Who left the Nats to join a division rival?
Last week, we went over five players that left a divisional rival to come to D.C. This time we will be going over the opposite. Who left D.C. to go to the dark side? Baseball is a business and leaving your team in free agency is just a part of the game. However, sometimes it hurts when a player that was groomed by your team leaves for a rival. Here are five players that left D.C. to go elsewhere in the NL East.
From 2012-2018, Bryce Harper was the face of the Nationals franchise. Drafted number one overall in 2010, Harper was one of the most hyped prospects in recent years. He won NL Rookie of the year in 2012 and was a big part of the Nats winning the division title for the first time since moving from Montreal. In 2015, he was the first National to win NL MVP (which he did unanimously).
Harper was a part of the Nationals core that won four division titles in six years (2012, 2014, 2016, 2017). He stacked up the accolades while in D.C., as he was named to six All-Star teams. In seven seasons with the Nats, Harper hit .279, with 184 homers, 521 walks, and an OPS of .900. He also accumulated a WAR of 27.3.
However, his exit from D.C. was a bit messy. After turning down a ten-year deal from Washington worth $300 million, Harper signed with the rival Philadelphia Phillies on a 13-year deal worth $330 million. In his first game back in D.C., Harper was welcomed by a chorus of boos. He responded by going 3-5, with a homer, and three RBI’s. The former face of the franchise will now face the Nats 19 times a year.
Wilson Ramos was brought over to D.C. as a prospect in a 2010 trade that sent closer Matt Capps to the Twins. Ramos broke onto the scene and became the teams starting catcher till he left after the 2016 season. Ramos provided stability behind the plate and improved his offense every year. In 2016, he was named to his first All-Star team, as he hit a career-high .307, with 22 homers, and 80 RBIs. Unfortunately in the last week of the season, he tore his ACL.
After the 2016 season, Ramos signed with the Tampa Bay Rays and played there for a year and a half. He was shipped out to the Phillies right before the 2018 trade deadline. After the season finished, he became a free agent and signed a two-year deal with the New York Mets. Ramos is no longer reliable behind the plate, but can still produce offensively. In his return trips to the Nations’s capital, he is always given a warm welcome by the fans.
Many might not remember John Lannan, because he was apart of the dark times. In his six seasons with the club (2007-2012), the Nationals had a losing record in five of those years. Lannan was a key member of the Nationals rotation, as he was an inning eater. He threw 180 or more innings in three of the six seasons with the team. Keep in mind he only made six starts in 2007 and 2012 respectively.
In his six seasons with the team, Lannan went 42-52, with a 4.01 ERA, and 410 strikeouts. He was never the ace but, could be leaned on in a pinch. At times, he was hurt by a lack of run support. In 2012, he was beaten out of the rotation and spent the majority of the season in the minors. After the season ended, he was non-tendered by the team. Lannan then played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013 and New York Mets in 2014.
Lannan battled injuries while with the Phillies, and showed he was nearing the end of his career. After a promising start with the Nats, Lannan faltered down the stretch. He will always be remembered for his effort during the Nats dark ages.
Drafted by the New York Yankees in 2003, Tyler Clippard made his MLB debut with them in 2007. Two years later, he was traded to the Nats where he became a vital part of the bullpen. The righty went on to play seven seasons for Washington and was arguably the best reliever to ever play for the Nationals. Clippard was mainly used as the setup guy, but he occasionally spent time in the closer role. He teamed up with Drew Storen to form a dangerous one-two duo that was as reliable as they come. Since Clippard’s departure after the 2014 season, the Nas bullpen has been inconsistent. In his seven seasons with the team, Clippard went 34-24, with a 2.68 ERA, and 530 strikeouts. Of his 15.1 career WAR, 10.1 of it came with the Nats.
Before the start of the 2015 season, Washington shipped out Clippard to Oakland. Leading up to the 2015 trade deadline, the New York Mets acquired Clippard in order to bolster their bullpen. And just like that, Clippard was back in the division. Clippard and the New York Mets went on to dethrone the Nats and win the NL East.
Brian Schneider was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1995 and was with the team when they moved to Washington D.C. From 2000-2007, Schneider was the team’s starting catcher. In his eight years with the Expos and Nats, Schneider hit .252, with 47 homers, and 294 RBIs.
With Montreal/Washington, Schneider wasn’t known for his offense, as he only posted a wRC+ above 100 once (2001, 116). However, he was reliable on the defensive end. From 2003-2005, he threw out 43.5% of base runners, the most in that span. In his eight years as the franchises catcher, he had a dWAR of 6.6.
After the 2007 season, Schneider was traded to the New York Mets, where he played for two seasons. He ended his career by playing three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. His production dropped off considerably after being traded. While Schneider wasn’t the best catcher to play for the Nats, he was the first and it was a sad day when he was shipped out.