Washington Nationals: Five potential pitfalls for 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Bryce Harper /
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Recently, I wrote about the possibility of age concerns limiting the Nationals’ success in 2018. Washington fielded one of the oldest rosters last year, and barring a surprise Victor Robles appearance on Opening Day, the team will be even older this season, even without Jayson Werth in the fold.

Now, the Nats are not loaded with aging, creaky veterans, so there shouldn’t be a full-fledged panic about being too long in the tooth. Reliever Ryan Madson (37) is the only player who will even be 34 on Opening Day.

Rather, the Nats have a roster filled with prime-age players between 28-32, without many young players to bring down the age average. Still, if we are playing the glass half-empty game, it will be something to watch. Older players are more likely to get hurt than younger guys, and it takes them longer to recover and return to form following injury.

We may already be seeing the effects of age on the 2018 roster. Daniel Murphy underwent microfracture knee surgery following the 2017 season, and while GM Mike Rizzo has said he will be ready for Opening Day, Murphy was still on crutches and refused to put a timeline on his rehab at last month’s winter interview session.

There seems to be a very real chance he misses the start of the season, and it would not be surprising if Murphy is a diminished player for much of 2018. Not an ideal start for the Nats.