Washington Nationals: Learning From The Chicago Cubs
By Ron Juckett
HOW CLOSE ARE THEY?
The Washington Nationals are on the cusp of greatness. They have a plan and, mostly, are sticking to budgets, with prospects and veterans as they pile up the wins.
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There are two huge events that will play out through the 2017 season that will determine how close they are in catching the Cubs at their own game.
First is how much longer does Dusty Baker wish to manage and can he help take another division title. Respected by his players and fans, there is no reason to cut Baker’s tenure short, unless the wins stop. If he decides not to extend his contract, how they replace him is key.
If you are wondering, Joe Girardi’s contract with the New York Yankees is up after 2017.
The bigger question, however, is Bryce Harper’s future. With two years before he hits free agency, can the Nats budget for his demands. With a good 2017, Harper can demand a deal north of $35 million per year, and get it.
As with Strasburg, if Harper wants to stay, a deal can be worked out. If he Nats cannot afford him, how they move will tell you how serious they are on a long-term deal.
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The Cubs made a five-year plan, leaving little to chance. That is the right philosophy to copy, one the Washington Nationals are on course in following.