Entering 2021 the Nationals had high expectations, but COVID and unfortunate injuries derailed what could have been. Before the start of the season, 10 players were added to the COVID list including sluggers Kyle Schwarber and Josh Bell. Without the duo, the Nationals’ offense lacked production in the middle of the lineup.
Even when they returned, they struggled to get back up to speed. Stephen Strasburg and Will Harris battled injuries early on and both underwent season-ending surgery.
After an impressive June where the Nats went 19-9, they went 8-18 in July, effectively dropping them towards the bottom of the NL playoff standings. Mike Rizzo had an impossible decision to make and decided to blow up the roster. At the trade deadline, the Nats shipped out eight players including four from the World Series team.
For The First Time In A Decade, Washington Faces Uncertainty
Most notably, the Nationals traded away Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, two fan favorites who were still playing at the top of their game. Other World Series contributed shipped out include Daniel Hudson and Yan Gomes.
Trading away Scherzer was a mighty blow for the fanbase. For six and a half seasons, Mad Max was the Nationals rock, always coming through when needed and he repeatedly put his body on the line.
Now the Nationals are focused on the future, building around Juan Soto and revamping the once-barren farm system. 2022 marks the first time Washington enters as one of the worst teams in the league in over a decade.
In the stead of Scherzer, Turner, Daniel Hudson, Yan Gomes, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Josh Harrison, and Brad Hand are 12 prospects led by Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz. Both were top 100 prospects at the time of the trade and showed glimpses of what they can do down the stretch in D.C.
Life comes at you quickly and the Nationals rebuilding after winning the World Series two years prior may be a shock. But it was well overdue and allows for the Nats to reload and build for the future.