Don’t Write Off the Washington Nationals Just Yet

Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Nationals may have had a disappointing offseason, but they are still in the race for a National League East division title.

Jason Heyward, Darren O’Day, Ben Zobrist, Mike Leake, Brandon Phillips, Aroldis Chapman, Wei-Yin Chen, Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes… The list of players the Washington Nationals have been connected to this offseason but never acquired is seemingly never-ending. With Cespedes electing to return to New York after turning down a reported $110 million contract with Washington, the Nats are now left without any blockbuster acquisitions this offseason.

More from District on Deck

Everywhere you look, people are writing off the Nats’ chances in 2016. Can you blame them? The Mets look like the team to beat in the NL East, and thanks to the Cespedes deal, the gap between the two teams is even wider. However, no one wins the World Series in January. Just ask… oh yeah, the 2015 Nationals.

Yes, between the snowfall and rejected offers, the winter months have not gone according to plan in the nation’s capital. That does not mean the Nats haven’t been productive. They snagged second baseman Daniel Murphy on a reasonable three-year deal. Oliver Perez, Shawn Kelley, Trevor Gott, and Yusmeiro Petit were all acquired in a complete bullpen overhaul. Disgruntled set-up man Drew Storen was traded for left-handed outfielder Ben Revere, which looks like a good trade for both sides. Plus, they added experience in the front office in Dan Jennings and on the bench in Stephen Drew.

More from Nationals News

The Mets may be coming off a World Series appearance, sporting the most dominant rotation trio in the league, and penciling Yoenis Cespedes in at left field for Opening Day. However, that does not guarantee them a trip to the Fall Classic. The Nationals’ shift to a low-strikeout/high-contact offense with a bigger emphasis on speed and moving baserunners with the likes of new manager Dusty Baker at the helm will bring an entire new look to the their lineup.

Washington’s rotation remains one of the best in baseball, while the bullpen has plenty of potential. The reigning MVP will be entering his age-23 season, their closer has the chance to hit 400 career saves this year, and Max Scherzer will continue to do Max Scherzer things.

Next: District Daily: FA's Reportedly View Nats As Toxic

Will Stephen Strasburg finally have a Cy Young-caliber year in what looks to be his final season in D.C.? Can Bryce Harper actually repeat a performance as historic as his 2015 season? Will the restructured bullpen be an improvement from last year? That’s to be determined, but don’t write this team off yet.