Former GM Jim Bowden calls Nationals World Series contender
After a very busy offseason, former general manager Jim Bowden believes the Washington Nationals may be a World Series contender.
In a piece published February 4th, or prior to the Trevor Bauer signing in Los Angeles and Marcell Ozuna signing by the Atlanta Braves, Jim Bowden of The Athletic called the Nationals a World Series contender. While those two moves do have a direct impact on the Nationals, I agree with Bowden’s assessment and feel the team from DC has as good as shot as the next team at making a run in the postseason.
As we saw in 2019, all a team needs is to get hot at the right time. This happens almost every year in fact. Does the best baseball team on paper win the World Series every year? They do not. This is why they play the games.
Bottom of the eighth inning, down 3-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers with Josh Hader pitching. Top of the eighth inning, down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw pitching. Top of the seventh inning, down 2-0 to the Houston Astros with Zack Greinke pitching. We know how those games ended.
After failing to replace the offensive production when Anthony Rendon departed after the 2019 season, the Nationals addressed the need for more power bats this offseason. Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber are looking to rebound after down years last season and provide the type of offense the Nationals sorely missed in 2020. Championships are won with pitching, and a healthy Nationals rotation is one of the best in the league. Bowden had this to say about the Nats starters:
"The Nationals also improved the back of the rotation with Jon Lester. Lester, 37, might be on the decline but can still give five solid innings and his championship makeup will permeate the clubhouse. Adding him to the mix with Scherzer, a hopefully healthy Strasburg and Corbin and the Nats’ rotation should be good enough to get them back to the playoffs, either as division champs or with a wild-card berth."
With the National League East arguably the most competitive division in all of baseball, getting to the postseason will not be an easy task. Like Bowden mentions, the Nationals can sneak in with a wild-card berth. This was the route the Nats took in 2019 on the way to winning the World Series. A seat at the table, that’s all a team needs.
A healthy pitching staff, a reliable bullpen, and an added flash of power in the lineup, I too believe this team can compete this year.