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Thursday, August 04, 2022

How did the Nationals get here? Four reasons they went from 2019 champs to 2022 chumps

Corbin and Strasburg combined to post 10.6 WAR in 2019 and that’s regular season only. They’ve been worth minus-2.0 WAR in the three years since. The Nationals won the World Series in Year 1 of Corbin’s six-year, $140 million contract, so from the “flags fly forever” perspective, it was well worth it. He is now the worst starting pitcher in baseball though, and if not for that World Series win, Corbin would go down as one of the worst free agent signings in recent baseball history. (And he still might.)

Strasburg was named World Series MVP in 2019, opted out of the four years and $100 million remaining on his contract, then re-signed with the club on a new seven-year, $245 million deal. It was the richest pitching contract in baseball history at the time. (That lasted for about 24 hours because Gerrit Cole signed his nine-year, $324 million contract the very next day.) Injuries have limited Strasburg to eight ineffective starts since signing his new deal, and it’s unclear how much he’ll be able to contribute in the future. That contract is a total disaster.

It’s not just the Corbin and Strasburg contracts that went south either. The Nationals re-signed Kendrick to a one-year, $6.25 million deal after the World Series and he was a replacement level DH in 2020. They re-signed Daniel Hudson to a two-year, $11 million deal and received 54 1/3 middle reliever quality innings before trading him away. Washington gave Will Harris three years and $24 million and he’s thrown 23 2/3 innings in those three years, including none in 2022. Jon Lester, Starlin Castro, Eric Thames, Brad Hand, and even Nelson Cruz this year are free agent signings that actively hurt the team.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 04, 2022 at 03:36 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

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   1. Adam Starblind Posted: August 05, 2022 at 09:13 AM (#6090116)
I didn't RTFA, but the subtraction of Rendon was badly damaging too (regardless of the fact that he turned into a pumpkin in LA).

And if you're going to include 2022 signing Nelson Cruz, then you also need to account for the enormous subtractions of Scherzer and Turner, neither of which had to happen.

It's not rocket science. Take a 93-win team and subtract Rendon (7.1 bWAR), Strasburg (5.9), Scherzer (5.2) and Turner (4.0), and you've got a 70-win team before you even get to the players who didn't perform up to expectations.
   2. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 05, 2022 at 09:49 AM (#6090118)
The article briefly dissects the failure of the front office to develop young talent. Since Soto joined the parent club, there have been nearly zero contributions from the farm system.
   3. ReggieThomasLives Posted: August 05, 2022 at 09:51 AM (#6090119)
The biggest problem wasn’t the colapse of Strasburg and Corbin, it was deferring too much money.

And trading Soto before the new owner had a chance to clean up the mess.
   4. Adam Starblind Posted: August 05, 2022 at 10:08 AM (#6090120)
It would be interesting to know how much deferred money they are paying right now because it was deferred from some point in the past. It's like racking up a credit card bill that you eventually have trouble managing. If not now, then sooner or later.
   5. jmurph Posted: August 05, 2022 at 12:00 PM (#6090131)
The Strasburg deal has to be well on the way to the worst contract in history, doesn't it? (From the team's perspective, obviously!)
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2022 at 12:04 PM (#6090132)
I remember after they won in 2019, lots of internet baseball writers were saying "See? You can win a title by signing a bunch of expensive free agents! Spend more, owners!!" Turns out that doesn't lead to sustained success, shockingly.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: August 05, 2022 at 12:09 PM (#6090135)
I remember after they won in 2019, lots of internet baseball writers were saying "See? You can win a title by signing a bunch of expensive free agents! Spend more, owners!!" Turns out that doesn't lead to sustained success, shockingly.
They stopped spending. I think their opening day payroll was 19th or 20th in the majors. They aren't bad because they spent too much money.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2022 at 12:13 PM (#6090137)
Right, they're bad because they didn't develop enough good players. My point was that spending a bunch of money doesn't lead to sustained success.
   9. jmurph Posted: August 05, 2022 at 12:35 PM (#6090140)
My point was that spending a bunch of money doesn't lead to sustained success.

Is there a better pathway to sustained success than spending a much of money?
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2022 at 12:48 PM (#6090141)
Developing a bunch of good players? Of course spending money on top of that helps (see Dodgers, Yankees). But I don't see how it's even a debate anymore.
   11. jmurph Posted: August 05, 2022 at 01:04 PM (#6090143)
Who are the teams that don't spend a lot and are also sustainably successful? Isn't it just the Rays?

   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2022 at 01:33 PM (#6090150)
Depends on the definition of "spend a lot," of course, but the Twins, Brewers, Guardians and (usually, just not specifically right now) the A's come to mind. And the teams that do spend a lot and are consistently successful tend to pair that with good player dev.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2022 at 01:35 PM (#6090151)
Cleveland has had a fair amount of success despite running on a shoestring budget. Milwaukee hasn't really been a big spender.
   14. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: August 05, 2022 at 02:46 PM (#6090163)
Depends on the definition of "spend a lot," of course, but the Twins, Brewers, Guardians and (usually, just not specifically right now) the A's come to mind. And the teams that do spend a lot and are consistently successful tend to pair that with good player dev.


The Angels being a prime example of a team that spends a ton but has virtually no player development. It's led to [does calculation] jack squat. You have to have solid scouting (amateur and pro) and player development to succeed.
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2022 at 03:09 PM (#6090168)
The Angels being a prime example of a team that spends a ton but has virtually no player development.
Them and the Phillies, with similar results. Although the Phillies have actually gotten halfway decent this year.
   16. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 05, 2022 at 03:11 PM (#6090169)
My point was that spending a bunch of money doesn't lead to sustained success.


Tell that to the Dodgers and Yankees.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2022 at 03:22 PM (#6090171)
Tell that to the Dodgers and Yankees.
Read down juuuust a little further.
   18. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 05, 2022 at 03:39 PM (#6090174)
Tell that to the Dodgers and Yankees.


The Dodgers in recent years have gotten great contributions from Kershaw, Urias, Will Smith, Bellinger, Buehler, and this year, Gonsolin and Lux. All homegrown.
   19. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 05, 2022 at 03:43 PM (#6090177)
Plus they produced prospects regarded highly enough to get betts, Scherzer, and Turner. Oh, and I forgot Seager. And Kenley Jansen.
   20. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 05, 2022 at 03:45 PM (#6090178)
And throw in Austin Barnes and Joc Pederson.
   21. NaOH Posted: August 05, 2022 at 03:51 PM (#6090180)
4. Adam Starblind Posted: August 05, 2022 at 10:08 AM (#6090120)
It would be interesting to know how much deferred money they are paying right now because it was deferred from some point in the past.


$28.5M

Scherzer: $15M
Strasburg: $10M
Rafael Soriano: $2M
Brad Hand: $1.5M
   22. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: August 05, 2022 at 03:58 PM (#6090182)
The Dodgers seem to have an inexhaustible supply of good young players that either come up and contribute significantly to the team or who can be traded for established stars. The Angels' list is like three or four guys over the last five years. Sean Newcomb was traded for Andrelton Simmons. And they've gotten decent contributions from Jared Walsh and David Fletcher and... Taylor Ward, maybe? It's pathetic. But at least we've paid a ton of money for Albert Pujols and Justin Upton and Anthony Rendon!
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2022 at 04:08 PM (#6090183)
There's no reason the Nats can't have Yankees-level spending, but having the team for sale throws a wrench into those plans I guess.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2022 at 04:34 PM (#6090186)
There's no reason the Nats can't have Yankees-level spending,
There's no reason the Nats can't spend a bunch, and they've regularly been in the top 10 up until this year. But "Yankees-level" - almost $100m more than they've ever spent in a season - is pushing it a bit.
   25. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 05, 2022 at 08:28 PM (#6090215)

The Dodgers in recent years have gotten great contributions from Kershaw, Urias, Will Smith, Bellinger, Buehler, and this year, Gonsolin and Lux. All homegrown.


Yes, and they've spent tons of money on retaining their best players and adding the likes of Betts.

Spending lots of money is obviously not a guarantee of success. But it's way better to be able to spend lots of money than not.

But "Yankees-level" - almost $100m more than they've ever spent in a season - is pushing it a bit.


Yeah, it's pretty clear that the Yankees and the Dodgers are the only teams willing to spend on that level at anything like a regular clip.
   26. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: August 06, 2022 at 04:27 AM (#6090267)
What happened to Corbin? Did he get hurt in 2019/2020?

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/corbipa01.shtml

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