The first quarter of the 2017 season has been quite the ride; full of walk offs, bullpen atrocities, and battles for tiny resin humans. With the Washington Nationals 39 games into the season (roughly 24%), holding a record of 25-14, now is a good time to look at how the rest of the season should shape up.
The date is May 16, 2017, and over the last 15 games Trea Turner has been worth -0.3 Wins Above Replacement. If that sounds bad, that’s because it is bad. For Turner it’s not just a slump, a ding, a blip, it’s literally the worst fifteen game stretch of his entire Major League career. If you look at the linked graph, the next worst time in his career was his first fifteen games, where he was worth -0.1 WAR. Yet if you just waited two more measly games, Turner had upped his rolling average to an even zero, and from then on he has never been worth less than a replacement level player for any 15-game stretch in his entire career. That is, not until the first game of Sunday’s double header, where his rolling value (despite hitting a home run) dipped below zero for the first time since his 17th game in the bigs.
After yet another game in which the bullpen proved porous, Nats Twitter is once again abuzz with demands for a new reliever. As if there was any doubt, the team has acknowledged its greatest weakness in a significant way, announcing that top starting pitching prospect Erick Fedde will shift to relief with an eye towards contributing in the majors sooner rather than later.
But even returns to form from existing relievers and a star turn from Fedde would not be enough to rescue the sorry bunch that is the Nationals’ relief corps. It’s stupendously likely that the Nationals will move to acquire a reliever at the trade deadline. That deadline is still more than two months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about guys who might soon be wearing the curly W.
It was the perfect storm. Beautiful weather, Mother’s Day, the second game of a doubleheader, the late opening of gates, and at the center of it all: the Trea Turner bobblehead.
Continue Reading Bobblemania: How the Trea Turner Bobblehead Almost Killed Me
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.
Welcome back to the latest in a series, in which we review the previous week in Nationals baseball and power rank the players and events according to their performance. This is an extremely unserious exercise; at no point should it ever be confused with actual baseball analysis. Don’t worry, I will do my best to make sure that is obvious. Without further ado: your Washington Nationals, ranked according to power.
The chance to see adorable letters written by small baseball fans in hopes of persuading their favorite teams’ general managers to do their bidding is one of the best things about the advent of social media. (Though, it was not as cute when a kid asked the Giants to sign Mark Melancon. Never forget.) It’s a modern day Dear Abigail, but with more desperation.
Saturday afternoon, little Natalie spoke for all Nats fans when her mom posted a picture of a letter she sent to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, asking him to pull out all the stops to sign Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth. She even slipped him a 20 (plus one) to make it happen.
Bryce Harper home runs tend to send shockwaves that could probably be comically illustrated by waking hibernating bears, kickstarting fields of flowers to bloom, and even getting MASN analyst Ray Knight to awaken from his social media slumber.
At about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, your phone might have been buzzing off the table with notifications of Bryce Harper and the Nationals agreeing on a $21.65 million deal to avoid arbitration for next season. It’s the largest deal for an arbitration-eligible player in MLB history because Harper and big numbers go hand in hand.
Big numbers like two walk-off homers against the Phillies in the last month. Harper sent his bomb out on a 0-1 pitch, straight out to centerfield to land atop of his big pile of money like the cherry on top it was.
With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.
—Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde