Washington Nationals: Plan to Make 2017 World Series
By Ron Juckett
PATIENCE WITH THE POWERS THAT BE
The Nationals made the playoffs with the combination of general manager Mike Rizzo and skipper Dusty Baker. Chris Speier is an able bench coach. Mike Maddux is a pitching genius. Davey Lopes is a steadying influence. Bob Henley should be more careful sending runners home.
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Add Rick Schu and his record setting offense and the Nationals have assembled a team of coaches and front office personnel that reward team play and winning. As seasons end earlier than anyone wants, there are calls for someone to be the proverbial scapegoat. If the season starts badly, those calls will grow louder.
Winning 95 games is not an accident. The relaxed atmosphere of the clubhouse, crucial to winning, comes from the tone set by Baker and his coaches. Assembling a championship team is Rizzo’s job.
In keeping Strasburg in the fold, recognizing Ben Revere and Papelbon were not working, and signing bench players such as Steven Drew and Chris Heisey, the Nationals have a formula that works.
When things get rough next year, as they will, the staff that can be trusted to make the right decisions is already there.
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Sure, there are teams that can catch fire, or a huge injury could derail a season at the wrong time, but the pieces are there to turn the Washington Nationals into a championship team next year.