Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Washington Nationals section of the website. This is my first post here, hopefully with many more to come, and I am looking forward to giving you all the Nationals news and notes.
Hope springs eternal in the depths of winter. With just one week before pitchers and catchers report to Arizona and Florida for Spring Training, even Nationals fans have high hopes for the 2010 season.
Ever since team President Stan Kasten was hired in 2006, he has been urging fans to follow “The Plan.” After all, you can’t make chicken soup with chicken shit. The team was going nowhere, and a new foundation had to be laid. Coming off of back-to-back 59-win seasons, fans are restless and in need of noticeable improvement. Thankfully, one man understands this. Mike Rizzo, the Nationals general manager, has taken strides to try to improve the team for the 2010 season. The Nationals have signed pitchers Matt Capps, Jason Marquis, and Tyler Walker, catcher Ivan Rodriguez, and most recently second baseman Adam Kennedy. The team is also currently in talks with, and appears to be the front-runner to sign, former Yankees’ starter Chien-Ming Wang.
These additions are certainly not a star-studded cast of players. However, the signings do signify the end of an era which was often associated — by fans, of course – with the Lerners’ unwillingness to spend money to improve the team. Well, guess what. The team went out and spent $26+ million, and in the end, the Nationals are just about good enough to win 75 games.
75 wins is not a lot. 75 wins is below average. Yet, 75 wins should signal a vast improvement over the Nationals of yesteryear. Players like Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan, and Jordan Zimmermann should be around for many years. The next generation of Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, and Derek Norris will arrive in the next couple of seasons, and they will add to the core of young players with which the Nationals hope to win. The key to transforming the Nationals from laughingstock of the National League to perennial winners is no different from any piece of infrastructure: a solid foundation. And that, I believe, is what the Nationals have.
This is also why I believe that Nationals fans should trust in “The Plan.” Lasting success is not achieved by buying every free agent in sight. It starts from within the organization. Many people will point out that the Yankees have had success via free agency. As much as I dislike the Yankees, they have actually become a model organization for developing prospects. If you want proof, try this test. Come opening day, count how many players on the Yankees roster were drafted by them. Then count how many on the Nationals were drafted by the Nationals. You will be surprised. But this is changing, and in just a few years, the count will double.
For now, signing average free agents like Jason Marquis or Matt Capps is acceptable. It will make the Nationals a below average team – maybe even average. By 2011, the only complaint fans will have is how hard it will be to find seats at Nationals Park in October.
Thank you for reading my inaugural blog post here at Sportstalkbuzz.com. In the upcoming weeks, I plan on analyzing the different position battles that will take place in March, who should make the team, and many other things involving the Washington Nationals. I encourage open discussion, but I do request that the comment section stays clean. I enjoy writing these articles, and I hope that you will enjoy reading them.
About the Author
Written by Sam Diament