If there is one bright spot about this disappointing season, it's that attendance at Nationals Park continues to climb. Despite being below .500, the Nationals have drawn 33,360 fans per game in 2013. That is up from 29,269 per game in 2012, when the Nats won the NL East title.
As long as attendance does not plummet during August and September, the Nationals will have earned between $5 and $8 million more than the previous year. Extra payroll makes the Nats more competitive in the free agent market this winter for something they desperately need: a bat.
Things are looking up in the Beltway. Strasburg, Zimmermann, and Gonzalez aren't going anywhere. Hopefully Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper improve a bit. Perhaps Adam LaRoche returns to form, and the young bullpen pitches more solid. And when Dan Haren's contract ends in September, the Nats have an extra $13 million to play with.
Expect big(ger) things from the Washington Nationals in 2014.