Finally… bullpen help is on the way. Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle immediately become the best two relief pitchers on the Washington Nationals, despite neither being their former team’s closer. The two only have 4 saves between them this year, but so what? The Nats needed help and they got it. But are these two enough? (Probably not.) And who on the team is worth keeping around and who needs to be voted off the island?
What is the best free agent signing the #Nats have made to date?
— My name is Jo(e)nas📎 (@TheNatsBlogJoe) June 21, 2017
With 5 All-Stars so far (#VoteRendon), this year’s version of the Nats is Dolly-Parton-like top heavy. The top 6 Nats all have 2 WAR or higher. There are 2 Nats in the top 10 in baseball in both hitting (Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper) and pitching (Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg). Injuries and the craptastic bullpen have sucked a lot of joy out of this season. Yet the calamities that have befallen the team have allowed a few of scrubs to show their worth.
Gio Gonzalez‘s great start to this season and the impending trade deadline inspired me to take a look back at the top Nats trades to see how they added up. Mark Zuckerman complied a great list this winter, so I decided to break down the ten trades he wrote about to see how they compared in total WAR for the players involved.
Fist-fighting for fun in San Fran, 51 runs in 27 innings in Oakland, and a tough series win against the second best team in the National League — that was a California vacation the Griswolds would be proud of. To go 7-2 on their last road trip, considering Bryce Harper was 2 for 21 with 11 Ks (when he wasn’t suspended), Joe Ross imploded, and Dusty Baker mailed it in, speaks to how good this team is.
The Nats avoided 2018 arbitration with Bryce Harper by settling his 2018 contract early. The timing seems weird and when asked, Mike Rizzo offered up “cost certainty” as an explanation. Knowing now what is on the books for 2018 will reduce the variables Rizzo will need to consider as he looks into trades to upgrade the roster.