The Washington Nationals 2022 season has been a disappointment for their players and the fans. Just three years ago, they were World Series champions. Since then, they have struggled to compete. The Nationals 2022 season is no different. Washington is 40-plus games under .500 and just trying to get the season over. They don’t have much to play for other than pride. Overall, it’s no surprise that this team is going through a long, drawn-out process.
Washington Nationals 2022 Season
Stars Traded Away
Nationals fans hoped the day would not happen, but it did. Star outfielder Juan Soto was in a blockbuster deal as he and teammate Josh Bell were sent to the San Diego Padres in exchange for five minor league prospects.
Soto was considered the organization’s most valuable player. A fan favorite, he was thought to be the face of the franchise for years to come. Bell, who was on a one-year deal, quickly became popular as a clubhouse leader.
The organization looked at long-term deals for both but decided, like other players from recent years, that they would demand big-dollar salaries. That forced the organization to make the trade to at least get something for them.
What Now for the Nationals
It remains skeptical as to what happens next for the Nationals. The trade signalled that this organization will not be competing for a championship soon. Washington is in dire need of a rebuild in hopes of having a more promising future.
Rebuilds can be long and tricky. But, it certainly looks familiar to the franchise’s early days in the nation’s capital. In its early years, starting with getting off the ground in 2005, it struggled for years before General Manager Mike Rizzo put together a winning tradition.
As mentioned before, Washington has not been able to put together a winning season since their World Series win. And the team has unloaded most of the top stars on their roster since 2019. Owner Mark Lerner has mentioned a possible sale of the team. Although it is considered an exploratory process and no timetable is clear, it is still unsettling for everyone involved with this organization.
Hope for the Future
Fans are left feeling what the future holds for this organization. The possibility of selling the team is imminent, but until that happens will the owners try to improve the team by acquiring talent. Who knows how the Nationals will shape their roster to field a contending team.
Questions remain if the current owners sell and new ownership comes in quickly. Will new ownership endorse a long multi-year rebuild? Will they spend money quickly to bring in big-name free agents? Everything is unknown until a sale happens and new ownership takes over. Until then, fans are stuck in wait-and-see mode.
Improvements Must Be Made
We know this much; this organization must improve a few things behind the scenes, no matter who buys the franchise. They must begin getting the entire organization back to its winning ways. Player development issues are a priority for the team to become a contender again. Once consistently in the top ten, the team’s farm system is now in the bottom five. The trade of Bell and Soto brought Washington some of the Padres’ top talent, which has pushed them up to number 15, according to mlb.com. They need to capitalize on that.
Some Needed Stability
The good news is that there is some stability going into next year. Mike Rizzo and Dave Martinez have extensions they signed earlier this season. It gives the organization and the current players the assurance of continuity.
Rizzo transformed the Nationals into one of MLB’s elite clubs, leading them to four National League East titles in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017. They have one wild berth from 2019 too.
What the Future Holds
It will be a whole new organization next year. Possible new ownership, young players on the MLB roster that are not developed, and some developing stars who are ready to lead the team are just some of the unknowns.
The Washington Nationals 2022 season is a lackluster time for the dwellers of the NL East division. A lot is up in the air for this franchise. There is still something for the team and its fans to feel optimistic about. As much as the fans did not approve of the trade of Bell and Soto, they are starting to realize the players they received could be the (new) future of the team.
Veteran first baseman Luke Voit brings not only his on-field talent but leadership as well. Top prospects, including shortstop CJ Abrams, starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore, outfielders Robert Hassell, James Wood, and right-handed pitcher Jarlin Susana should be ready to showcase their talents sooner than later.
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