Winning is fun. Consistently winning usually brings visions of the postseason. The Washington Nationals are now 4-wins from exceeding their win total from 2010. That number is significant to hold ownership accountable in this offseason. For those who do not remember, Ted Lerner, in the offseason after 2010 made the most significant free acquisition in team history when they signed Jayson Werth to a 7-year contract with a 9-figure payday. It set the baseball world into a frenzy that the narratively branded Nats were not cheapos.
We are at a similar juncture again as we were in 2010. The differences are the Nats are desperately in need of ace starting pitching while their positional situation is encouraging. They do not need a Werth in the outfield — rather his equivalent at the front of the starting rotation. Finding that player is not the issue, it is the financial commitment to signing that player.
This is where you have to put your money where your mouth is. Message to Mark Lerner: It is the right time. Get back into the free agent market and sign that ace!
For anyone wondering if Lerner is all the way in, you can read the words of general manager Mike Rizzo who was front and center for several interviews last week.
The normally soured Washington Times journalist, Thom Loverro, seems to have a similar view that the Lerners have both feet back in, and are not selling any time soon. Nobody knows for sure since someone could morph into a potential buyer out of nowhere.
Sure, offer $3 billion USD to the Lerners with no stipulations and they would probably sell. But nobody seems ready to do that with the MASN and revenue impingements that still face this team.
There is a lot of promise in the future. Acquire an ace that pushes back MacKenzie Gore, Josiah Gray, and Jake Irvin to the 2-3-4 in a starting rotation, and Patrick Corbin as the placeholder for Cade Cavalli. The addition by subtraction is removing Trevor Williams from the starting rotation. Getting that ace is a key to a much better 2024 season as well as beyond.
We are just 190-ish days from setting the 2024 Opening Day roster — and only 77-days until the 2023 Baseball Winter Meetings on December 4th in Nashville, Tennessee. Circle that on your calendar. Rizzo will be in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 7 in the GM meetings, and hopefully he is there to relax. There are no star-studded veterans to trade, and just some excess arms if someone wants Corbin or Williams. Trading off top prospects for a starting pitcher like he did for Gio Gonzalez after the 2011 Winter Meetings was a blockbuster win for the Nats. None of the pieces Rizzo traded were Top-100 prospects. Could he replicate a trade like that? Probably not.
The Arizona Fall League roster should be revealed any day, maybe some promotions today, and hopefully more clarity on the future. The calendar is less than two weeks to the end of the 2023 regular season. Just a dozen games remaining.