Washington Nationals Off Season Report
- Updated: December 20, 2008
Season Wrap Up
One word describes the 2008 Washington Nationals record: abysmal. They lost 102 games! Granted, they had injuries to both first basemen (Johnson and Young) and most if not all of their outfielders (Wily Mo Pena, Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns and Elijah Dukes) at one time or another and 3B Zimmerman. Then they did the unthinkable and traded star RP Jon Rauch; hence, the 102 losses.
Holes to Fill
There aren’t many positions that are already spoken for on a team that loses 102 games, but they should be fine if healthy in the OF and the left side of the infield (SS and 3B). They will need help at catcher, 2B and in relief (especially at the closer role). If Nick Johnson isn’t healthy once again, then you can also add 1B to that mix, too.
The National go into this off season with only 3 free agents: 1B Aaron Boone (35), SP Odalis Perez (31) and SP Tim Redding whom they non-tendered (30). They are one of the few teams that are in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes along with the Angels, Orioles, Red Sox and Yankees. This would be a huge signing and add much needed skills to this team on both offense and defense. Aaron Boone signed a one year contract with the Astros back on the 18th, so he won’t be playing in D.C. next year.
Unfortunately, it will take a few years for them to truely be competitive in the NL East, but with the aquisitions of Olsen, Willingham and if they sign Teixeira, then they might excelerate expectations. Either way, they are moving in the right direction and with their new stadium in it’s second year of hosting the Nationals, they are poised to imrove upon their abysmal record of 102 losses from a season ago.
Off Season Moves Made So Far
This month they selected RHP Terrell Young from the Cincinnati Reds in the Rule 5 Draft and released RHP Jesus Colome who is still young enough and could have the type of year that could finally match the potential he has shown over the past few years. This release, like that of Tim Redding may come back to bite them.
In November, they acquired LHP Scott Olsen and OF Josh Willingham from the Marlins in exchange for INF Emilio Bonifacio, RHP P.J. Dean and INF Jake Smolinski. This is probably their best move they have made since the move to D.C. I expect Willingham to have a big year in D.C. especially if they land Teixeira and Olsen will be a huge factor in rebuilding a poor pitching staff and add some experience as well. If they can hit as a team and stay healthy, Olsen should win 15 games as their Ace.