Just prove them all wrong!

Just prove them all wrong. The current PECOTA projections has the 2024 Washington Nationals team at 103.8 losses. Play the games — and do what you did last year, and beat all of the projections and estimates.

Manager Dave Martinez wisely said that baseball is played by athletes — not computer projections. Last year, Martinez’s team beat all expectations and projections and only lost 91 games. While that record won’t get you into the playoffs, it was just a marked improvement over losing 107 games in the previous season.

That tweet from MLB was sent out hours after the August 23rd game when everything changed during the 2023 season for the Washington Nationals. Stone Garrett broke his leg while playing a ball off of the right field wall in Yankee Stadium, and also injured his ankle. It felt like the visions of grandeur were made of ice cream and melted all over the clubhouse floor. Some players couldn’t hold back their tears after seeing Garrett writhing in pain. The Nats were only 10-games below .500 before that point and just needed to stay on that 23-15 pace to finish near .500 on the season. They went 14-22 the rest of the way to finish at 71-91.

A new page is turned, and if the Nats can find that magic they had in that 23-15 stretch, they can be the positive surprise of a team in 2024. Martinez is a born optimist, and the manager of the 2019 World Series team. He did a Q&A with MLB.com. He thinks that next World Series with the Nationals is coming “real soon.”

“We were able to do something that people dream of and — that’s winning a championship together [in 2019].”

“We are going to win another one real soon.”

— Martinez said to MLB.com

There is good news. Expect that $41.1 million is coming off the books after this season, and add back $16 million in new arbitration raises. That’s a net of $25 million gained in payroll advantage. The team spent $10 million this offseason, so just match that amount to spend plus that $25 million — and that gets you to $35 million in new spending. That would grow the payroll from $111 million this year to $121 million next year. That is a bare minimum. It is also very possible to expect Dylan Crews, James Wood and Brady House will all be starting on Opening Day of 2025. Spend that $35 million on one stud pitcher. That is it. No more excuses — just do it.


The 2025 starting rotation:

1. $35 million man

2. MacKenzie Gore

3. Josiah Gray

4. Cade Cavalli

5. Jake Irvin/ Jackson Rutledge/ DJ Herz

The 2025 starting lineup:

1. CJ Abrams SS

2. Lane Thomas LF

3. Dylan Crews CF

4. James Wood RF

5. Brady House 3B

6. Stone Garrett DH

7. Joey Meneses 1B

8. Keibert Ruiz C

9. Jacob Young 2B

A surprise or two for that 2025 roster. Yes, it is youthful. This most likely will not be exactly what the 2025 roster looks like — but it could be close. Jacob Young returning to his original college position of second base obviously stands out, and the three young prospects have work to show they’ve earned Opening Day nods. Will Lane Thomas, Joey Meneses, and Stone Garrett do enough in 2024 to keep them as starters in 2025? What happens with Luis Garcia Jr.?

And yes, that rotation is begging for an ace to lead this team into true playoff contention. There will be some interesting names topping the list of potential free agents, and especially if Gerrit Cole opts-out of his contract with the Yankees — and if he doesn’t, this preliminary list is intriguing: 1) Corbin Burnes · Baltimore Orioles ; 2) Zack Wheeler · Philadelphia Phillies ; 3) Max Fried · Atlanta Braves ; 4) Walker Buehler · Los Angeles Dodgers. There are over a dozen pitchers with varying types of player, vesting, team, and mutual options.

“… we have a chance to win here, and get back to where we need to be, and that’s to be in the playoffs.”

” … be ready to go with [the goal to] try to get back into playoff contention.”

— Martinez said after the 2023 season

Of course the biggest name to watch is near and dear to all Nats’ fans: Juan Soto. Yes, he is finally 8½ months from being the biggest name in free agency and will be the headliner of the 2024-25 free agents. Let’s hope principal owner Mark Lerner gives his general manager, Mike Rizzo, much more than $35 million to spend. That free agent class could be legendary.

This entry was posted in Analysis. Bookmark the permalink.