Washington Nationals Editorial: MLB’s ‘Franchise Four’ Unjust to Nationals Fans?
By Matt Weyrich
Current All-Stars aren’t the only players that are going to be honored at this season’s All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Major League Baseball just unveiled “Franchise Four,” a ballot where fans can vote for the top four living players in their team’s history. The four players with the highest vote totals will be honored alongside the current All-Stars at the 2015 Midsummer Classic.
Who are the Washington Nationals‘ candidates? Well, there’s Ryan Zimmerman and… wait, who are these guys? There is only one name on this list of a player who played with a Curly W on his chest. The rest of the players are Gary Carter, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Steve Rogers, Vladimir Guerrero, Rusty Staub, and Dennis Martinez, all of whom played for the Montreal Expos.
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With credit to the performance of the Expo greats, their mention here does not reach out to Nationals fans as the MLB is intending. While the Expos are a part of the Nationals’ franchise, their fans do not connect with the former team. Most fans did not even begin to follow the team until they moved to DC. Rather than include those names, the MLB should have written up a ballot of Nationals-only players. What would such a ballot look like? Well here are the eight best players to perform in a Washington Nationals jersey.
Ryan Zimmerman – The Face of the Franchise is a no-doubter for this ballot, as Zim is the Nats’ all-time leader in nearly every offensive category.
Jordan Zimmermann – Zimmermann would have been a lock for this list just for his no-hitter at the end of last season. However, the calm, yet dominant starter, is the best pitcher in Nationals history.
Livan Hernandez – The owner of the first pitch ever thrown by a National, Livo was a good pitcher on a bad team for several years. He, along with Zim and another player on this list, was one of the only players that sold tickets.
Tyler Clippard – The goggled setup man will always be a fan favorite in DC, despite his recent trade to the Oakland A’s. He was one of the more reliable setup men in baseball, and helped lead the team to two division titles.
Alfonso Soriano – The Dominican slugger may have only been with the Nationals for one season, but what a season it was. He became only the third player in baseball history with a 40/40 season, Soriano will forever be remembered for having one of the best seasons ever by a National.
Jayson Werth – When Werth signed his 7-year, $126 million contract in 2011, many critics dubbed the move by Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo as an overpayment. Since then, the Beard has more than proven his doubters wrong, helping turn around a franchise that had been a frequent flier of the NL East basement for years.
Ian Desmond – The longest tenured Nationals player has anchored the shortstop position for five years and has been as valuable an offensive weapon as any shortstop in the league. While it remains uncertain whether he will be donning a DC uniform beyond 2015, he has certainly been one of the best players the franchise has had.
Bryce Harper – This last spot was between Harper and Strasburg, as both are young stars with bright futures ahead of them. However, Harper has won a Rookie of the Year Award and has two All-Star appearances to his name, which is a feat no one else in team history can claim.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know down in the comments section. Want to fill out the Expos-I mean-Nationals ballot yourself? Follow the link here.