You might not read the ESPN power rankings so here's a tidbit for you : The Nats have won 5 one-run games in this 7 game winning streak. However, don't consider the team lucky. This only brings their record in one-run games to .500.
Anyway about yesterday
J' Refuse to take back my comment that the faces of the Nats are Bryce, Strasburg, and Werth. Sorry long-timers but it's true. It's true for the national media. It's true for Joe Q Baseball Fan. It's true for the more recent, perhaps bandwagon fans. It's probably even true for local sports fans who casually follow the Nats. This isn't a statement on who it should be. It's a statement on who it is. I would liquidate my assets and bet it all on Werth being more associated with the Nats than Zimm.
As for the rest of the column. Yeah, you could read it as "the Nats have a good chance in the future because the GM is good". That's fair. And I don't necessarily disagree. I think Rizzo is good. How good? Well I think the next few years are telling. I've gone over the issues I had with 2013 Rizzo and I think he's improved in both bench building and mid-season course correcting. However, I still don't see him making all the moves I think he should. More importantly there was a lot of things that came together, not necessarily because of Rizzo's genius, that created this mini-run from 2012-2015. What he does as this run draws to a close will really define his tenure.
A lot of you said something to the effect of "it's too hard to predict that far out" and you're absolutely right. 2015 is fair game, but 2016 is iffy, and 2017 might as well be a coin flip. But remember that works both ways. We can't say "doom and gloom are coming" but we can't say "blue skies ahead!" either. At best you get general impressions (like everyone had for the Phillies let's say) but they don't always work out (how long ago did Boz say the Yankees were bottoming out? No not that time, the other one.) The general impression for the Nats is good. They have a couple good young players who will be here for a while and a decent minor league system. That's all you can say, but it's better than what you can say for most teams.
This also plays into the "now or later" argument. Obviously it's never that cut and dried. Dealing for immediate success has to be judged based on how much help it brings versus the cost you give up. But looking at it as if you were trading a future playoff season for a slightly better chance at winning the whole thing now is a dangerous point of view to take. The slightly better chance isn't guaranteed but it's as close as you'll come. You know these players, how they've done recently, how they've done this season in fact. You can be fairly sure on how they'll do for the remainder. Small sample size creates the issue of not living up to expectations, but it also creates possibility of getting a crazy good run. On a whole its a fair gamble.
Saying that trading a way a prospect will cost you a future playoff season though is fantasy. It could, sure. But it just as easily could not. You can't say "we don't know what 2017 will bring... except if we trade away this guy we're doomed!" Of course there are always exceptions. Massive sell-offs of prospects would indeed hurt your future chances. But take a look back at any trade deadline and you'll see a massive amount of prospects that the media "couldn't believe were traded!" that ended up as replacement parts at best. You get the John Smoltz, Jeff Bagwells, stuck in your head but they are the exception, not the rule. The rule is Brett Wallace, Justin Smoak, Matt LaPorta. The very best (like Giolito) don't get moved any more. The rest are nothing you can rely on.