We continue looking at the 30 MLB teams as they head into the 2021 season. And on this piece, we examine The State of the Washington Nationals.
Josh Bell Trade/ Resigning Ryan Zimmerman
When the Nationals made the trade for Josh Bell, it was a surprising move. Bell is one of the more underrated players in Major League Baseball. And, with Bell coming off a down season in 2020, he was a much easier acquisition target than in the past. Now trading for Bell gave the sense that a reunion with the Washington Nationals’ first-ever selection, Ryan Zimmerman’s days in DC were over. However, that was not the case as the Nationals resigned Ryan Zimmerman.
The resigning of Ryan Zimmerman feels as if, in part at least, it’s a thank you to the career National. But also as a way for the fans to say goodbye to a DC legend. Zimmerman has always been a fan-favorite among the Nationals faithful. And with empty ballparks in 2020, fans were unable to say their goodbyes to Zim. And thus resigning with Nationals was a must for both parties for the Ryan Zimmerman swan song.
Alex Avila Signing
The signing of Alex Avila may be overlooked as a nothing move by many. However, Avila will be a perfect platoon partner for Yan Gomes, whose already in the Nationals’ fold. The Nats manager Davey Martinez should be able to employ a great platoon strategy to maximize Avila and Gomes’s ability.
Jon Lester Signing
When Jon Lester signed with the Nationals, the thought was about how legendary the rotation is in name value. Jon Lester has the pedigree and poise of an unphased veteran. Lester will provide the Nats starting rotation with accountability, and a level of wisdom few others possess. Jon Lester’s signing was a good sign for the Nats and a bad sign for the rest of the National League East.
Brad Hand Signing
Signing Brad Hand was a smart move by the Nationals. Having a bonafide closer locking down games is important. And while some warning signs have made some teams wary of Hand’s future, the Nats were smart to sign him.
Kyle Schwarber Signing
When the Chicago Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber, it was seen as a questionable decision. And even now, it’s still a shocking move. A bat-like Schwarber’s possesses such a high level of potential that a team should want to hold onto that potential. Adding Schwarber to the Nationals lineup makes it even scarier than it already was going to be in 2021.
State of the Rotation
The names on this Washington Nationals rotation should elicit fear across the entire league. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester, and Joe Ross are quite the formidable force of starters. How the rest of the National League East will fair against them will have to be seen. On any given day, these starters are capable of producing magic. And the Nats will need this rotation to be dominant if they have plans of returning to the postseason and the World Series.
State of the Bullpen
The bullpen for the Washington Nationals is going to have a few recognizable names. But outside of Daniel Hudson and Will Harris, the rest of the Nats bullpen will be able to set the narrative for the rest of the baseball world. For the Nationals to be successful, this bullpen will have to step up and lock down games.
State of the Offense
A surprising force, that’s how the Nationals offense should be described. There is a level of balance and fluidity to their lineup. The Nats offense is built around Juan Soto. Everyone else in this lineup will be placed in a position to facilitate the explosive nature of the monster and Ted Williams-esque bat of Soto. Having Josh Bell on the roster will likely slot the switch-hitter in between Soto and Schwarber. We will also see the future maturation of Carter Kieboom, who is a potential star in the making. And not to mention other veteran players whose bats still play like Starlin Castro and Ryan Zimmerman. The Nats offense is a strong force and a scary team to face in the NL East.
State of the Franchise
For the Washington Nationals, the 2021 campaign will likely see a return to form. The biggest factor for the Nats’ success will be health. If the Nationals can remain healthy, they will find themselves in a season-long battle—a battle to claim the top spot in the National League East and the National League itself.