The Washington Nationals are coming off of a successful 2017 season after winning the NL East with a record of 97-65 and reaching the NLDS. Even though the Nationals had a season most organizations would be happy to have, they are still embittering their fanbase.
Time is running out for the Washington Nationals to win a World Series, and here is why 2018 is the best chance they’ll have in years.
The Nationals have three key players whose contracts end after the 2018 season, Gio Gonzalez, Daniel Murphy, and of course Bryce Harper.
Gonzalez has been a very consistent left-handed starter for the Nationals for the last six seasons with a 3.49 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, and 1089 K’s in 1107.2 innings of work. Even though Gonzalez is not a superstar when compared to the rest of the Nationals rotation, he is someone the Nats would undoubtedly miss.
He is coming off his best season since 2012 as he had a 2.96 ERA in 201 innings to finish 6th in the Cy Young voting. Gonzalez could be lured away in the 2018-2019 offseason by another team who could use a solid, veteran starter in their rotation. At 32 years old, teams won’t have to break the bank for him.
The 2015 postseason breakout star, Daniel Murphy, is also in the final year of his contract with the Nationals. Some people thought Murphy would be a fluke after his unbelievable playoff performance with the New York Mets in 2015 but did he ever prove them wrong.
In two seasons with the Nationals, Murphy has a .334 BA, .956 OPS, 197 RBIs, and 48 homers in 286 games played. Murphy was also a two-time All-Star and came in second place for the 2016 NL MVP Award behind Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs.
Murphy is one of the best contact hitters in the entire league, and Nationals fans will surely miss him if he does not sign back with the Nationals in 2019. Murphy being a veteran and coming off two excellent seasons may want to capitalize on the chance of obtaining his last chance at a big contract from some other teams depending on his 2018 season.
25-year-old bonafide superstar, Bryce Harper, will be finished with his rookie contract at the end of the 2018 season. Harper has been one of the best players in the world since he was 16 years old.
The people of D.C. love Bryce Harper, and why wouldn’t they? Cool guy, big-time power hitter, passionate, and fun to watch. No fan base in the MLB wouldn’t love to have Bryce Harper on their team. In his short career, Harper has put up a career .285 BA, 150 HRs, 421 RBIs, and an OPS of .902.
Harper is in his sixth major league season and is already a veteran of the league at the young age of 25. Winning the NL MVP in 2015 and already a five-time All-Star with playoff experience, Harper is set to receive the largest contract in MLB history in 2019.
The Nationals have one of the most dangerous lineups in the league when they are all healthy. With an Opening Day lineup that could look something like this:
- Trea Turner SS
- Adam Eaton CF
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Matt Wieters C
- Micheal Taylor LF
- Max Scherzer SP
There is some real under the radar talent that a casual baseball fan might not know about when looking at this lineup. Trea Turner is one of the most electrifying players in league with his crazy speed, base running ability, and high contact approach at the plate. Adam Eaton is a great contact hitter and defender in center field. Ryan Zimmerman is coming off of a career-best 2017 season, and Anthony Rendon has been one of the most underrated players in the league for his entire career. They also have Michael Taylor who is a young, under the radar guy who could find his way onto the NL All-Star team in 2018.
Let us not forget, the Nationals also have one of the best rotations in the entire league. They have current back to back NL Cy Young Winner, Max Scherzer, and 2018 NL Cy Young Candidate Stephen Strasburg who is turning into the ace who could replace Max Scherzer in the coming years.
The rest of their rotation is filled in with solid 3-5 guys of Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, and Joe Ross. There are also rumors of the Nationals looking for starting pitching through free agency for pitchers like Jake Arrieta and Lance Lynn.
2018 is the best chance the Washington Nationals will have to win a World Series in a long time with one of the overall best bats in the league Bryce Harper and one of the best contact-hitting bats in Daniel Murphy still under contract.
They have electric and fast talent like Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, and Michael Taylor to load the bases for the big boys to knock in.
The starting rotation with Max Scherzer in his prime and Stephen Strasburg entering his prime with the 3-5 slots filled by solid pitchers. It is time to strike while the iron is hot in D.C. and that iron is red hot.
Kevin Hurley is a sophomore journalism student at Paradise Valley Community College writing MLB articles for The Sunrise Sports.