Washington Nationals News: How the Nats unraveled after Jonathan Papelbon deal


Good evening DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. Get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

We start of today’s Daily with a phenomenal article from the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga, who discusses how the Nationals fell apart after their controversial trade for closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Svrluga’s article takes a close look at the team’s incredible 2015 collapse—both with their struggles on the field, and with their lack of communication in the clubhouse. As Svrluga notes in his article, there are many reasons for the Nationals’ disappointing season, and the acquisition of Papelbon was one of the biggest culprits behind the team’s rapid demise.

The deal not only crushed the confidence of former closer Drew Storen, but it also created a general sense of animosity in the clubhouse as several players weren’t thrilled about welcoming a player with Papelbon’s combative past to the team. Of course, the Papelbon saga culminated in Sunday’s game, when the closer got into a skirmish with MVP candidate Bryce Harper.

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Svrluga also discusses how Matt Williams quickly lost the support of his team, and how his many mistakes and inability to connect with his players played a key roll in the team’s downfall. Svrluga’s article is as hard-hitting as it is informative, and it’s definitely worth a read.

Also in today’s Daily, the Post’s James Wagner discusses how Harper has his eyes set on a strong offensive finish in 2015. As Wagner notes, the Nationals’ season is essentially over. But Harper, who is already likely to be the NL MVP, could reach the 100 RBI mark this week and run away with the NL batting title.

Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

In Jonathan Papelbon, Nationals got their closer — and their kiss of death

(Barry Svrluga, Washington Post)

As July neared its close, and the Washington Nationals tried to cling to their spot atop the National League East, General Manager Mike Rizzo manned his iPhone at all hours. The Nationals were in Miami for an off day before three games against the Marlins. Rizzo’s top choices as trade targets were two of the best closers in the game, Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman and San Diego’s Craig Kimbrel.

Yet as Rizzo went back and forth with those two clubs, it quickly became obvious that the cost for either would be too much. “We’ve made it clear to teams that we’ve talked to,” Rizzo said, “that there are certain guys that we’re not going to talk about.” Read full article here.

Bryce Harper wants to finish strong, has eye on batting title and 100 RBI

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

The Washington Nationals season, in a practical sense, is over. Five games remain and, then, the Nationals will go their separate ways. Sure, they still want to win as many games as possible before it’s officially over. And to ensure a winning season, the Nationals need to win two more games.

But Manager Matt Williams said there are also other factors to weigh: some players are dealing with lingering injuries, there are young prospects who could play and some individual milestones a handful of players are near. Read full article here.

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