It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done this post, so this is probably a good time to dust it off while we’re in a lull.
Yesterday, WaPo’s best sports columnist wrote about the need to find a star. I’m not sure I agree with that per se because winning is what makes a player a star.
Barry Svrugla (if you didn’t click through before and thought “Tom Boswell” – hey you made it out of the MASN comments!) correctly identfies the usual suspects: Dylan Crews, James Wood, and Brady House. Aside from making the comp of Keibert Ruiz to Wilson Ramos—which is like equating Davey Johnson to Davey Martinez—I think he’s right in that the rebuild is probably going to take another year or two.
The core of Josiah Gray, MacKenzie Gore, Cade Cavalli, and Jackson Rutledge is not bad. But if we’re being truly honest, this a group of 3’s and 4’s that might become a No. 2 pitcher on a contending team.
Unless Washington gets the mound equivalent of a Juan Soto, the Nats are going to have to trade for more pitching or (*gasp*) sign a top-tier free agent to get their next 1-2 punch. I think it’s too much to ask or wish for Cavalli and Rutledge to become the next Strasburg/Zimmermann, given how much older they are than their counterparts at the same stage of development.
That brings us to what I would hope to be the less-bad news: With a fair amount of promising position players on the horizon, particularly in the outfield, that may actually be possible. (Note the double qualifier).
Still, I’d feel much more confident if Washington had some pitchers worth trading with instead of for: The two key trades Rizzo made in building the World Series beast – for Gio Gonzalez in 2011 and Adam Eaton in 2016 – involved six pitchers.