As we showed yesterday, several NL East standouts are now free agents. The NL East will look very different. Fangraphs has the Nationals ahead of the other NL East teams in combined WAR now. Of course that is prior to all the off-season moves, and then we play the games where WAR goes out the window and game results is all that matters. The Nationals had a pythagorean of 90 wins in 2018, but in actuality the team won only 82 games. The final tally on the team combined WAR for the 2018 season was at just under 40 which was well below the 47.1 they were projected at.
The Nationals will embark on the 2019 season without at least one fixture of the 2012 playoff team, and that is Gio Gonzalez. The other fixture, Bryce Harper is still unsigned, and if he does not return, the only players from that team who are on the roster today are Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg. If general manager Mike Rizzo goes back to the future, he could re-sign Wilson Ramos who was part of that 2012, 2014, and 2016 playoff teams.
For the Natioanls, Bryce Harper was the most recognizable face of the franchise, and Gio Gonzalez was so consistent that he only missed a handful of starts in his 7-year tenure with the Nationals. He was so consistent in taking his turn on the mound for the Nationals that he made exactly 32-starts in five of his seven years with the Nationals.
For Mike Rizzo, he will have to find some new players for his core because this team could be celebrating Ryan Zimmerman’s final year as a Washington Nationals player in 2019 and add to that Stephen Strasburg has a contract opt-out after the 2019 season.
Some would say change is good, but in sports, the key measure is not the stats rather how many games you win.