What’s going on with the Washington Nationals lately? Since winning the World Series in 2019, they have finished in last place the last two years. As the 2022 season moves along, it appears they will make it three in a row. A rebuilding of the entire organization appears to be underway.
Rebuilds Are Not Easy
Rebuilds are not easy. Every team, at one time or another, goes through it. However, it came on quickly for the Nationals, and there appears to be no relief ahead for the next few years.
What is going to make this rebuild more difficult is what’s happened over the last two off-seasons. To begin with, the team made very few upgrades to improve their team, trading away veteran players and failing to pick up free agents. On top of that, ownership slashed payroll over the past two seasons as well.
Rumors have been swirling that the Lerner family, who owns the team, may be interested in selling them, and has hired a New York investment firm to look for potential investors or buyers.
Washington Nationals’ System
When you think of the Washington Nationals, you must also mention their minor league system. Over the last few years they have been at the bottom of the farm system rankings for all position players and pitchers.
The good news is that last year they unloaded several veterans for prospects. Yan Gomes, Brad Hand, Josh Harrison, Daniel Hudson, Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber, and Trea Turner were all acquired by other teams. The Nationals received 12 prospects in return.
The new additions have certainly improved the overall quality of the team’s farm system, but it still isn’t as strong as others. A successful draft for 2022 will hopefully help.
Washington Nationals’ Pitching Prospects
Rookie pitcher Joan Adon is one of the top pitching prospects who the Nationals are counting on to revive their pitching depth at the big-league level. However, he has struggled to a 1–10 record, and a 6.95 ERA.
The question that the Nationals need to answer now is do you bring up others, such as Cade Cavalli, to the big-league club now, letting them face big-league situations and pressures for the experience? Or do you leave them in the minors to get more seasoning for next year? Some guys get seasoned more quickly; for others it takes time. Tough decisions are ahead for GM Mike Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez.
Bats Remain Farther Away
The prospects in the system for position players remain farther away from big-league readiness. While they do have Josh Bell and Juan Soto at the MLB- level to build around, players such as Yasel Antuna and Brady House are at least two years away, or longer. The Nationals will have to rely on veterans in the twilights of their playing years to get them through unless they reach out for free agents in the off-season, which is something they haven’t done in the past two years.
What’s going on with the Washington Nationals shows that changes are needed. They really do not have many quality players ready to step in at this time. With both hitting and pitching depth at issue, this could take a long time to fix. Regardless of how good their draft is, up-and-coming players are still a few years away from the MLB-level.
To regain their winning form in the National League, the Washington Nationals have a great deal of work to do. Fans need to prepare themselves. It looks as though the Nationals could be at the bottom of the standings for the next few years.
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