While the Nationals had a strong core from 2012-2019, there were plenty of teams before 2012 that featured a revolving door of positions. With many iterations of teams over the years prior to their first postseason appearance, it is easy to lose track of all the faces to have worn a Nationals uniform. No one remains from the original 2005 Nationals squad and only a few remain from the 2019 World Series team. Here are three Nationals players that you forgot about.
Chad Cordero - RHP
Chad Cordero debuted for the Montreal Expos in 2003 and was one of the few who remained with the team through the move to Washington. He played for the Nationals from 2005 to 2008 racking up the first save in National’s history. His 2005 season was his best, earning an all-star appearance while also winning reliever of the year honors. He ended the season with 47 saves, leading the majors. Cordero fell off in the following seasons with injury and dealing with family health issues. After having surgery in 2008, Cordero was non-tendered and last appeared in the majors with the Mariners in 2010. Cordero is considered by many to be one of the most dominant closers in his short run with the Nationals. Cordero had 128 saves in his major league career.
Josh Willingham - OF
Josh Willingham only played for the Nationals for two seasons in 2009 and 2010 but left fans with some memorable moments. In July of 2009 Willingham became the 13th player in MLB history to hit two grand slams in one game and he accomplished this feat in back-to-back innings. Josh hit 40 homers in his two seasons in Washington and was traded to the Athletics before bouncing around to several other teams with his last year being in 2014.
Elijah Dukes - OF
Elijah Dukes was a player who had a ton of potential but never got things going. Dukes debuted for the Rays in 2007 and played for the Nationals in 2008 and 2009. Dukes was seen as a potential power threat but struggled with some concerning on and off the field issues, such as choking his coach in the minor leagues and unpaid child support, and was also said to “weird out” his teammates. When Dukes was traded to Washington, the team actually hired an ex-police officer and put him in a special role to accompany Dukes wherever he went. Elijah Dukes is regarded as one of the biggest busts of the Nationals' early years especially considering that the Nats traded Glenn Gibson, one of their top 10 prospects at the time, to acquire Dukes.