Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, August 18, 2014

WaPo, Boswell: Nationals’ success during stars’ down years shows team will contend for years to come

All fans want a team that might, somehow, win a World Series. But there is another baseball gift to a city, one that keeps giving cumulative pleasure, that competes with titles in its satisfaction. It’s the kind of sustainability that provides winning or contending teams for a decade, or in a few lucky cases, 20 years or more. Such marvels don’t just appear in New York or Los Angeles. Fans in St. Louis, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Oakland, Baltimore and others can tell about it, even if some have to think back a bit.

Could that be happening in D.C.? In a sense, it’s a more controllable dream than talking about crowns which, in baseball, sometimes fall on your head in October as much as you place them there yourself. Data point: Entering Sunday, over the last three years the Nationals have the second-best winning percentage in baseball, behind Oakland and slightly ahead of the Braves, Cards and Dodgers. That D.C., the sport’s unwanted relative for so long, is in such a position may qualify as “delicious irony.”

What’s coming into focus is that the Nats’ organization, from smart drafting and player development through judicious trades and free agent signings, looks better than the Nats’ star power.

Just who are these guys not named Harper or Strasburg or Zimmerman (one “n”)? (You clearly haven’t been paying enough attention.)

TerpNats Posted: August 18, 2014 at 01:48 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 18, 2014 at 09:41 PM (#4774152)
Now they added Schierholz, so dynasty.
   2. McCoy Posted: August 18, 2014 at 10:01 PM (#4774173)
As a Cubs fan I know a little bit about this. It helps to have incompetent teams as your divisional opponents.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4774190)
Who are they going to sit down for the playoffs this year?
   4. McCoy Posted: August 18, 2014 at 11:36 PM (#4774233)
Bryce Harper.
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 19, 2014 at 12:34 AM (#4774253)
Now they added Schierholz,


Wait for it....

The final piece!
   6. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: August 19, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4774317)
I don't know. I guarantee you that three years ago, almost every Phillies fan thought that they would be on top of the world for years and years to come. We all know what happened: they fell apart practically overnight, and now they're a bunch of hopeless, washed up old has-beens who are unfathomably putting off their inevitable rebuilding in the forlorn hopes of a last hurrah that isn't coming.

Dynasties are extremely rare, and windows almost never last as long as people want to believe. Some key members of the team like Zimmerman, Werth, and LaRoche are getting old fast, and there's no guarantee we're going to be able to keep all our really good young players long term. The window to win is right now.
   7. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4774358)
The Phillies won 5 straight division titles, went to the World Series two times, and won a world championship. That's about as good as you can hope for these days because of the fact that teams can now afford to pay their own stars for the most part.

The Nationals would be lucky to have a run as good. Really any team would.
   8. Greg K Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4774419)
I don't know, in 2011 the Phillies core (Howard, Utley, Rollins) were in their early 30s, and Utley in the middle of his second straight injury plagued year. I think reasonable hopes could have been pinned on Halladay, Hamels, Lee and Oswalt giving you some more years, but in 2011 the Phillies looked a lot like a team that was at the tail end of their run. There didn't seem to be much in the way of young talent coming up, and even the secondary help (Ruiz and Victorino) were past 30.

The Nationals are a bit all over the place in that guys like Werth and LaRoche are likely in the winding down phase of their careers (not sure you can expect them to play as well in the future as they are playing now). Ryan Zimmerman is young enough on paper but looks like he's heading to an Eric Chavez type career. If not quite as good as Philadelphia's All-Star rotation, the Nats pitchers are younger (which may not mean that much when it comes to pitchers) and pretty good themselves. The key difference is probably that the Nationals at least have Harper and Rendon, and support guys like Desmond and Ramos (though big health question I think) are young enough that if this current iteration of the Nats falls apart in 2015 you have something to build with and could get back on the horse quickly. The danger of the 2011 Phillies is that there was no visible future there.

All that said, now is no time to bank on the future, go win.

EDIT: I was a bit ambiguous there, didn't mean to argue against the Phillies having a good run, they certainly did.
   9. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:06 AM (#4774431)
The Phillies won 5 straight division titles, went to the World Series two times, and won a world championship. That's about as good as you can hope for these days because of the fact that teams can now afford to pay their own stars for the most part.

The Nationals would be lucky to have a run as good. Really any team would.


I completely agree with this, and yet almost every Phillies fan I've talked to seems to be unsatisfied with what they achieved and feels like they should have done more.

Even one championship always ought to be greatly appreciated, because there are cities like Cleveland and Washington that haven't won one in forever.
   10. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4774437)
When has a fan in Philly ever felt satisfied for more than a week or two?
   11. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4774441)
Joey is posting calm, perfectly reasonable things. I'm confused, albeit pleasantly so.
   12. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4774447)
When has a fan in Philly ever felt satisfied for more than a week or two?

True. I'll never forget the shameful way they kneecapped Charlie Manuel last year as soon as it was apparent the wheels were falling off. Probably the most classless move a MLB team has pulled since Steinbrenner died.
   13. Spahn Insane Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4774472)
Joey is posting calm, perfectly reasonable things. I'm confused, albeit pleasantly so.

Indeed, and I'll give credit where it's due.
   14. DCA Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4774475)
I think the reason Phillies fans do -- and should -- not feel satisfied is they could have done even better if not for the utter stupidity of the Howard extension, and so many moves that followed. Howard was already under control through the end of his positive value (he was below average but at least above replacement), and the money committed meant that they had to dump Lee, let Werth and Victorino go, replacing them all with lesser players, get Polanco instead of a real 3B to save money, etc. With a competent GM, they

(a) could have extended the window of contention at least a year forward
(b) could have done better in the years of contention:

* in 2010, they lost to the Giants 4-2 in the LCS, one of those losses was a one-run game started by Blanton instead of Lee
* in 2011, they lost to the Cards 3-2 in the LDS, Howard, Pence (replacing Werth at significant cost in prospects), and Polanco were awful, a combined 8-57 with 1 XBH
* in 2012, Howard and Wigginton were a combined -2.7 WAR, Pence (before being traded) and Polanco were as far below average as above replacement level
   15. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4774500)
So instead of extending Howard what could they have done with the money?

Cliff Lee? They missed 28 starts of his and it was the year they went to the NLCS and it doesn't really look like Lee would have altered the outcome of the NLCS. Not unless he could hit some homers.

Werth? He wasn't very good in 2011 and played only half a season in 2012. Outbidding the Nationals' mega 7 year contract would have been a better option?

Victorino? He left in 2012 when the Phillies were already declining and their decline wasn't just contained to Howard, had apparently a great defensive year in 2013 and is cromulent now.
   16. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4774520)
Werth? He wasn't very good in 2011 and played only half a season in 2012. Outbidding the Nationals' mega 7 year contract would have been a better option?


Than Howard? Yes. Signing Werth to the Nats contract +1 would have been better than the Howard contract. Now, I have a bit of a disconnect with the argument "the Phillies could have maintained their mini-dynasty if they hadn't been the Phillies" and the idea that "if they had done all of these things that look good in hindsight it would have been fine," but on the simple comp of Werth vs Howard, you obviously go with Werth there.
   17. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4774556)
Sure but my point is that Werth from 2011 to 2012 timespan wasn't much better than Howard and they would be paying him more money than Howard going forward so it doesn't really solve anything.
   18. Moeball Posted: August 19, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4774804)
All fans want a team that might, somehow, win a World Series.


I've heard about this, from a vast distance.

But there is another baseball gift to a city, one that keeps giving cumulative pleasure, that competes with titles in its satisfaction. It’s the kind of sustainability that provides winning or contending teams for a decade, or in a few lucky cases, 20 years or more. Such marvels don’t just appear in New York or Los Angeles. Fans in St. Louis, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Oakland, Baltimore and others can tell about it, even if some have to think back a bit.

This I have not heard of. The Padres once went 3 or 4 years in a row with winning teams, does that count?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
The Piehole of David Wells
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogMets near extension with GM Alderson
(47 - 12:27am, Sep 24)
Last: JE (Jason)

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(8059 - 12:21am, Sep 24)
Last: PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth)

NewsblogHBT: Talking head says Jeter is “a fraud” and “you are all suckers”
(274 - 12:21am, Sep 24)
Last: Ray (RDP)

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(3591 - 12:19am, Sep 24)
Last: The District Attorney

NewsblogChad | Have a heart! Root for the Royals
(37 - 12:16am, Sep 24)
Last: Shibal

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-23-2014
(110 - 12:14am, Sep 24)
Last: boteman is not here 'til October

NewsblogMLB’s Metal Detector Policy is What ‘Terrorists Winning Looks Like’
(10 - 11:59pm, Sep 23)
Last: A triple short of the cycle

NewsblogMLB creates pace of game committee
(115 - 11:57pm, Sep 23)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogBrisbee: Adam Wainwright and the Jan Bradys of years past
(26 - 11:40pm, Sep 23)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogVance Worley member of All-Surprise Team
(3 - 10:32pm, Sep 23)
Last: zonk

NewsblogOT August 2014:  Wrassle Mania I
(223 - 9:56pm, Sep 23)
Last: andrewberg

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1958 Ballot
(4 - 9:52pm, Sep 23)
Last: MrC

NewsblogVIDEO: Jose Altuve leaves his feet to hit a high fastball
(6 - 9:23pm, Sep 23)
Last: boteman is not here 'til October

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(308 - 8:22pm, Sep 23)
Last: Rob_Wood

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-23-2014
(9 - 7:04pm, Sep 23)
Last: Eric J can SABER all he wants to

Page rendered in 0.3149 seconds
53 querie(s) executed