Nationals Baseball: Monday - Year in Review - Overview P1 - Nothing fancy

Monday, October 02, 2023

Monday - Year in Review - Overview P1 - Nothing fancy

The Nats season is over. Their final record stands at 71-91. They were still last place in the NL East, and were tied for the 5th worst record in baseball. However they were confidently better than the dregs of the game, 10 games clear of the 4th worst record in baseball, which is an improvement over last year. The Nats got some measure of clarity during the season with Davey and Rizzo returning and the team looking like they won't sell in the immediate future. It will be another full go around for the Lerner/Rizzo combo that was so successful the first time through, albeit the first time with some things set up for them coming in. 

The Nats goals for this year were modest and they hit them modestly. Going in this was a franchise looking toward 2025 so you simply wanted the young guys in the majors already to solidify those roles and the minors to look like there could be impact players coming to help by that time. You have to answer positively to both of these goals. The fear of failure, and the rebuild coming undone before it really got started, did not come to pass.  

But the realizations were not revelations. The young guys in the majors solidified useful roles, but not much more. The guys who could be impact players in the next few years looked good, but not penciled in favorites for ROY in the next two seasons. The Nats are probably ready to take the next step but will need external (re: Free Agent) help to get there. 

So we leave 2023 where you would have said you needed to be when the season started, but not likely where you hoped to be. Offensively there are a handful of guys that could be the next Nats star, but as of today there isn't a single spot just yet to hang your hat on and point to saying "That's what's going to carry the Nats forward". In 2024 you need someone to become that guy. On the mound there are a couple guys that will fill out a rotation but there isn't that potential ace that will be in the top of the rotation, eating innings and giving the Nats likely wins every fifth time out there. In 2024 you need to have clarity on where that guy is coming from. 

While 2023 could not serve to give early answers on where the 2025 competitive team was coming from, it should help provide clarity on who is not going to be helping that team. Older guys did get decent trials at the major league level and showed little. These guys need to be cast off in favor of better bets to be helpful down the road. This isn't a team just filling space anymore. Each spot needs a thoughtful choice who is either helping the team now or might do so over the next three years.  No more fill-in lottery tickets. No more other team's trash. 

2023 ends as a success, but a success in that it allows the opportunity for 2024 to set up 2025 and beyond. Let's see the Nats make that happen.  


Anonymous said...

I agree with your last point, Harper. DFAs / non-tenders should be incoming for Downs, Chavis, Rutherford, Blankenhorn, Alu, Abbott and Harris. Very possibly Kieboom, Robles and Machado too. Maybe even Smith if the front office has a plan in mind to replace him.

Anonymous said...

I like Gore, Gray, and Irwin. At least two of them will be solid #3-#4 pitchers, barring injury. It's possible that one of them will be a #2, but hope is not a plan. This means that the Nationals will need two top-of-the-rotation pitchers by 2025. How are they going to get them?
I'd be tempted to trade Thomas and his two years of controlled value for a bevy of good advanced pitching prospects. Of course, that would take four or five wins off next year's standings.

PotomacFan said...

Lane Thomas is a 3rd or even 4th outfielder for most teams, and would not bring much in the way of pitching prospects. At best, the prospects would take 2 - 3 years to pan out. Highly unlikely to find a #1 or #2 SP among those prospects.

Anonymous said...

By FG, Lane Thomas was the 30th best OFer in baseball. Some contenders have no room for him, of course, but there are 6 or 10 worse starting outfielders on playoff teams. If that were his expected production, two years of control would get a decent haul. Something like Cavalli pre-injury plus 1 or 2 hard throwing kids a few years away like Susana.

The problem is that he doesn't really have the pedigree to match, so he won't be valued at that level without more time to prove himself. Basically, we need him to have a good first half of the year and then we can get some real value for him at the deadline. (Which we might do even around .500 if the prospects seem ready to step into his spot.)

Lane was also slightly lucky batted ball-wise this year, but that was more of an issue back in July when it was more extreme. He's now close enough to neutral that it shouldn't really be a red flag for anyone.

Bote Man said...

Lane Thomas for M.A.T., who says no???

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

You mean greatest postseason hitter of all time Michael A. Tater?