Friday, March 15, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days: Washington Nationals

Key Additions: 
Denard Span (trade with MIN)
Dan Haren (1 year, $13M)
Ross Ohlendorf (Minor League Contract)
A.J. Cole (Trade with OAK)
Rafael Soriano (2 years, $28M)
Chris Snyder (Minor League Contract)
Micah Owings (Minor League Contract)
Will Rhymes (Minor League Contract)

Key Subtractions: 
Alex Meyer (trade with MIN)
Mark DeRosa (1 year, $750k with TOR)
Tom Gorzelanny (2 years, $5.7M with MIL)
Sean Burnett (2 years, $8M with LAA)
John Lannan (1 year, $2.5M with PHI)
Edwin Jackson (4 years, $52M with CHC)
Michael Gonzalez (1 year, $2.25M with MIL)
Michael Morse (trade with SEA)

New guy that will help the most: 

The Nats added a number of valuable pieces this offseason, filling each of their needs, making them quite possibly the favourite to win the 2013 World Series. The one guy that stands out to me is Denard Span. I like the deal because it finally gives them a legitimate center-fielder. It also allows Mr. Super Stud himself, Bryce Harper, to move to left field, where he is probably best-suited. Span will steal upwards of 15 bases, get on base a ton at the top of this potent lineup, and play some very respectable defense. What more could you ask for?

Spring Training Battles

Everything appears to be set in Washington, barring any injuries. This entire team is filled with talent. No Spring Battles to see here. With that being said, Kurt Suzuki has been given the catcher job, but at some point this season, you will probably see Wilson Ramos win it back, and rightfully so.

Questions heading into the season: 

We know the Nats have what it takes to win the NL East, but will they defeat the Braves for the title? 

This battle is going to be fun. All around the diamond, both of these teams are stacked, with powerful lineups, unhittable rotations, and shutdown bullpens. I would have to give the statistical edge to the Nationals, especially with an inevitable breakout year from Bryce Harper, but it's extremely close. The Braves are definitely see the advantage of winning a division, especially because of what happened to them in last year's one-game playoff. All we can do is sit back and watch 2 of the best teams in baseball battle it out, it's going to be extremely exciting.

Prospect who should have the most impact in 2013: 

There really isn't one guy who'll help out greatly this year. The roster is filled with proven MLB players, with not much room for prospects. The one guy I could see contributing is Anthony Rendon. The Nats appear to be trying him at shortstop in Spring Training, but he can play 3rd and 2nd base as well. Likelihood is, at some point, either Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, or Danny Espinosa will get injured, and he should be the guy to step in. Rendon has battled injuries in the past, (only 358 minor league plate appearances) but he's tearing up MLB pitching this spring, making many optimistic for what the future holds.

Projected Roster (via 

Projected 'Go-To' Starting Lineup 
1 CF Denard Span*
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper 
4 3B Ryan Zimmerman
5 1B Adam LaRoche* 
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa**
C Kurt Suzuki

Projected Bench 
C Wilson Ramos
1B/3B Chad Tracy*
1B/OF Tyler Moore   
IF/OF Steve Lombardozzi**  
OF Roger Bernadina 

Projected Starting Rotation 
1 RHP Stephen Strasburg
LHP Gio Gonzalez
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
RHP Dan Haren
5 LHP Ross Detwiler 

Projected Bullpen 
CL RHP Rafael Soriano
SU RHP Drew Storen 
SU RHP Tyler Clippard
MID RHP Ryan Mattheus
MID RHP Henry Rodriguez
MID LHP Zach Duke
LR RHP Craig Stammen

Projected 2013 Record: 95-67 (1st NL East)

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