What if Desmond took the Nationals' $107 million offer?

What if Desmond took the Nationals' $107 million offer?
Heading into the 2014 season, few shortstops in baseball were trending up like Ian Desmond. Back-to-back Silver Slugger seasons for a Nationals franchise that was beginning to establish itself as a perennial contender catapulted one of the last remaining Expos draft picks into the national spotlight. And that meant Desmond was due to be paid big money in the near future. The Nats recognized this, and in the kind of move they hadn't really been in position to make with many homegrown players...
Continue reading

Bullpen improvement must come both from within and from outside

Bullpen improvement must come both from within and from outside
Stability has never been a hallmark of the Nationals bullpen. Truth be told, it's rarely a hallmark of any club's bullpen, given the inherent instability of the position. But the Nats took this longstanding theme to new (and often painful) levels in 2021. For only the third time in team history, Nationals relievers finished a season with a collective ERA north of 5.00, joining the 103-loss 2009 group and the tightrope-walking 2019 unit that managed to get it together just in time to win in...
Continue reading

Was Cluff's strong showing in AFL a sign of things to come?

Was Cluff's strong showing in AFL a sign of things to come?
We spend the majority of our time here talking about major leaguers, but with the lockout now preventing teams from making any transactions involving players on 40-man rosters, let's take an opportunity to delve deeper into some of the Nationals' top minor leaguers. We continue this weekly series with a recent riser within the organization ... SS JACKSON CLUFF Height/Weight: 6-foot-0, 185 lbs. Age on opening day 2022: 25 How acquired: Sixth-round pick, 2019 draft, BYU 2021 stats (Double-A...
Continue reading

Shortened spring could really hinder Nats' pitching prep

Shortened spring could really hinder Nats' pitching prep
There's a prevailing sense around the baseball world right now that a delayed start to spring training wouldn't necessarily mean a delayed start to the regular season. If owners and players can work out a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement by late February, it would be possible to shorten camps from six weeks to four weeks, or (gulp) maybe even three weeks and still wrap things up in time to begin the season March 31 as scheduled. This, of course, all makes sense. Does spring...
Continue reading

Robles playing in Dominican, Nolin heading to Korea

Robles playing in Dominican, Nolin heading to Korea
Whether spring training starts on time or not, Victor Robles will report to West Palm Beach with some game experience already under his belt this winter. Robles is now playing in the Dominican Winter League, added to Aguilas Cibaeñas' playoff roster earlier in the week and already making the highlight reel in the outfield. The Nationals center fielder threw out a runner at second base in his debut game, retrieving a drive off the wall and making a perfect throw to the delight of the crowd...
Continue reading

Nationals trivia quiz: Hitting

Nationals trivia quiz: Hitting
Last month, we published our first quiz of the lockout, focusing strictly on Nationals pitching trivia. Today we come back for another round, this time focusing only on hitting trivia. Some of these questions hopefully will be simple enough for semi-serious fans to answer, featuring some of the most recognizable names in club history. Some of them are only for the truly die-hard among us, featuring some names most will have long since forgotten. There are 20 questions in total, with all...
Continue reading

What if Mark Teixeira accepted the Nats' huge offer in 2008?

What if Mark Teixeira accepted the Nats' huge offer in 2008?
What are the two biggest free agent signings in Nationals history? Max Scherzer and Jayson Werth, obviously. (We're talking about guys who were signed after playing for other clubs, not the re-signing of homegrown players like Stephen Strasburg or Ryan Zimmerman.) Both of those moves sent major shockwaves throughout the baseball world. The Scherzer signing (for seven years and $210 million) added one of the game's best starting pitchers to a rotation that already looked loaded before his...
Continue reading

Nats' rebuild starts with rebuild of once-dominant rotation

Nats' rebuild starts with rebuild of once-dominant rotation
For the better part of a decade, the Nationals built a consistent contender around one critical part of their roster more than any other: the rotation. From 2012-19, the Nats rotation produced a 3.56 ERA. Only the Dodgers (3.32) were better across the majors during that extended span. Only once during those eight years did the rotation's ERA exceed 4.00 or rank worse than seventh in the big leagues (2018, when it checked in at 4.03). That's what made the last two seasons so jarring for anyone...
Continue reading

Henry deserves place alongside Nats' top pitching prospects

Henry deserves place alongside Nats' top pitching prospects
We spend the majority of our time here talking about major leaguers, but with the lockout now preventing teams from making any transactions involving players on 40-man rosters, let's take an opportunity to delve deeper into some of the Nationals' top minor leaguers. We continue this weekly series with the organization's No. 7 prospect ... RHP COLE HENRY Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 215 lbs. Age on opening day 2022: 22 How acquired: Second-round pick, 2020 draft, LSU 2021 stats (High Single-A...
Continue reading

Will new year bring resumption of labor negotiations?

Will new year bring resumption of labor negotiations?
Happy new year, everyone! And isn't it wonderful to put 2021 behind us, turn the page to 2022 and start gearing up for the start of spring training in six weeks ... er, hold the phone. The calendar may have changed, but the state of Major League Baseball remains just as it was last month, with a lockout still in place and no evidence it's about to end anytime soon. Not that any of this should surprise you. When the collective bargaining agreement expired Dec. 1 and the league enacted its...
Continue reading

What the Nationals are hoping for in 2022

What the Nationals are hoping for in 2022
A year that saw so many negative developments has now ended, and not a moment too soon for anyone around here. When we look back on 2021 in the annals of Nationals history, there's not going to be much we want to remember, aside perhaps from the recognition that it served as the first step in the rebuilding of a former championship organization back into a regular postseason contender again. Now as 2022 arrives, we wait anxiously to see what the Nats will look like once pitchers and catchers...
Continue reading

Most significant stories of 2021: Trade deadline teardown

Most significant stories of 2021: Trade deadline teardown
As we reach the end of the year, we've been taking a look back at the Nationals' most significant stories of 2021. Some of them were uplifting. Some of them were depressing. All of them were significant in telling the story of the 2021 season. We conclude today with the most significant story of them all: the dismantling of the roster at the trade deadline. ... The Nationals' season lasted six months, and over the course of those six months, there were countless stories and developments of...
Continue reading

Most significant stories of 2021: Soto's historic second half

Most significant stories of 2021: Soto's historic second half
As we reach the final week of the year, we're taking a look back at the Nationals' most significant stories of 2021. Some of them are uplifting. Some of them are depressing. All of them were significant in telling the story of the 2021 season. We continue today with one of the best developments of the year: Juan Soto's historic second half and MVP candidacy. ... It wasn't all bad for the Nationals this year. Sure, the team lost 97 games, traded away some of its biggest-name veterans and...
Continue reading

Most significant stories of 2021: More COVID-19 outbreaks

Most significant stories of 2021: More COVID-19 outbreaks
As we reach the final week of the year, we're taking a look back at the Nationals' most significant stories of 2021. Some of them are uplifting. Some of them are depressing. All of them were significant in telling the story of the 2021 season. We continue today with one of the most frustrating developments of the year: The loss of a host of prominent players at various times due to COVID-19. ... After everything they went through to get through a compressed 2020 season, the first such season...
Continue reading

Most significant stories of 2021: Zimmerman's possible farewell

Most significant stories of 2021: Zimmerman's possible farewell
As we reach the final week of the year, we're taking a look back at the Nationals' most significant stories of 2021. Some of them are uplifting. Some of them are depressing. All of them were significant in telling the story of the 2021 season. We continue today with one of the most emotional aspects of the year: Ryan Zimmerman's potential farewell tour. ... Throughout a season of turmoil and constant change, there was only one declaration the Nationals could make with complete confidence:...
Continue reading

Most significant stories of 2021: Strasburg's devastating injury

Most significant stories of 2021: Strasburg's devastating injury
As we reach the final week of the year, we're taking a look back at the Nationals' most significant stories of 2021. Some of them are uplifting. Some of them are depressing. All of them were significant in telling the story of the 2021 season. We continue today with one of the most depressing developments of the year: Stephen Strasburg's latest (and perhaps most serious) injury. ... It's not fair to boil a baseball franchise's chances for success in any given year to the health and...
Continue reading

Most significant stories of 2021: Schwarber's homer barrage

Most significant stories of 2021: Schwarber's homer barrage
As we reach the final week of the year, we're taking a look back at the Nationals' most significant stories of 2021. Some of them are uplifting. Some of them are depressing. All of them were significant in telling the story of the 2021 season. We begin today with one of the most uplifting events of the year: Kyle Schwarber's early-summer home run barrage. ... When he stepped to the plate to lead off the bottom of the first inning of a June 12 doubleheader at Nationals Park, Kyle Schwarber...
Continue reading

What will you remember - or try to forget - about 2021?

What will you remember - or try to forget - about 2021?
It was a difficult year for so many, for so many reasons. And that it came on the heels of a difficult year for so many, for so many reasons, only made it more difficult. In some ways, the Nationals fit right in with that theme. As tough as 2020 was for them, 2021 was even tougher, on and off the field. And it leaves the franchise in an entirely different position as it looks ahead to 2022. Before we turn the page, though, we're going to take the final week of December to look back at the most...
Continue reading

The Nats' surprising history of Christmas Eve transactions

The Nats' surprising history of Christmas Eve transactions
Christmas Eve and baseball. They go together like, well, Christmas and hot dogs. This just isn't historically the time of year to be thinking much about the national pastime. Especially when the national pastime is nearly one month into a work stoppage. And yet for the Nationals, Christmas Eve has been the source of a surprising amount of news. Big news. Go back through the annals and you'll find six significant transactions made by the Nats in the final 72 hours leading up to Christmas,...
Continue reading

Who might join Soto in Nats outfield in 2022 and beyond?

Who might join Soto in Nats outfield in 2022 and beyond?
If you had to pick one position group on the Nationals roster you feel best about in both the short- and long-term, would you pick the outfield? There's a good case to be made it's the most reasonable answer. Not because the Nats outfield is loaded, or even guaranteed to be successful. There's still plenty of uncertainty at two of the three positions. But you can't find anything to complain about at the third position. And there is some ample reason to be optimistic about the future at the...
Continue reading