It was a trying season for Nats fans as many expected 2012 to simply be a sign of what was to come in 2013. Unfortunately, a host of factors, including injuries, caused the Nationals season to end today. There will be no baseball in October in our Nation's Capital.
But despite this disappointment, there are many reasons to be optimistic about this season and about years to come. First of all, the last third of their season was outstanding, going 34-19 since August 1. Their late season numbers also saw significant improvement in offense and continued success from the pitching staff.
Each of the Nats starting eight position players are under team control next season. The core of the pitching staff, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann, will all be back next year, and if he's healthy, Ross Detwiler will be, too. The only part of the Nats team that really needs revamping is the bullpen, but that is usually the easiest aspect of the team to fix. There are always capable relievers available on the free agent market, while it's harder to pick up a starting middle infielder, for example.
There will be some changes coming for the Nats bench and for a few guys who are still in the organization not currently on the MLB roster (see: Danny Espinosa), but there will be plenty of time over the next five, sad months to discuss all of that, and we will, both here on the blog and in our Nats Talk On The Go podcast.
For now, it is time to remember how even this season, which was a letdown by last season's standards, is still a positive in the team's short history. It's just the second time the Nats have finished above .500 since arriving in Washington in 2005, and it's happened twice in a row.
If you've been around to watch this team from their first seasons at RFK, remember how exciting it is to have a team with a winning record rather than the 100+ loss teams in 2008 and 2009, and how everyone, including me, believes that this team will be back and competing for the NL East title again in 2014.
So yes, for a couple of weeks, we can be disappointed that there won't be postseason baseball here in DC, but it's also time to recall that, despite an atrocious start that essentially doomed the Nats 2013 season, the team surged in the end, and almost all of those guys will be back in 2014 to start things off the right way.
As always, thank you for reading The Nats Blog throughout the 2013 season, but we're not going anywhere. We'll continue to provide content via news articles, opinion posts, and podcasts all offseason, and I hope you'll keep checking in with us.
Finally, Some Thanks
- Erin Flynn essentially took over the blog for the entire summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and she did a remarkable job. The blog simply couldn't have continued to run without her hard work, and I will be forever grateful for that.
- Will Yoder created TNB and brought me on three seasons ago as the Managing Editor of the site, and it has been an outstanding opportunity. Thank you.
- Craig MacHenry records the Nats Talk On The Go podcast with me, and he's one of my oldest and best friends. Thanks for starting the podcast with me a few years back and for continuing to challenge my baseball analysis.
- Andrew Flax just started writing for us at the end of August, and he's been doing a great job. I look forward to seeing what he can provide throughout the offseason and into next year.
- The three other credentialed Nats blogs, District Sports Page, Federal Baseball, and We Love DC, have all done a phenomenal job covering the Nats, and I've developed friendships with many of the great men and women from those sites. Thanks for you hard work and dedication.
- Last, but not least, to every one of you who read this blog on a regular basis. We don't do this for the money. We do it because we love to watch baseball, we love to write, and we love the Nats, and if you didn't read it, there wouldn't be much point to doing all of this. My sincerest thanks to all of you.