For context, I chose not to include any Montreal Expos players in this article as I wanted it to be a true reflection of the talent and greatness that I have had the privilege of watching over my short 23 years of life on this earth, and the Expos were just before my time. In this article, I will organize it by the players' true position and include honorable mentions as well. I made these selections based on overall performance and fit on this team, and duration with the club was also taken into account, as you will see with some of the honorable mentions who are not starting. Please feel free to debate me in the comments or on X @blehmann24.
Manager: Davey Johnson
One of the hardest decisions of this entire blog was deciding who would manage this hypothetical team. Ultimately, the decision to not choose Davey Martinez as the manager of this team was a hard one, as he led the franchise to the first World Series title in its history, but ultimately it was Davey Johnson who got the nod for me. Johnson accumulated a 224-183 record, good for a .550 winning percentage as the team's skipper, and was able to coax some players who peaked during their time under Johnson's lead, such as Gio Gonzalez, Michael Morse, Danny Espinosa, and Adam LaRoche. His attitude and knack for reviving franchises that needed a lift narrowly gets Johnson the nod over Martinez, whose .451 winning percentage can't be ignored in this scenario.
Honorable Mention: Davey Martinez, Dusty Baker
Catcher - Wilson Ramos
The first choice for the All-Time Washington Nationals team is none other than Wilson Ramos. "The Buffalo" was a fan favorite during his 7-year tenure with the team that included many highs and lows. The highs included an All-Star appearance and Silver Slugger award in 2016, and catching the no-hitters of Jordan Zimmermann and Max Scherzer (twice). The lows included a torn ACL that same year which prematurely ended his Nationals' tenure, and an incident in 2011 where he was kidnapped at gunpoint in his home country of Venezuela. Nonetheless, Ramos' .268/.313/.430 and .743 OPS is too much to ignore, and he's the first selection for this squad.
Honorable Mentions: Kurt Suzuki, Ivan Rodriguez
First Base - Ryan Zimmerman
Did you really think he wouldn't make this team? The most obvious inclusion on this entire list is none other than the first ever draft pick in Nats history and Mr. National himself: Ryan Zimmerman.
Due to injuries that constantly Zim's career, I decided to place him at 1B in this hypothetical team in an effort to prolong his career.
The lifetime National thrilled fans with a large plethora of memories, from the walk-off hits to stellar defense at the hot corner for many years to hitting the first home run for the Nats in Game 1 of the 2019 World Series, there is a reason his number 11 will never be worn again in the history of this franchise. Zim's career numbers with the club include .277/.341/.475 splits with a career .816 OPS, as well as 284 home runs and 1,061 RBIs.
Honorable Mentions: Adam LaRoche, Nick Johnson, Josh Bell
Second Base - Daniel Murphy
The selection for the keystone of this team is undoubtedly Daniel Murphy. During his short 2.5 years in the Nation's Capital, Murphy made sure to make a massive impact on the lineup. Murphy made an All-Star team and took home two Silver Slugger awards in both of his first two full seasons, and finished second in 2016 NL MVP voting behind Kris Bryant. In his total tenure with the team, Murphy owned splits of .329/.380/.550, good for a fantastic .930 OPS, and the choice over longtime stalwart and underrated power threat in Danny Espinosa for this team.
Honorable Mentions: Danny Espinosa, Jose Vidro
Third Base - Anthony Rendon
Despite recent reports that Rendon may genuinely dislike the game of baseball, the now Angels third baseman is the choice for the hot corner on the All-Time Nats team. As the 6th overall pick out of Rice University back in 2011, Rendon quickly rose through the minors and received his call-up to the show in 2013, where he played second base primarily during his rookie season. After Ryan Zimmerman's shoulder troubles, Rendon took over as the team's primary third baseman in 2016, and he quickly became one of the most underrated players in baseball while manning the hot corner. "Tony Two Bags" quickly became a fan favorite and peaked in 2019 when he finished third in NL MVP voting and was an All-Star for the first time in his career, and won his second Silver Slugger. He did all of this while slashing .319/.412/.598, good for an absurd 1.010 OPS, going along with a career-high 34 Home Runs and 126 RBI's. After the team's run in 2019 and a 7-year tenure with the club, Rendon left in free agency for the Angels beginning in 2020, but he makes this team regardless as the third baseman.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Zimmerman
Shortstop - Trea Turner
The speedy shortstop and Anthony Rendon's favorite player Trea Turner is the selection here over longtime shortstop and former fan favorite, Ian Desmond. His eventual departure to the Los Angeles Dodgers via trade in 2021 was a hard one to stomach for most fans, myself included, as there was a sense that he could be a piece of the rebuild moving towards the future of the Nationals. In a sense the Nationals watched him grow up here, as by the time he was dealt he was beginning to make a legitimate claim as the best shortstop in baseball. In his almost 7 years with the big league club, Turner had a slash line of .300/.356/.486, good enough for an .842 OPS. These numbers, paired with 192 stolen bases in 229 tries, tying the MLB record for most cycles in a career with 3, and countless other memories helped make Turner the choice for the Shortstop on this team.
Honorable Mention: Ian Desmond, Cristian Guzman
Left Field - Juan Soto
Juan Soto is the Left Fielder for an outfield that is absolutely stacked on this all-time roster. With all due respect to Alfonso Soriano, whose lone season on the Nats was one of the better individual season in team history, there is no doubt that the man for this spot is Juan Soto. Signed out of the Dominican Republic at just 16 years old, Juan Soto became what Victor Robles was supposed to be. Whether it was drawing comparisons to Ted Williams at just 19 years old, or being the youngest player ever to his a home run in the Fall Classic, Juan Soto seemed like a superhero during his time with the organization. His infectious energy and overall passion for the sport in general is unmatched by few in the MLB today.
On top of all this, his career numbers in DC include .291/.427/.524 splits, good for a .946 OPS, combined with a second-place finish in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, 3 Silver Slugger awards, and 3 top ten MVP finishes, including 2 in the top 5 and second in 2021. Soto forever became a Nats legend when he sent a line drive to right field in the 2019 Wild Card Game against the Brewers, and will go down as possibly the biggest "What if" in team history after he was traded to the Padres in 2022.
Honorable Mention: Alfonso Soriano
Center Field - Denard Span
One of the most underrated players in team history, Denard Span is my choice to be the starting center fielder on this squad. During his 3-year run with the Nats, Span accumulated .292/.345/.404 splits, good for a .749 OPS, while helping to steady the lineup from the top with above-average defense in center field and being towards the top of the league in stolen bases every year. Span also set and tied two Nats record in 2014, both previously held by Cristian Guzman: the most multihit games in a season with 58, and broke Guzman's for the most hits in a single season in team history with 184. The speedy and consistent Span makes the team to slide into the top of the lineup here in Center Field.
Honorable Mention: Victor Robles (solely based on longevity)
Right Field - Bryce Harper
Love him or hate him, Bryce Harper is the easy choice for the final outfield spot on this hypothetical team. While his ultimate move to the Philadelphia Phillies left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans, Harper's presence in the lineup and impact on this franchise during his time in DC can't be understated. The 2015 NL MVP and arguably the most hyped-up player in MLB history, Harper was always known for his fiery personality and flair for the dramatic. Although he wasn't present for the team's 2019 title run, there is no doubt that he helped put the Nationals on the map, and is the choice as the team's final outfielder in this scenario.
Honorable Mention: Adam Eaton
Designated Hitter - Jayson Werth
Owner of the most iconic hit in Nats history that wasn't hit by Howie Kendrick, Jayson Werth makes the team as the DH. Back in 2010 when the franchise handed out the massive 7 year/$126M contract to Werth, many people considered it an overpay and wondered what kind of true impact it would make on the franchise. While the numbers weren't fantastic on the surface, the true influence Werth had on the team was monumental. He is often credited with helping to change the culture and mindset of the organization, as he brought invaluable experience and World Series experience with him to the Nationals from the Phillies, and served as a mentor to many younger players on the team, most notably Bryce Harper. Since Werth was never known for having the strongest outfield arm in the world, he slides into the lineup here as the Designated Hitter, in an effort to preserve his legs.
Honorable Mention: Michael Morse
UTIL: Howie Kendrick
The MVP of the 2019 NLCS and the owner of possibly the two most iconic hits in team history, Howie Kendrick had to make this team some capacity. In this case, he does it doing the way he always did during his tenure with the Nats, playing where he was needed. During Kendrick's time with the team, he logged multiple games at first base, second base, third base, left field, right field, and DH, where he started Game 7 and went "Bang Zoom" off the foul pole in right field to give the Nats a lead they would never surrender en route to their first ever World Series title. Kendrick makes the team here as the super utility player.
Starting Rotation - 1. Max Scherzer 2. Stephen Strasburg 3. Gio Gonzalez 4. Jordan Zimmermann 5. Livan Hernandez
The starting rotation is really where this team might be the strongest, as in their peaks with the club, even the honorable mentions were very good MLB starters.
To kick things off, Scherzer, arguably the greatest free agent signing in the history of professional sports, will likely be the first ever player to go into Cooperstown with a Curly W on their hat. "Mad Max" thrilled fans each and every single time he took the mound, and his ring in 2019 was the cherry on top of an overwhelmingly successful tenure with the franchise. With 2 Cy Young awards, 2 no-hitters, and a 6-time All-Star during his 6.5 years with the team, Scherzer gets the nod as the ace of this hypothetical team.
Maybe the most hyped up MLB debut in league history, Stephen Strasburg, the team's #1 overall pick in 2009 and 2019 World Series MVP, is 1B to Scherzer's 1A on this team. Strasburg's career was ultimately derailed by injuries, or else he likely would have been a surefire Hall-of-Famer. With the rest of his career in doubt, it's best to look back fondly upon Strasburg's time with the franchise, and undoubtedly his number 37 will never be worn again in team history.
While the other 3 members of the rotation are no slouches themselves, I couldn't give each of them their own paragraph for the sake of the length of this article. Zimmermann, Gonzalez, and Hernandez each enjoyed immense success in DC, and Zimmermann owns the first ever no-hitter in team history. Gonzalez experienced a career breakout in Washington, including a 21 win season in 2012, helping to lead the Nats to their first ever postseason appearance. Hernandez, one who had multiple stints with the club, was a good pitcher on some very bad Nationals teams, and stands as the lone member of this team who made Expos appearance as well.
Honorable Mentions: Patrick Corbin, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark, John Lannan
Bullpen - RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Sean Doolittle, RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Drew Storen, RHP Chad Cordero, LHP Sean Burnett, RHP Craig Stammen, RHP Rafael Soriano
For the bullpen, this was the hardest part of this entire article, as the Nats have never had a Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman type of dominant reliever who would be feared around the league coming out of the bullpen. Instead, throughout the entirety of the team's history it seems, the Nats have relied on making it work, with many guys who weren't super sought after making bigger impacts than expected.
Chad Cordero would likely be the closer of this team, as he is the Nats' all-time leader in saves. Behind him would be Tyler Clippard, who at his peak was one of the best setup guys in baseball, and an All-Star caliber reliever. I also included Drew Storen, who, despite his playoff meltdowns, was a very good closer in the regular season. The left-handed Sean's of Doolittle and Burnett make the team as reliable but injury-prone relievers who offer a bit of variety to this bullpen. Rafael Soriano and Craig Stammen make the team as well, and while it seemed like it was never easy whenever Soriano came in to close a game in the 9th, his presence in this bullpen would be a steadying influence. Last but certainly not least, Daniel Hudson makes the team as well, as he picked up the first save in Nats World Series history, and his iconic glove throw after striking out Michael Brantley for the final out in 2019 is an image that every Nationals fan can look back on fondly.
Honorable Mentions: RHP Ryan Mattheus, RHP Todd Coffey, RHP Matt Albers
1. CF Denard Span (L)
2. SS Trea Turner (R)
3. RF Bryce Harper (L)
4. LF Juan Soto (L)
5. 3B Anthony Rendon (R)
6. 1B Ryan Zimmerman (R)
7. 2B Daniel Murphy (L)
8. DH Jayson Werth (R)
9. C Wilson Ramos (R)
SP: RHP Max Scherzer
Again, this team was made up of my personal selections, feel free to debate me in the comments or on X @blehmann24.
All stats in this article provided by Baseball Reference.