There are no reasons to doubt the words of Washington Nationals’ team owner, Mark Lerner, who has been quoted recently about his desire to win, or rather, he said how much he hates losing. But what do you expect when you build a team with so many known flaws, and over 35 percent of the payroll going to one player who has not played an inning this year. If anything, this is an over-achieving team. To build a winner, sooner than later, will require a commitment to more spending to fill the black holes on the roster. This is where actions will speak louder than words. Basically, put your money where your mouth is. We will know in less than five months if general manager Mike Rizzo has the spending capital to win in 2024.
Winning over a full-season is earned. There is a process to it. A plan that is years in the making. Vast resources already spent and more available to deploy. And sprinkle in some luck. But the best teams don’t rely on luck because when you do, it is a fool’s errand. When you are truly committed to winning, it is done by assembling a roster of known productive players, meaning players with track records with trend arrows pointed up. Reclamation projects rarely pay-off in a way that you get what you pay for. So sabermetrically speaking, you look at positive WAR players, and they cost more money than those flawed players. The Nats filled holes in 2023 with plenty of those reclamation projects and one worked out — Jeimer Candelario. Yes, sometimes they do work out. But Corey Dickerson, Dom Smith, Trevor Williams, Thaddeus Ward, Hobie Harris, Chad Kuhl, and Anthony Banda did not work out too well. Throw enough against the wall, and some of it sticks.
Will this offseason be the right time to get your next Jayson Werth? That is the million dollar question. If it is the right time, don’t expect the free agent signing to be an outfielder like Werth. This team needs an ace pitcher. They don’t come cheap. There are some other holes to fill too. If it is not the right time, then winning might not be coming in 2024.
Some question how Lerner can be committed and “all in” if your team is technically for sale? That is a fair question to ask, and a source told us that unless someone brings a $3 billion offer to the Lerners with no stipulations the team is not going to sell. So basically, the team is not selling any time soon. Why worry about it. This is outside of anything we can control.
All we can do is wait and see. There is no reason to get upset. Consistent winning will happen, however there is no guarantee when it will start. What we do know is James Wood, Dylan Crews, and Brady House are getting closer and closer to joining CJ Abrams, Josiah Gray, MacKenzie Gore, and Keibert Ruiz to what should be the young core of this team. Returning from injury is Cade Cavalli, and then there are other minor leaguers pushing to be part of this all.
Lerner says the “fans are really going to like what they see in the next couple of years” and that sounds just wonderful.