Washington Nationals - SB Nation NL East Preview: Best And Worst Case Scenarios For The 2013 Nats

Rob Carr

Can the Washington Nationals defend their NL East crown? Do the older/wiser Philadelphia Phillies still have another run in them? What about the Up, Up, Hey! outfield in Atlanta? Can the Braves win the NL East? Can Sandy Alderson lead the New York Mets back into contention? What about the Miami Marlins? NL East Preview...

My favorite part of this post, an NL East 2013 Season Preview put together by the SB Nation's Marc Normandin, was the opportunity to see each of the SBN's NL East blogs' tag lines. We switched ours earlier this winter to simply express the truth that many in the nation's capital are late to the Jordan Zimmermann party: "We Were Into Zimmermann When He Played Small Clubs." You know, like when that small indie band you liked was still cool before everyone discovered them. Zimmermann for me is The Boggs. Never heard of them? It's ok, it's better that way, though I'm still trying to convince Drew Storen to use the song linked to there and HERE as his warm-up music. C'mon Drew! We traveled to see you in the Arizona Fall League in 2009... you and that Strasburg guy, yes, but you too!!!

The folks at Talking Chop, the SB Nation's Braves site keeps it simple (and truthful), "The Atlanta Braves blog of record." Such we-owned-the-division-for-years-restraint on their part. Fish Stripes? The SB Nation's Marlins site, they keep it simple and just go with a hashtag: "#minorvictories", though personally I would have gone with "#Loria[spit!]™", but that's just me. The SB Nation's Mets site, Amazin' Avenue keeps it odd as always and embiggens their audience, targeting the Edward-loving tween crowd by including vampires, "A New York Mets blog written by vampires or something." Finally there's the Phillies SB Nation site, The Good Phight, which describes itself as, "Well-written and something of a bummer." Perfect.

"[Dan] Haren is a bit of a question mark due to a rough 2012 marked by injury and velocity concerns, but if he can be the pre-2012 version of himself once more, the Nationals' rotation could be ridiculous." - Marc Normandin on the Nats from NL East Preview

So... for the NL East Preview post we were asked to provide the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the individual teams we cover and I guess, having read one too many comments about how arrogant Nationals fans were and how they weren't even fans before last September/October I decided for some reason (I really don't know why) to provide my best-and-worst-case scenarios in character as an arrogant Nats fan. Here's what I wrote:

Nationals' Worst Case: "What if Ryan Zimmerman's surgically repaired shoulder causes him issues? What if Danny Espinosa's torn rotator cuff proves too big a hindrance and the Nationals have to start Steve Lombardozzi for a prolonged period? If Steve Lombardozzi is exposed as an everyday player, the Nationals might have to bring 2011 first-round pick Anthony Rendon up early. That's how they're rolling these days. What's up, Mets? What if the Nationals lose one of their starters? [We refuse to imagine specific injury scenarios.]

Starting depth is an acknowledged weakness despite the strong rotation.

What if Wilson Ramos doesn't fully recover from surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus? What if Denard Span doesn't produce as expected and Michael Morse continues to crush oppo bombs in Seattle? What if the Nationals' right-handed relievers don't get left-handers out like the Nats are hoping they will and the fact that they didn't get a second left-handed reliever comes back to haunt them all summer or cost them late in the season? Any of those things could go wrong. If all of them go wrong, the worst-case scenario is a lot of folks writing about how they told the Nats they should have kept Stephen Strasburg going last year because you never know when you'll make a real run again..."

Nationals' Best Case: "The year after a then-42-year-old Davey Johnson led the New York Mets to a 98-64 record in 1985, the '86 Mets improved to 108-54 and won the World Series. It was Johnson's third year in New York. 2013 is Johnson's third season in the nation's capital. It's also the now-70-year-old manager's final season on a major league bench. Winning the World Series and sending Johnson out a winner is the best case scenario.

This scenario has young (or at least relatively young) players like Strasburg, Zimmermann, Harper, Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman, and Drew Storen all peaking together while veterans like Werth, Haren, Soriano, and Tyler Clippard perform at or close to their career norms. The season ends with the Nationals, a vindicated Mike Rizzo and Washington, D.C. sending Davey Johnson, the former major league second baseman and veteran of 16 seasons as a skipper, out on top." So... [crickets] [crickets]... whatever. I went for funny in the first part... I also apologized for forgetting to make jokes in the best-case section, but that got edited out, guess breaking character to address the audience is Frowned. Upon. In this establishment.

• Check out the responses from the rest of the SB Nation's NL East blogs HERE or below:.

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