The 2016 season was a success in so many ways for the Washington Nationals even though it ended last night in the NLDS. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, will try to creep into our minds, and we cannot turn back time, only move forward. Baseball is a cruel game. Failure is part of a baseball players life as shown in the statistics as success is measured roughly at a greatness quotient of a 30% mark for an offensive metric meaning you bat .300—you are an all-star. That is just the way it is, but the team that executes the best usually wins, and the Dodgers did that at the key moments, and the Nationals did not.
Let’s look at the positives from the season. With Trea Turner and the free agent acquisition of Daniel Murphy as two cornerstones of this 2016 team, we should pencil them in going forward as the biggest positives for the position players. No matter all the rumblings on Bryce Harper, he will fix that issue in his neck/shoulder area, and maybe it will require surgery, who knows, but he will be the third cornerstone. The fourth cornerstone has to be Anthony Rendon, and if not Tony Two Bags, the team needs to make one acquisition especially since the team will not have Wilson Ramos to start the 2017 season if at all given his free agent status. The other question mark is whether or not the team retains Ben Revere for the 2017 season.
- Werth LF
- Harper RF
- ? Revere or new acquisition CF
- Rendon 3B
- Trea Turner SS or 2B
- Murphy 2B or 1B
- Zimmerman 1B or bench
- Severino or Lobaton or new acquistion
If Stephen Strasburg is indeed healthy for 2017, the outlook is bright for the Nationals starting rotation. The team must consider picking up the team option on Gio Gonzalez and trade him to the Miami Marlins who are rumored once again to wanting Gio. The Nationals could fix their need for a CF and go for Marcell Ozuna which was the rumored trade in the last off-season, and the Marlins are already rumored to want Gio Gonzalez if the Nationals release him.
The Nationals do not have many holes for next season. Health will play a part in it. The team can also look to save some money by building the bench out of players they control at league minimum salaries like Wilmer Difo, Matt Skole, and Brian Goodwin while retaining Stephen Drew.
Two names not mentioned here are Danny Espinosa and Michael Taylor. Is it time to move on from these players who have K% rates over 30%? That will be hotly debated as will the future of Gio Gonzalez as well as what position Trea Turner plays in 2017. Will Ryan Zimmerman be a bench player and will Jayson Werth transition to a part-time player. All debatable points for the off-season.
Who does Mike Rizzo target as trade and free agent acquisitions as the Nats could be in need of a closer with Mark Melancon’s status.
Speaking of Mike Rizzo, will he leave for Arizona as rumored by Jim Bowden.