The Nats have plenty of leaders. They have a leave-it-all-on-the-field, it's-my-team, I'm-better-than-you, fan favorite leader. They have a quiet, play every day, clubhouse leader. They have a fire a fastball by them, squirt some syrup on you leader. They have a put-this-team-on-my-back MVP leader. They have a handful of guys that have been around for 5 plus years, including one guy who's been around from damn near the beginning. They had veterans hugging and rookies who "don't know any better". They had one of the most respected managers of this generation for 2 years followed up by a hard-driving marine-type former all-star and world series winner. This is all led by a I'll-do-my-job-you-do-yours GM that did his job and turned around a perennial loser.
They are goddamn flush with leaders. The clubhouse outside of Storen and Papelbon, pretty much said everything they should have said and kept trying till... well at least a week ago when reality must have set in. You know what? It didn't matter.
Papelbon didn't go after Bryce because the clubhouse was out of control. Papelbon went after Bryce because the team just got eliminated and everyone is pissed and Papelbon is an ass.
The team didn't lose this year because the clubhouse was bad. The team lost because seasons like this will happen when you gamble on health and allow no room financially to get dealt back in the game.
The team didn't lose in the playoffs in past years because the clubhouse lacked something. The team lost in the playoffs because good teams lose in the playoffs. See all those teams making it this year? 2 won't get past Game 1. Another 4 won't win a real series. The last two will fail to make the series. They'll all magically go from teams that have what it takes to teams just not able to come up big.
We've spent our sports following lives being forced fed a tautology. Winners win because they are winners. They've defined what winners should be and then they fit those that win into that definition. It's stupid. It's wrong. But it's easy and simple and impossible to argue against so there you go.
They do the same with losers. Losers lose because they are losers. Make no mistake, the 2015 Nats are losers. But if we sit here and focus on how to make them winners through some sort of clubhouse fix we might as well do nothing. It'll probably have the same effect.
The Nats need to either reshape the team with reliable bats and dependable bullpen arms or they need to be committed to spending more money, maybe a lot more, to fix issues when they come up. If not, well the Nats might be fine next year or they might win 84 games depending how the wind blows.They squandered two years when the wind didn't blow right. Next year could be the last competitive year in the next few. Don't let them squander another focusing on the wrong things.