As you may have heard some time in the past few weeks, the Washington Nationals and Bryce harper have officially parted ways. As such, fans are split between being pessimistic about a future without the superstar who they thought would have stayed in the capitol for his career, while the other side of the fans remain optimistic about the future of the club as talent continues to be developed at an immensely high level. Here’s why Nats’ fans should not be split, but rather why they should all be optimistic, even in a future without Harper.
Because Harper rejected the National’s initial offer of a 10 year/$300 million contract, they were able to afford the acquisition of multiple free agents who may not be superstars at their particular position but who fill all weaknesses in their entire roster. When an organization goes out and fills just about every weakness, you can be assured that they are in a win-now mentality despite their apparent lack of such mentality by not offering Harper a larger contract.
By signing left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin, the nationals have solidified themselves as having one of the best starting rotations in the Majors. Corbin, while he will only be a second or third starter in the rotation, his performance last season with the Diamondbacks was good enough to make him an ace on just about every Major League team. He finished the season with a 3.15 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while compiling a grand strikeout total of 246, giving up only 48 base on balls. As we have seen in recent years from teams present in the playoffs and the World Series, it appears that a dominant starting rotation is at the center of each team contending for the title.
Not only do you see a dominant starting rotation at the center of each of these teams, but you also see teams that are deep in every position. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have one of the best players in the league at every position, but simply that there is only one or no position on the field that costs the team games over the course of a season.
By signing Brian Dozier, a career .246/.324/.444 hitter. the Nationals have filled the glaring hole at second base. By signing Kurt Suzuki and acquiring Yan Gomes via a trade with the Indians, the Nationals have filled the glaring hole not only on the defensive side of the catching position but also on the offensive side. And by signing right-handed reliever, and once a top-caliber closer, Trevor Rosenthal and Tony Sipp, the Nationals expect to have a deeper bullpen that can shut out opponents after a top-tier rotation.
Not only does the signing of experienced and established Major Leaguers prove to be a good sign for the organization, but the Nationals have also developed some of the best prospects who are have the potential to be future superstars. We only need to look back to last year where rookie 19-year old Juan Soto slashed .292/.406/.517 to see that the outfield of the Nationals still has a bright future. And only one year after Soto’s emergence, it’s expected that Victor Robles will emerge as one of the game’s elite outfielders, replacing Harper. And it’s not difficult to see that happening. Despite it being only spring training, Robles is slashing a whopping .362/.475/.574.
The future remains bright for the Nationals, so expect this combination of experienced veterans and rising superstars to be a lethal one that can lead the Nationals to the playoffs and beyond.