When the Nationals were 19-31 in May, a playoff push seemed unlikely. At best, it would take until at least late August for them to truly be in the mix. One mid-season surge later, the Nationals are 52-45 and hold the top Wild Card position in the NL, sitting 5.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East. Whereas they were in line to have an inactive trade deadline, they can be buyers now.
The Washington Nationals are 19-31. Every move Davey Martinez makes is now under the microscope. Even if he isn’t the only person who has to be relieved, as manager, he has to be the first to go. It’s a matter of when, not if, he is removed from the managerial post. The question becomes who replaces him?
First of all, even though assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon served as the acting manager on Thursday after Martinez was ejected for defending Howie Kendrick, don’t expect him to be under consideration. Until he usurps Kevin Long as lead hitting coach, he doesn’t have a claim for the job.
At long last, I’m back to discuss the state of the Washington Nationals. There’s definitely no shortage of topics. The Nationals are 14–20 through the first chunk of the season, eerily similar to last year. The pitching staff hasn’t lived up to its billing (resulting in a coaching change), injuries are mounting, and many players have been placed in roles that never seemed possible entering the season.
But it’s not all bad. The war of attrition could actually pay major dividends as the summer months approach. Even so, the next 50 games could make or break the team and manager Dave Martinez.
Outfield depth looked like a position of strength in the early stages of spring training. Adam Eaton was finally healthy, after spending most of 2018 either on the disabled list or hobbled following an ankle injury, and the Nationals had three young outfielders that they had extreme confidence in entering the season. But then tragedy struck.
While there are almost three weeks left in spring training, many of the questions surrounding the Washington Nationals seem to already be answered. Last month, I made some early predictions in regards to how the pitching staff and position player roster and pecking orders would come to form entering the season. Let’s see how I did, Colin Cowherd style.
Before getting into how the top nine should be configured, let’s take a look at the position players at large and how the roster should shape up.
Last year didn’t go as planned for the Nationals, but 2019 is almost guaranteed to be better. They suffered through a few significant injuries to position players in 2018 (Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Matt Wieters, and Howie Kendrick), and top prospect Victor Robles hasn’t even made his full-season debut yet.
Notice a name that wasn’t mentioned?
Stephen Newman, a long-time friend of mine and a graduate of Virginia Tech’s growing communications department, has joined The LaBlue Review to contribute coverage of Washington D.C. sports, primarily the Washington Wizards and the Washington Nationals.
Stephen earned sports writing experience as a student at Virginia Tech from 2014-2018. He served as the Social Media Editor of The Collegiate Times as a senior, managing the student newspaper’s social media presence on multiple platforms. More importantly, Stephen contributed to the newspaper’s coverage of Virginia Tech football and led the way in its coverage of Tech baseball, along with men’s and women’s basketball.