The Nationals kick off the second half of the 2017 season tonight on the road against the Reds sitting 9.5 games up in the NL East. While the squad has sat in first place for practically the entire season, it hasn’t been an easy road getting there. Some players have outplayed their expectations while others have been disappointing so far this season.
Tag Archives: Jose Lobaton
Welcome back to the latest in a series, in which we review the previous week in Nationals baseball and power rank the players 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 struggles of the Nationals’ bullpen has understandably garnered most of the negative headlines around DC lately. The bullpen isn’t the only facet of the Nationals performing at near league worst levels, though. The combo of Matt Wieters and Jose Lobaton has quietly been undercutting Nationals’ pitchers this season, one pitch at a time.
Some days the universe works against you. It laughs at the person realizing they studied the wrong chapters for an exam or at the person getting in the wrong metro car on their commute to work. Some days, the culmination of events is just so perverse that it laughs at you as the person who spilled their drink on you at the game recounts every life event that led them there — the same guy who spent the first five innings explaining why the Matt Williams joke he heard you tell is wrong.
Did you hear the news? The Nationals have agreed with Matt Wieters on what is essentially a one-year, $10.5 million deal with an identical player option for next year. A quick bit of analysis: It’s good. For Mike Rizzo, it’s found money; it didn’t seem like ownership was going to spend that money anywhere else this offseason, and now he gets another asset. For Ted Lerner, it’s a likely upgrade at catcher and a chance to stick it to Peter Angelos and the Orioles. For the team, it’s a better bat and better defender behind the dish (though seemingly a worse pitch framer) instead of hoping for a bounce-back from literally the worst hitter in baseball last year.
But this piece won’t be an analysis of Wieters’ merits as a player. Instead, I want to look at the many doors this move has opened for the Nationals. With a surplus of catching, the team has myriad options on how to move forward.
January is typically the doldrums of the MLB offseason. Never mind that it is just a few days until the two-year anniversary of the Nationals’ signing of Max Scherzer: At this point in the offseason, most teams have made their moves and are filling their teams out around the edges. The Nationals have surely already made their biggest move in offloading several top prospects for Adam Eaton.
With Rhett Wiseman, RC Orlan, and Nick Rickles still in the minors, there are no Jewish Nationals at the major league level. So, while the first night of Hanukah and Christmas eve fell on the same night, setting up the potential for a cross-holiday social media spectacular, a naked baby Eaton in a Santa hat and Ryan Zimmerman juggling limes will do just fine in its place.
This is the second of three parts in my offseason preview series. If you want to know more about the methodology, check out part one here. You should also just read it anyway! How did you even get to part two first?
With the conclusion of the World Series, the offseason is officially here. Although 2016 ended in disappointment for the Nationals, the team doesn’t lose a lot heading into 2017 and figures to once again be in the mix for the 2017 World Series. Like most teams, the Nationals have some work to do around the edges, like solidifying a bullpen that loses a few arms and replacing some of the bench players. But the big moves for the Nationals will be dictated by their answer to the following four crucial questions.