovan Casey and Gerardo Carrillo for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, July 2021

MLB service time: 1 year, 64 days

2022 salary: $701,300

Continue reading

Nationals face offseason questions with Voit

voit-swing-home-blue

PLAYER REVIEW: LUKE VOIT

Age on opening day 2023: 32

How acquired: Traded from Padres with MacKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood and Jarlin Susana for Juan Soto and Josh Bell, August 2022

MLB service time: 4 years, 169 days

2022 salary: $5.45 million

Continue reading

Strong down the stretch, Abrams looks like a keeper

GettyImages-1415089948

PLAYER REVIEW: CJ ABRAMS

Age on opening day 2023: 22

How acquired: Traded from Padres with MacKenzie Gore, Luke Voit, Robert Hassell III, James Wood and Jarlin Susana for Juan Soto and Josh Bell, August 2022

MLB service time: 131 days

2022 salary: $700,000

Continue reading

García made strides at plate, proved better at second base

GettyImages-1242134632

PLAYER REVIEW: LUIS GARCÍA

Age on opening day 2023: 22

How acquired: Signed as international free agent, July 2016

MLB service time: 1 year, 164 days

2022 salary: $700,000

Continue reading

After historic debut, will Meneses prove he's the real deal?

GettyImages-1427048027

PLAYER REVIEW: JOEY MENESES

Age on opening day 2023: 30

How acquired: Signed as minor league free agent, January 2022

MLB service time: 65 days

2022 salary: $700,000

Continue reading

Revisiting our 2022 opening day predictions

Josiah Gray throwing gray

 

We always knew the Nationals weren't going to be good this season. We just had no idea how bad it would get, not only in terms of their 55-107 record, but the fact they traded Juan Soto in early August in an attempt to completely revamp their farm system.

Sometimes, it's tougher to predict how a bad season will play out than a good one. That certainly was the case for me and my colleagues on the Nationals beat, who attempted way back on April 7 to guess how things would go this year and in most cases failed miserably.

There were a few spot-on predictions, but plenty more swings and misses, as you'll see below. As has been our tradition since we first made these predictions in 2010, we always come back to revisit them after the season ends, just to show everyone out there how misguided we were all along ...

WHICH NATIONALS WILL BE SELECTED FOR THE ALL-STAR GAME?
Bobby Blanco (MASNsports.com) - Juan Soto
Jessica Camerato (MLB.com) - Juan Soto
Jesse Dougherty (Washington Post) - Juan Soto
Andrew Golden (Washington Post) - Juan Soto
Craig Heist (106.7 The Fan) - Josh Bell, Nelson Cruz
Chelsea Janes (Washington Post) - Keibert Ruiz, Juan Soto
Pete Kerzel (MASNsports.com) - Juan Soto
Bill Ladson (MLB.com honorary) - Juan Soto
Mark Zuckerman (MASNsports.com) - Juan Soto

Continue reading

How much has the Nationals' farm system improved?

RG_08042022_BR_vs_Aberdeen_050

We know the 2022 season wasn’t a success for the Nationals at the major league level. Was it at least at the minor league level?

It certainly was a season of improvement, not that the organization had anywhere to go but up.

The Nats entered 2021 with the lowest-ranked farm system in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. They moved up from No. 30 to No. 23 entering 2022, thanks to their July trades of Max Scherzer, Trea Turner and others, plus the drafting of Brady House and signing of top Dominican prospect Cristhian Vaquero.

Then came the 2022 trade deadline, and the blockbuster deal that sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to San Diego for six players, five of whom were among the Padres’ top ranked prospects. That influx of talent, coupled with the drafting of Elijah Green, brought the Nationals’ ranking up to No. 15, the highest this system has been regarded in some time.

“I think our system’s different right now than it was a year ago,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “I think it’s deeper. We’ve had two what I believe are successful trade deadline acquisition periods. We’ve had two successful drafts. We’ve done a good job in the international market. I think that our prospect depth is as good as it’s ever been here in the organization, and I think that the upside of our prospect list is probably the highest it’s ever been.”

Continue reading

After miserable season, Nats have much work to do

davey and rizzo sitting

NEW YORK – There is no way to sugarcoat a 55-107 season, no silver lining to setting a club record for losses, no justifying the worst record in baseball.

This was, undoubtedly, the worst of the Nationals’ 18 seasons since they arrived in the District in 2005. They lost more games than the awful 2008-09 teams. The rotation’s 5.97 ERA was far worse than the dreadful 2006 (5.37) or 2020 (5.38) starters’ numbers. Their 17-59 record and .224 winning percentage against the National League East was not only the worst in club history, it was the worst in major league history since divisional play began in 1969.

Oh, and they also traded away a 22-year-old generational star, not because they didn’t want him, but because they believed it was the only way they could restock a farm system that was barren because of their own inability to draft and develop future big leaguers over much of the last decade.

How could the Nationals try to claim the 2022 season was successful? They can’t.

What they can do, and what they are trying to do, is believe this rock-bottom season was a necessary step toward something better in the future. That by losing to this extent now and refocusing efforts on rebuilding that barren farm system, they will be in a better position to win again sooner than they would be if they didn’t take this drastic step backward.

Continue reading

Nats end 107-loss season with another division loss (updated)

Erick Fedde upset gray

NEW YORK – The worst season in Nationals history ended tonight with another rain delay, another disastrous performance by a starting pitcher and another lopsided loss to a division opponent.

A 9-2 loss to the Mets in Game 162, which began 1 hour and 51 minutes late due to rain, almost felt too appropriate to be true.

It was a fitting conclusion to a miserable season for the Nationals, who finish with a 55-107 record, worst since the franchise arrived in D.C. in 2005.

That includes an abysmal 17-59 record against NL East opponents, a .224 winning percentage that is now the lowest for any major league franchise since divisional play began in 1969, a mark previously held by the 1987 Orioles, who went 18-60 in the AL East for a .231 winning percentage. They were a far more respectable 38-48 against everyone outside the division.

"Our season's over right now, for the players," manager Davey Martinez said. "But the work is just beginning for myself, (general manager Mike Rizzo) and the front office. We've got a lot of work to do. I'm looking forward to this winter, getting things done, and then getting ready for spring training."

Continue reading