There continues to be a question of whether we cheer for individual players or just the uniforms they wear. When one of our favorite players leaves the team we cheer for, do we continue to follow them and wish them well? Bryce Harper accomplished great feats individually (2015 MVP) for the Washington Nationals then left. Michael A. Taylor accomplished great feats while a part of a team (2019 World Champions), then left.
One chose to walk away, signing on the dotted line for a lot of money. The other was pushed out the door in a way, being left without a contract. We want to cheer for Harper though. We’ve done so ever since the franchise drafted him number one overall in the 2010 draft. We want to cheer for Taylor though. We’ve done so ever since the baby faced outfielder broke into the majors back in 2014.
Harper plays for a division rival, leaving us hoping his individual success doesn’t come with team success. Taylor plays in a different league, and we couldn’t be happier for his excellent debut with the Kansas City Royals.
We can’t dislike Harper for leaving for the money. We’d have done the same for $330M. We can’t fault the Nationals for parting ways with Taylor, he was a .238 career hitter who had aged out of his prospect title.
We continue to ask “what if” when it comes to the Washington Nationals trade of Lucas Giolito for Adam Eaton.
What about in the case of Lucas Giolito? He didn’t leave on his own. He wasn’t non-tendered. He was traded. The organization for which the uniform he wore, and we love, sent him packing in hopes of returning a better piece of the puzzle. At the time that puzzle piece fit. It was convenient for both the team brass and its fans, alike. Giolito was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Adam Eaton.
When the Nationals won the 2019 World Series, no one was trying to send Eaton back. No one was wishing the trade which sent Giolito and others to the White Sox hadn’t taken place. What about now? After a 2020 season where the Nationals battled injuries and ineffectiveness to their pitching staff, while Giolito took on the title of “Ace”. Or after Giolito spun nine innings of hitless baseball against the Pittsburgh Pirates. What about when Eaton hit .226 and was injured most of the season. Do we wish we had Giolito back?
Of course, we do.
We can’t get him though. We can cheer for him without feeling guilty, however. Unlike Harper and Taylor, there is no money involved or thoughts the player shouldn’t be here because they can’t produce. Giolito was traded. We can feel upset with the team, but a World Series ring came out of that trade.
What if that trade never happened? Would the course of the 2019 Nationals team been the same? Would the trajectory of Giolito’s career been the same? We’ll never know the answers to those questions.
What we do know is we can cheer for Lucas Giolito without having the “what if” thought.