“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
– some dead nun
Countless Cubs fans lived their whole lives and never saw their beloved team win the World Series. The same goes for generations of Red Sox fans. Some teams were good. A lot were bad. And every year ended the same – with a loss and the promise of next year. Because winning the World Series is hard. Even when you have the best team. The euphoria that gripped Chicago last year, and Boston before that, was long overdue – for those still alive to enjoy it. Will any of us still be alive if and when the Nationals ever win it all?
“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”
– some dead lady
We can debate whether or not the Nats’ window to win a championship is tied to Bryce Harper‘s pending free agency, but there’s no debate that the window is open now. It’s time to push the chips into the center of the table and go all-in. Even if those chips are named Robles, Fedde, and Soto — the Nats’ three top minor league prospects. They will be missed of course, but to get you’ve got to give. Maybe Nats GM Mike Rizzo can get what he needs without giving them up. But probably not. Maybe they will all turn into great players with long, successful careers. Or maybe they won’t. Perhaps their purpose is to bring back the missing the pieces that stand between triumph and misery; between changing the District’s sports narrative or adding another heartbreaking chapter. The front office must capitalize on the this year’s better-than-expected offense and do whatever it takes make this the best team in baseball when summer turns to fall.
“Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”
– some dead guy
As good as the Nats have been so far this year, there is one team in the National League that is arguably better: the LA Dodgers. A quick look at FanGraphs’ team leaderboard page shows the Dodgers at or near the top of every list. Their offense is as good as the Nats. Their starting pitching is better. Their relief pitching is miles ahead. While the Dodgers currently sit 2 games behind the Rockies in the NL West, they’re going to be the team to beat this postseason. We learned last year how tough they are in the postseason, and they’re probably better this year. They brought back their best free agents in Kenley Jensen and Justin Turner. 2016 Rooke of the Year Corey Seager is a year older and more experienced. And Clayton Kershaw is still the best their is with the ball in his hand. I would hate to see a trade not made being the difference between beating them and falling just short (as the Nats did last year).
“Forever is comprised of nows.”
– another dead lady
Trading tomorrow for today will certainly hurt future iterations of the Washington Nationals, but so what. The time to win is now. This season. Harper will never be better. Neither will Ryan Zimmerman or Daniel Murphy. Stephen Strasburg could finally be morphing from very good pitcher to an ace. Plus Max Scherzer isn’t getting any younger either. And neither are we, the fans. The Nats have the foundation of championship team. They have the walls, the paint, and most the appliances too. All they need is to add a few shiny fixtures and patch the gaping hole in the roof that is the bullpen. When you have a former MVP and the reigning Cy Young winner in the primes of their careers and on the same team, it’s time to go for the ring. It’s time to spend what it takes — in both money and prospects — to win now. Difference makers are out there on losing teams just waiting to be acquired. Now is the time to act.
“Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again.”
– another dead guy
Twitter is abuzz with trade rumors connecting the Nats to each and every closer that may or may not be available. The normally tight-lipped Rizzo has even publicly said he’s working on upgrading the bullpen. However, the Nats need more than just one reliever, no matter how good he is. The bullpen needs two, maybe three, new arms. Adam Eaton‘s injury leaves centerfield as major need and Joe Ross‘s inconsistency means the team could use another starter too. Filling all those holes would mean trading away most of the team’s top prospects. But they should do it anyway. I believe baseball teams should be built for long-term success but when the chances for a championship are greatest, they should do what they have to to put them over the top. That time is now.
“All there is ever, is the now.”
– some dead singer
Thirteen seasons isn’t a lifetime (unless you’re in middle school), but windows of opportunity don’t stay open forever and the Nationals have a window open now. And I’d like to see a parade down Constitution Avenue before I die. Overly dramatic? Yes. But none of us are promised tomorrow. Especially those of us who throw baseballs at major league hitters for a living.
“Do anything, but let it produce joy.”
– yet another dead guy
So to Mike Rizzo: Get Yu Darvish or Johnny Cueto. Get Kelvin Herrera and Lorenzo Cain too. Get whatever it takes to put this team over the top. Sell out for today. Worry about tomorrow tomorrow. The opportunity for greatness is only a few trades away, so make the most of the farm system and get whatever you can to make this Nationals team the best in the league. Too many Nats players are having special seasons for this team not to win it all over a few missing pieces.
“Go big or go home.”
– who the hell knows… but they’re probably dead tooTags: Mike Rizzo, Nationals, Nats, Washington Nationals