What Are the Nats up to in 2024?

For 2024, the Washington Nationals focused on rebuilding with some low-risk additions, after they cleared roster spots by parting ways with a few players since last August when the purge started, and strategically improving their team by adding some power to the lineup to compete more effectively in the Major League Baseball season. The beginning of the year is crucial for setting up the team’s direction, with important decisions about adding new players, making roster changes, and getting ready for spring training.

The Nationals concentrated on signing players at under $5 million of salary commitments, lengthening their pitching depth, and not blocking players who could be brought up to the MLB roster. The key is developing the young talent, guided by a management team eager to transform potential into real success. This is about sticking to their plan set by general manager Mike Rizzo.

Continue reading to learn what the Nationals have done, showing how they’ve prepared, made strategic decisions, and added new talent to prepare for an exciting season.

Opening Day and Home Opener

The Washington Nationals kick off the 2024 season against the Cincinnati Reds on March 28, marking their first Opening Day match in Cincinnati since 2018. This opening day symbolizes new beginnings and the team’s ambitions. They’ll then host the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 1 for their home opener at Nationals Park, starting with a series that sets the tone for their home game performance and fan engagement for the season. A quick positive start to the season could really shape something the Nats had not done since that 2018 season with a winning record in the middle of May.

Key Matchups and Road Trips

The Washington Nationals’ 2024 season is shaped by challenging road trips and key matchups, testing their endurance and team synergy. Their schedule includes three significant 10-day journeys before the All-Star break, facing formidable teams like the San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, and Los Angeles Dodgers. These early tests will be crucial for gauging the team’s performance and cohesion against top-tier competition.

The integration of new players and the strategic enhancement of the pitching lineup and offensive capabilities indicate the Nationals’ ambition to build a well-rounded and competitive team. Many Nats and MLB fans are excited to watch and bet on baseball, thanks to the Nats’ presence in the All-Star break.

The focus on improving team dynamics and addressing areas of need demonstrates the management’s proactive approach to the 2024 season, aiming for a successful run based on strategic preparations and developing veteran and upcoming talents.

The Nationals are also preparing their prospects for the MLB Spring Breakout, an event designed to showcase baseball’s future stars, indicating the team’s long-term vision for nurturing talent​​. That Breakout game is in the middle of March.

Washington Nationals Roster

The Washington Nationals’ 2024 roster features a mix of pitchers, catchers, infielders, and outfielders, showcasing the team’s depth and talent across all positions. Key pitchers for the Nationals on the MLB roster include Kyle Finnegan, Dylan Floro, Robert Garcia, MacKenzie Gore, Josiah Gray, Hunter Harvey, Cole Henry, DJ Herz, Jake Irvin, Mitchell Parker, Tanner Rainey, Jackson Rutledge, Mason Thompson, Thaddeus Ward, Jordan Weems, Trevor Williams, and Amos Willingham, highlighting a strong pitching lineup aimed at securing the team’s competitiveness in the league. Cade Cavalli and Stephen Strasburg will both start the season on the IL.

For catching, the Nationals rely on Riley Adams, Drew Millas, and Keibert Ruiz, providing solid options behind the plate. The infield sees talents like CJ Abrams, Jake Alu, Luis García Jr., Carter Kieboom, Nasim Nuñez, Nick Senzel, and Ildemaro Vargas, ensuring flexibility and defensive prowess. Expect two of those names to not make the roster.

Alex Call adds to the team’s depth in the outfield, offering options for lineup configurations and strategic plays throughout the season​​​​ with Joey Gallo, Stone Garrett, Victor Robles, Lane Thomas and Jacob Young competing for starting spots with one of them most likely shifting to the DH and possibly one to the bench. Minor League invite Jesse Winker could shake all of that up.

Player Health and Conditioning

A crucial part of the Nationals’ early 2024 activities has been ensuring the health and conditioning of their players. Jesse Winker’s focus on staying healthy underscores the importance of player fitness in the team’s strategy.

After conversations with former teammate Sean Doolittle about the positive environment at the Nationals, Winker emphasized the significance of maintaining peak physical condition for the season ahead​​.

Similarly, the Nationals’ management of Cade Cavalli’s recovery from Tommy John surgery demonstrates a careful approach to player health. Nearly one-year post-surgery, Cavalli’s progress is promising, with the team cautiously optimistic about his return to the mound, highlighting their investment in player recovery and long-term health​​​​.

Roster Moves and Player Integration

One of the Nationals’ significant off-season moves this month was signing outfielder Jesse Winker, who previously conversed with former teammate Sean Doolittle about the positives of joining the Nationals. Winker as mentioned will be competing with players already on the MLB roster.

These conversations and the team’s potential influenced Winker’s decision to sign with the Nationals​​. Additionally, the team finalized a deal with Joey Gallo, who expressed enthusiasm about bonding with his new teammates after a chaotic couple of days of transition. Gallo’s move was part of the Nationals’ strategy to add power and a left-handed bat to their lineup​​​​.

Community Engagement and Team Spirit

The Nationals have also fostered a strong sense of community and team spirit. Joey Gallo’s signing and subsequent efforts to bond with teammates exemplify the team’s focus on building a cohesive unit.

Despite being chaotic, Gallo’s transition to the Nationals ended with him expressing excitement about integrating with the team and contributing to its success​​​​. This emphasis on team chemistry is critical for the Nationals, aiming to blend new talent with existing players to create a unified group poised for success.

Final Thoughts

From strategic signings to bolstering their pitching depth and integrating promising prospects, the Washington Nationals have actively prepared for the 2024 MLB season and are actively preparing. We will see if adding only $10 million in new free agents works for this team. The evaluators don’t think so but manager Dave Martinez just has to get more from what he has. The top prospects could be added to the lineup — but help for the pitching staff will most likely have to come from the names mentioned or from within the minor league system.

With new talent like Gallo and Winker ready to make their mark and prospects set to break out, the Nationals are building a team that aims to improve their previous performances and significantly impact the league. The early part of 2024 has been a period of optimistic preparation for the Nationals, setting the stage for what they hope will be a successful season.

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