The Nats have been favorites to win the World Series for a couple of years now. Every season they adjust their roster enough to restore hope, and enough to help us forget about their previous post-season disappointments. This year the Nats acquired the hottest free agent on the market, Max Scherzer. The right-hander, along with his renowned agent Scott Boras, finalized the record breaking $210 million, seven-year contract– but that wasn’t the most shocking part of the deal. The contract goes on to explain that this multi-year deal will provide Scherzer with about $35 million a season for the next 14 years! If that doesn’t prove the commitment the Nats have in Scherzer, I don’t know what does.
Now the Nats’ pitching rotation is easily considered the most dominant, and intimidating in all of baseball. Scherzer, Strasburg and Zimmermann could all be considered number 1 on any other starting pitching rotation in the game. Just to prove how strong the rotation will be, Doug Fister, the number 4 seed, went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA in 2014. Not the typical stats you see from the number 4 pitcher.
If Scherzer can live up to all of the expectations, Strasburg can control the hiccups he experiences on the road(especially with the Braves), and Zimmermann, Fister and Gonzalez continue to prevail, the rotation will be as close to flawless as it can get (and let’s not forget their bullpen is one of the best in baseball as well). Everyone must be asking by now, how could a rotation like this possibly last, or be afforded? There are still talks of potential trades involving Zimmermann. Trading Zimmermann right now might not be a horrible idea. He is worth some serious value that we could use, and he will be facing free agency after the season anyways. Now with LaRoche gone, it feels like there is a big bat missing in the line-up as well. Ryan Zimmerman will be back to play first base this season, and with fingers crossed that he can remain healthy. As for the rest of the players, my bet is the most valuable player this season will be Anthony Rendon. Rendon never disappoints and always improves.
The Nats will definitely be focusing on hitting for this season, as it felt like they could barely hit the ball in their post-season appearances. However, the major concern is what is the team going to be like next season? Desmond, Span, Fister and Zimmermann are all facing free agency, which leaves Rizzo with a lot of important positions to fill. I really do have high hopes for the team this year, regardless of the changes. I believe they have it in them to go all the way. Rizzo will continue to make all the right decisions so they can finally reach the victory that has been within arm’s reach for so many years!