Washington Nationals: A personal year of lessons learned

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Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals /


My first experiences with the Mike Rizzo style came with disappointment.

The Nats were thought to have lowballed Mark Melancon on a contract extension. Wilson Ramos’ negotiations were slow until he tore an ACL on a rainy night at home. After boasting about turning aggressive in the Winter Meetings, the Nats failed to land Chris Sale or Andrew McCutchen. They paid a king’s ransom to the Chicago White Sox for Adam Eaton.

“He’s shrewd.” I heard from others all winter.

When Matt Wieters joined the Nats and when Greg Holland signed in Colorado on a vesting option, those same voices mentioned under-the-table deals that are master strokes of genius. Yeah, sure.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Adam Lind was a genius move. Grabbing Matt Albers off the discard pile was sensational. When given the flexibility to reshape the bullpen, trading for Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle and Brandon Kintzler were stealthy moves that cost little while solidifying the Nats biggest weakness.

Through a myriad of injuries that would wreck most clubs, trading for Howie Kendrick and running a constant shuttle to Syracuse kept this team going. How Washington has an 18-game lead is mind-boggling. Yet, here they are and Rizzo deserves the credit.