I've been fighting against the SELL SELL SELL attitude that many fans have for weeks now.
"The Nationals are better than their record shows!" "We've just had too many injuries, wait until we're healthy!"
And then came the Marlins and the Orioles.
Teams the Nats should have walked over in their triumphant march to the post-season.
If you're reading this, then I'm sure you already know what happened- but just in case- The Washington Nationals got their butts handed to them by the worst team in the NL EAST (the worst division in baseball), and then got swept by the worst team in the American league.
There's simply no upside from these two series. The Nats imploded against really.. really bad teams.
So while optimistically I want us to keep fighting, to push for that (literal) 1% chance we have of making the post season now- I need to also look at this as what's best for this TEAM.
Juan Soto and Trea Turner are the heart and soul of this team now.
With the two of them, the Nationals have an incredible 1-2 punch of guys who can get on base at a scary high rate.
We need to build this team to be the best it can be for these two young phenoms in 2022, 23, 24.. etc.
Does that mean getting rid of Max? Maybe.
Freeing up a little money there could go a long way to signing a free agent next year.
Strasburg is going to hurt us for a long time. Just being real here- I love the guy and I was in favor of giving him all the money in the world after the '19 season... but he has given us what? Basically zero return on investment since the World Series. It's not his fault. Injuries suck- but the Nationals have so much money tied up there and just being wasted, that it's painful.
The team does not have a rotation to speak of- and with both Daniel Hudson and Brad Hand being heavily discussed on the trading block this week, the team may be both without a starting rotation, and without a bullpen to speak of.
This team NEEDS help at pitching- both starters and relievers- and it needs them desperately.
The problem is, the Nationals also sorely need to plug in holes in the field as well. They need a reliable third baseman. They need another (maybe 2) outfielders.
At catcher- Gomes was borderline All-Star material when he went down, at least from a defensive standpoint. Having him and Barerra healthy I think will be all we need there.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of keeping Schwarber around.
Having Kyle, Trae, and Juan batting 1, 2, 3 is an absolute recipe for success, and something we've only seen for a few weeks this season, but THOSE WERE OUR BEST WEEKS.
Frankly it wasn't mattering if our pitchers were giving up 6, because our boys were scoring 8 on the regular.
Harrison could do well as a plug and play for a team needing that utility man- the issue for us is we've absolutely NEEDED a utility man the last month due to all the injuries (and Castro being.... Castro), so if we lose Harrison, that will sting.
Zimmerman is almost surely retiring after this season. Though it will be sad to see Mr. National gone, I think having the roster spot taken up by a more reliable day-in-day-out type of guy would do us better. Being a pinch hitter is one of the hardest jobs in baseball, and his numbers show it.
This fan's recommendation?
I love Max. But if we can get a AAA STUD who can move up next year and be a full time starter- do it.
Hand... while a lot of people love him, I see a lot more inconsistency than most. I'd trade him and move Hudson back to the closer spot.
I like Parra on the bench as a fill in and a PH. He's too hesitant on defense for every day- but would be fine for a late game double switch. Also, the baby shark boost for the fans and players is a real thing. Keep him.
Robles, Harrison, Stevenson, Avila, Bell, should all be readily available to trade. The trick is the Nats don't want to get stuff to make them competitors in 3 years, we want to take it all NEXT YEAR, so finding something of quality may actually only work in a 3-team trade- unless a team has tons of depth to play with and an obvious hole Max or Bell, or someone could fill.
Let's also not forget that trading, and the draft are not the only ways to get talent. I think the Nationals should be heavily invested in the goings on of both the Japan and Korean baseball leagues, both of which are ripe with young talent.
Bottom line- keep Schwarber, Turner, Soto, Gomes, and Parra.
Everyone else should not only be up for discussion, but dangled in front of other teams.