So what do the Nats have to worry about? Every position except catcher is now manned by someone who probably ranks as above average overall at the spot, and even catcher isn't an obvious failure given how dismal catcher stats tend to be. The rotation is stacked. The bullpen has at least 4 dependable arms, including the unecessary but completely expected 8th inning and closer roles. The bench has some youngish guys that can produce at the major league level at least for short periods of time. So what is there? You don't like Zack Duke as the mop-up long-relief guy? Worried Rizzo will bring in another terrible DeRosa-esque veteran for the last spot on the bench? "Sure I'm rich, healthy, and have everything I need, but my fourth car could really use a tune-up"
There is nothing on the field that is concerning right now. But fans aren't fans unless they can fret over something, so I give you these off the field topics to satisfy your inner worry-wart. Some are real concerns, others are... let's say a bit more frivolous.
MASN - Nats Enquirer nicely sums up where we stand currently. MLB made a terrible deal with Angelos to get baseball to DC. Now it doesn't want to deal with the consequences. But even sports backed by millions of dollars can't buy themselves way out of every terrible deal (Hello, St. Louis Spirits!) and Angelos is a good enough lawyer to not have left MLB any loop hole to take advantage of.
What does this mean for the Nats? While I don't think Angelos will get away with completely shortchanging the Nats, I do think it means a revenue stream from TV that isn't what it could be. That's money that can't be spent on draft picks, organizational improvement, players, stadium improvements, etc. etc. In the worst case scenario, the whole "we need money to sign all our young guys" scenario may be based on the idea that the Nats were going to get a bigger windfall from TV than they will. That means this really is the Nats window to win and 2015-2017 will be marked by a great exodus. That's probably overselling the situation but this isn't something that can just be ignored.
Strasburg, media punching bag - It always surprises me but there is a fair amount of Strasburg dislike out there. "He's doesn't seem to enjoy the game!" "He's too fragile!" "He didn't fight enough to pitch!" Slowly over the course of 2 1/2 years he's gone from the center of Nats world to recalcitrant diva without ever changing who he was. Now, with the media-loving and media-savvy Bryce Harper around, there is a glaring example of the type of presense that the media and fans love right in his own backyard. It hasn't been an issue yet and it won't as long as the Nats are winning and he's doing well. But if Strasburg has a couple of bad starts, the Braves are in first, and he tosses out some boiler-plate unemotional interviews? It doesn't take much for something like this to spiral into something that takes over Strasburg's season.
Attendance / attendance talk - The Nats did not draw great last year BUT they drew a hell of a lot better and, as everyone should know, these things take time. It's rare that attendance goes from the bottom to the top in one season. So right now it's a non-issue. However, it should improve again this year and if the Nats are winning big, it really should be among the tops in the National league, if not baseball. If it's not, the Lerners, investment guys at heart, could start to wonder what they have to do to get DC into baseball. If people aren't showing up to see a winning team backed by a decent payroll and big minorleague investments, why keep that up?
Even if you don't worry about that, (it's a pretty speculative worry and frankly I think the Lerners view of this is more than a single year) you do have to worry about guys like me, who are completely fascinated by attendance and what drives it, talking about it occasionally.
The attention over the President's Race - The whole stupid "Teddy doesn't win" thing got so much play that his first win actually overshadowed the Nats team for a day or two. Playoff baseball back for the first time in decades, a team fighting for home field and possibly 100 wins and everyone is talking about a guy in a suit winning a meaningless race. That's pretty terrible. Maybe it settles back into it's nice little pattern with Teddy losing all the time until the playoffs are set. That'd be fine. But something tells me that all that attention made the Nats marketing guys want to kick it up a notch. There's a chance that could work out in a fun and interesting way but I'm not giving them the benefit of the doubt (see: Screech, Clint, etc.)
The next slogan - "Ignite your Natitude" Seriously? I know that it got accepted but let's admit it, that's only because the Nats were winning. If the Nats went 80-82 whoever came up with that is now making up slogans for the Fargo-Moorehead RedHawks. Are they going to roll it out again? Can they come up with something even sillier sounding? Will I go crazy seeing it hashtagged over and over again?
SI curse - I hate this thing, but I'm pretty sure the Nats will be on that baseball preview cover and someone will say something about it. This is what I worry about.