Feel free to enjoy this right up until game 1. Hell until whenever your season ends next year. For the Nats though, well wishing time is over. Now let's start next season.
Bud Black will be officially announced soon I would think. Mike Rizzo will probably be there too. Three questions I'd like to hear the answers to :
1) Rizzo : Why didn't you interview DeMarlo Hale? I know you were going after experience but other non-managers were interviewed. (This is more my curiosity than anything else)
2) Black : If this teams goal is a World Series, how can you be confident in your ability to get them there considering you've never managed a playoff team?
3) Rizzo : What's the payroll estimated to be next year?
Oh that 3rd question. That very important, off-season and next-season defining question. Someone recently let float that the Nats payroll could go as low as 110 million this year. That would be a pretty dire situation where the Nats don't do anything while shedding some useful players. Around 130 is more of a reasonable guess. It makes the 160 mill of 2015 a one-year aberration, setting the Nats general level in the 10-15 range. It's a disappointing level, but one that can be worked with and would allow Rizzo some freedom this offseason. Then there are the optimists who think the Nats will maintain that 160 mill Top 5ish payroll next year. If that's the case then the Nats would like be big players in the FA market in the off-season.
Also this week - Qualifying offers go out. ZNN should get one. Desmond might. Span probably won't. Those are my guesses. They need to be out by Friday, players need to respond by next Friday. Once that's done true FA can begin. What can you read into QOs? Not too much because they can be offered because you want a player back at a reasonable price or because you know they won't come back and you want a draft pick. I would say that if the Nats offer NO QOs out, I'd be kind of worried that the 110 payroll is a reality. That's because if these guys accept QOs it throws a wrench into plans for a payroll that low. I suppose the opposite is also true - if they offer all of them QOs they aren't going to have a low payroll... but they could know none of them will accept. Still I'd take it as a positive sign (in regards to the payroll - team building is another story).
Of course things really don't get moving until the week of December 6th when the Winter Meetings take place (in Nashville).
OK let's get this thing started. Back on track for what should very well be the last seasons of Strasburg, Ramos, Stammen, and if he's still here Storen. Along with what may be the only season of Chokey Weinerface. Get it done guys.