It is a Wednesday edition of our weekly Q&A here at District on Deck. The Nationals made a splash yesterday by signing 1B/OF Dominic Smith to a one year deal. Maybe not the splashiest move, but it at least made ripples in the water, and it did answer at least some of the questions we had, But of course there are still plenty questions that remain. It’s a new year, hopefully new Nats, and new Washington Nationals questions.
“Can we expect any more moves after the Dom Smith pick up or are we done?” – @Kiebomb19
As far as starting players, whether it be positionally or a part of the staff, I believe the Nationals are done. I still could see them signing or trading for a guy with positional versatility, like a Josh Harrison, to backup multiple positions, but they could opt to go with Ildemaro Vargas in that role as well. I could also see them acquiring a backup catcher, as Riley Adams really struggled last season in that role and Israel Pineda might not be ready.
So as it stands:
C – Keibert Ruiz
1B – Dominic Smith
2B – Luis Garcia
3B – Jeimer Candelario
SS – CJ Abrams
LF – Lane Thomas
CF – Victor Robles
RF – Joey Meneses
Be – Ildermaro Vargas
Be – Alex Call
Be – Stone Garrett
Be – Riley Adams/Israel Pineda/Free Agent
You could obviously shuffle this around to create a different lineup as well. Joey Meneses is not a great outfielder, but it seems as though Dom Smith was signed to play first base, so do Smith and Meneses split 1B and DH duties, with Alex Call in the outfield? Or do they use the DH spot as a sort of “off day” to rotate guys in and out for rest?
Stone Garrett is probably the only “roster bubble” guy here, but I expect him to make the Opening Day roster due to his upside. There will probably be a fifth bench bat too, likely filled by someone on a Minor League Deal.
SP – Patrick Corbin
SP – Josiah Gray
SP – Trevor Williams
SP – MacKenzie Gore
SP – Cade Cavalli
RP – Kyle Finnegan
RP – Carl Edwards Jr.
RP – Mason Thompson
RP – Erasmo Ramirez
RP – Thad Ward
RP – Paolo Espino
RP – Andres Machado / Hunter Harvey
RP – Jordan Weems? Sean Doolittle?
Yes, I know. Seeing Patrick Corbin in that “Ace” spot is disheartening. There’s been a lot of calls for him to move to the bullpen.
That won’t happen.
Corbin’s AAV basically dictates that he needs to be a starter. It’s unfortunately the only way the Nationals could possible recoup some of the value. Plus, the team is not necessarily a contender, so they can give him all the time in the world to try and right the ship.
The bullpen is a bit of a pick ’em, but I do expect Finnegan, Edwards Jr., Thompson, Ramirez and Espino to be a part of the ‘pen. I’d expect Thad Ward to be there as well since the Nationals selected him first overall in the Rule 5 Draft. That likely leaves 2 slots. They need to have a lefty, so you figure it is Weems or Doolittle since they’re the only Left-Handed relievers available. And that last spot is likely taken by Andres Machado or Hunter Harvey, both of which were sent down to AAA last season. Tanner Rainey is likely to miss the entire 2023 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“Can Nats retire the new unis & RWB cap dome hats? Love the hats but not the white front paneling; & much prefer the classic red or navy curly W & curly W on left chest. Script Nationals on white look like create a team unis. Script Nats on Navy are iconic since ‘19 WS” – @KOB76
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Remember that when I say what I am about to say.
The curly W needs to be retired. A modernized version of the interlocking DC logo from when the team first moved to DC would be so much better, especially on hats. And do not touch my script jerseys! I love that they’re phasing out the Curly W jerseys because the script looks so much better. With the White Script, the Navy Script (which they need to wear more), and the Red Curly W, I think it’s a perfect balance. Also, the Red, White and Blue Capitol Hats are terrible. Never wear those again.
“When the Nats win the NL East in 2023, will it be the greatest underdog story in sport history?” – @VALambeauLeaper
The Major League Baseball season is designed to weed out the pretenders. You are not able to luck you way into the playoffs in baseball with 162 games on the schedule. It is grueling and a grind like no other. So if the Nationals, by some divine intervention, win the NL East, let alone make the playoffs, yes, it would be the greatest underdog story in sport history.