Author Archive

Washington Nationals’ Biggest Winners and Losers of the Offseason so Far

The Washington Nationals‘ offseason has kicked into high gear. 

The team has completed multiple hirings, trades and free-agent signings since the MLB regular season ended. Most of these have occurred in the last month or so. 

So who won and who lost from all these wheelings and dealings? 

To answer that question, here is a list of the Washington Nationals’ biggest winners and losers of the offseason so far. 


Note: All statistics courtesy of unless noted otherwise. 

Begin Slideshow

Washington Nationals’ Rumors: Pros and Cons of Top Offseason Targets

The MLB rumor mill is grinding away, and the Washington Nationals are in the thick of it, according to

Nationals fans will want to consider the positives and negatives of each new rumor involving their favorite team. 

To help with that process, here are the pros and cons for each of the Washington Nationals’ top targets this offseason. In addition, each player is listed with the source of the rumor linking him to the Nationals, along with his 2013 stats and his 162-game averages


Note: All statistics courtesy of unless noted otherwise. 

Begin Slideshow

3 Dream Free-Agent Pickups for Washington Nationals

For Washington Nationals fans, the MLB offseason is the time to dream. 

Nats fans can dream about the season that could have been or the season that is yet to come. Or perhaps they can dream about the free agents who will help the team next season. 

Of course, some potential free-agent signings are just that: a dream. A mirage. A figment of the imagination. 

Thankfully for Nats fans, it is only Nov. 8. The offseason alarm clock won’t go off for another five months. So keep dreaming. 

On that note, here are three dream free-agent pickups for the Washington Nationals this offseason. 


Note: All statistics courtesy of unless noted otherwise. 

Begin Slideshow

Stephen Strasburg Has Finally Earned Title of Washington Nationals’ "Ace"

The title of “ace” of a team’s pitching staff is often bestowed upon a pitcher as if it were a nickname. It is prematurely applied to any and all types of pitcher, like a “Player of The Week” award. 

But ace is not a label to be categorized with lesser distinctions, such as: 

  • Opening Day starter: Strasburg has held this distinction for the past two seasons for the Nats, despite never completing a full season in his four-year career. Being named Opening Day starter typically carries more weight than it should. As if Strasburg’s case were not proof enough, former Nationals’ starter John Lannan took the mound on Opening Day in consecutive seasons for Washington, while Jordan Zimmermann has yet to do so. 
  • All-Star: Selecting players for the Mid-Summer Classic is an inexact science at best. Strasburg was selected as an All-Star last year, when he was 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA at the All-Star break, according to James Wagner of The Washington Post. But he was named one of this season’s biggest All-Star snubs by Matthew Pouilot of Hardball Talk at when he was not selected to the 2013 NL All-Star squad after compiling a 4-6 record and a 2.24 ERA. 
  • “The best pitching prospect in generations”: Strasburg was so labeled by Albert Chen of Sports Illustrated on June 21, 2010, shortly after his MLB debut. This is an important distinction in a sport that places such a high value on prospects and and the science of scouting. But it is subjective, nonetheless. 

No, Ace is a title, in the same way that “Sir”, “Chief” and “Captain” are titles. 

Like those monikers, this title is to be worn like a brand, an indelible mark that is burned into a pitcher’s reputation throughout his career. It remains with him into his retirement, and well after his death. 

Why does this designation stand the test of baseball time? 

Because it is so difficult to earn. 

Until 2013, Strasburg had not done nearly enough to earn the title of ace. But things changed this season. 

First, there was the game on May 16 against the San Diego Padres in  Strasburg’s hometown. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman committed a throwing error during the fifth inning, something he had done with disturbing regularity in Strasburg’s starts.

In his previous start, another Zimmerman error was just one thing that rattled Strasburg. He lasted only 5.0 innings as he took the decision on May 11 in the Nats’ lost 8-2 to the Chicago Cubs. Strasburg surrendered five hits and four runs, but no earned runs. 

After the game, catcher Wilson Ramos talked to Bill  Ladson of about Strasburg’s composure, or lack thereof: 

I tried to tell him the other day after the situations like that, you have to keep your head up. You can never put your head down. Every time you put your head down, he lost the focus. You need to fight all game. He has to fight 27 outs. You have to fight all game. 

But things turned out differently in San Diego, and it all started with Strasburg. After another Zimmerman error, Strasburg motioned to his third baseman and mouthed “I got you”. He stayed true to his word, getting out of the jam and lasting 8.0 innings, a career high at the time. Strasburg surrendered only three hits and one earned run as the Nats won 6-2. 

The symbolic act of Strasburg picking up one of his teammates was not lost on catcher Kurt Suzuki, as he told Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post

I was going to go out there. I was thinking about going out there and talking to him. Once he got the ball back, he looked at Zim and said, ‘I got you.’ Once he did that, I turned around and went back to home plate. Because I knew he was going to do it. 

Then, on August 11,Strasburg threw his first career complete game, while also hurling his first career shutout. He needed only 99 pitches to complete a sweep, surrendering four hit and striking out 10 in the process. 

Strasburg has now become a top of the rotation starter that can realistically retire all 27 batters he faces in any given game. That is expected of an ace.  

But the ace is entrusted with another responsibility, one so great that many do not have the intestinal fortitude to carry it out. 

The ace must act as the protector. The enforcer. The sharpened end of the stick. 

Former Brooklyn Dodgers ace Don Drysdale did an excellent job of outlining this particular part of the ace’s job description. In a quote archived by The Baseball AlmanacDrysdale said that “if they knocked two of your guys down, I’d get four. You have to protect your hitters.”


The Nationals needed Strasburg to do just that over the weekend. Bryce Harper had been hit three times by Braves pitchers in recent games.

Harper was first hit on August 6 by Julio Teheran, in his next at-bat after admiring a home run in the third inning. Teheran’s actions were peculiar, considering his teammate Justin Upton was not plunked by a Nats pitcher after admiring his go-ahead home run on August 5, just the night before.

Harper barked at Teheran  as he walked to first base, and the benches cleared. But no punches were thrown – and no Braves’ hitters were thrown at. Gio Gonzalez failed to exact revenge in that very same game, and Jordan Zimmermann failed to do so the following day.

Harper disagreed with the lack of retribution during an interview with Mark Zuckerman of the day after the game, saying “I think if I’m the pitcher on my team, I think I’m gonna drill somebody,”

Then, on August 16, Harper was hit twice in the same game by two different Braves pitchers. Again, no retribution. 

Enter Stephen Strasburg. 

In the top of the first inning on August 17, Strasburg was staked to a 2-0 lead. He quickly gave one run back in the bottom of the frame on a lead-off homer to Jason Heyward.

Next up was none other than Justin Upton. The same Justin Upton who admired his home run almost two weeks earlier, and hit the game-winning home run the night before. He also happens to be one of the Braves’ best players.

Three good reasons to hit him. 

Strasburg needed only one reason to hit Upton: it was his duty as the team’s ace. 

Strasburg drilled Upton in his back. Upton took his base without much fanfare, while seemingly surprised that the Nationals would actually respond to three unabated attacks on their best player. 

After needing a double play to get out of the inning in which he surrendered one run, Strasburg still received an overwhelmingly positive greeting as he entered the dugout, with every single Nationals player and coach congratulating him for his reprisal. 

But Strasburg was not done. 

In the very next inning, Strasburg threw behind Andrelton Simmons on consecutive pitches. Although a warning had been issued to both dugouts after

Read more MLB news on

Nationals Prospects Who Can Most Impact Roster in Late Season Push for Playoffs

It is only May 11, but the Washington Nationals have already activated a couple players from their 40-man roster to deal with injuries.

The most notable of these minor league call-ups was prized prospect Anthony Rendon.

But which Nationals prospects could be among the September call-ups?

Here are are the five Nationals’ prospects who can most impact the roster during a late season push for the MLB Playoffs.


Note: All statistics updated through May 10 courtesy unless noted otherwise.

Begin Slideshow

10 Reasons Washington Nationals Will Stay Atop the NL East Next Season

The 2012 Washington Nationals finished atop the NL East, winning the team’s first division title since they moved to Washington in 2005. 

But things can change in a hurry during the offseason. 

The Nationals’ negotiations with recent Gold Glove winner Adam LaRoche are going slowly, and he is the free agent target of at least one other team.  And Washington is probably done with last season’s fourth starter in the rotation, Edwin Jackson. But the Nats will welcome back catcher Wilson Ramos from injury. These and other changes could affect the on-field product for the Washington Nationals. 

Of course, the other teams in the division will change as well.  The second place and Wild Card-winning Atlanta Braves expect to lose their leadoff hitter and center fielder Michael Bourn, with his replacement as of yet unknown.  The third place Philadelphia Phillies shed significant salaries at the trade deadline, but plan to retool instead of rebuild, and the ever-confident Jimmy Rollins even told that the NL East “still goes through Philly.”  The fourth place New York Mets are rebuilding, but should improve with another year under the guidance of Terry Collins.  And last but not least, the Miami Marlins may hold last place in the NL East for some time as a result of their blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. 

So, will all of these changes—not to mention any unforeseen moves—prevent the Nationals from repeating as division champs? 

Here are 10 reasons why the Washington Nationals will stay atop the NL East next season.

Begin Slideshow

Remembering the Washington Senators’ 1924 World Series

The Washington Nationals had a historic season in 2012.  

The Nats made the playoffs for the first time since moving to Washington in 2005.  

It was the first playoff appearance for the Nationals/Expos franchise since 1981.  

And it was the first playoff appearance for a Washington baseball team since the Senators lost the World Series in 1933.  

But if the Nationals’ dream season had gone according to plan, then Washington would have won the first World Series in the city’s history since 1924. 

Now, as the current World Series is being played, let’s take a look back into baseball lore and revisit the 1924 World Series.  

The 1924 Washington Senators were managed by player-manager Bucky Harris, and finished with a 92-62 record.  They won the American League pennant by 2.0 games over the New York Yankees.  The Senators faced off with the New York Giants, who were managed by one of the masters of his profession, Hall of Famer John McGraw.  The Giants won the National League pennant with a 93-60 record, finishing 1.5 games better than the Brooklyn Dodgers.  

Game 1 was held at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC on October 4, 1924.  Washington’s ace and eventual Hall of Fame inductee Walter “The Big Train” Johnson took the mound against New York’s Art Nehf, and both hurlers threw complete games, even though the game went 12 innings.  But Johnson’s 14 hits and six walks surrendered were the difference as the Giants won 4-3.  



The Senators evened the series with a Game 2 win of the exact same score.  After the Senators’ Goose Goslin and Bucky Harris hit early home runs off of Giants’ starter Jack Bentley, the Giants came back to tie the game late with two runs in the top of the ninth, thanks to RBI singles by High Pockets Kelly and Hack Wilson.  But Washington was rescued by Roger Peckinpaugh, whose walk-off double with one out in the bottom of the ninth knotted the teams at one game apiece as the World Series moved to New York.  

Game 3 was played at the hallowed Polo Grounds, and the Giants won 6-4 to take a 2-1 series lead.  It was a sloppy affair, as the Senators had two errorsand half of the runs they surrendered were unearned.  New York Giants pitcher Rosy Ryan was the unsung hero of the game.  Despite recording neither the win nor the save, Ryan pitched 4.2 innings of relief after coming into the game with two outs in the top of the fourth to relieve starter Hugh McQuillan.  Ryan gave up only two earned runs while striking out two and walking three.  He also led the team with two RBI, which came on a solo home run and an RBI ground-out.  

The Senators tied the series once again by winning Game 4, this time at two games apiece with a 7-4 win.  Goose Goslin drove in four of those Senators’ runs by himself, going 2-4 with a three-run home run.  Firpo Marberry earned a five-out save, his second of the series.  

But with the series tied 2-2, Washington’s baseball hero almost became a World Series goat.  Walter Johnson turned in his second straight lackluster performance in Game 5, giving up 13 hits and four earned runs, despite pitching another complete game.  New York Giants third baseman Freddie Lindstrom went 4-5 with two RBI and starting pitcher Jack Bentley went 2-3 with two RBI of his own, to go along with 7.1 innings pitched and only two earned runs surrendered.  The Giants won 6-2, and were only one win away from their third World Series title in four straight appearances.  



The Senators were on the brink as they hosted Game 6 back at Griffith Stadium, but Tom Zachary came to the rescue yet again.  The hero of Game 2 was the pitching star when it mattered most, giving up seven hits but only one earned run as he threw a complete game, striking out three and walking none.  He surrendered no runs and only five hits after the first inning of the game.  Washington second baseman Bucky Harris came through at the plate, hitting a two-run single in the fifth.  That was all Washington needed to win the game and force a deciding Game 7.  

So the stage was set for a memorable ending to a closely-fought series, and these two combatants did not disappoint.  The Senators had to go to their bullpen immediately, and that would actually be the story of the game.  Starting pitcher Curly Ogden faced only two batters and retired one before he was removed in favor of George Mogridge.  Mogridge pitched 4.2 innings and gave up only one earned run, which scored on a sacrifice fly after he was removed in the top of the sixth.  

But then the shaky Washington defense let down another of their pitchers, as the Giants scored two unearned runs against newly inserted Firpo Marberry, on consecutive errors by first basemen Joe Judge and short stop Ossie Bluege.  Marberry righted the ship, however, retiring the next two batters to end the inning, and then pitching a scoreless seventh and eighth.  He was relieved to start the ninth inning.  

Meanwhile, the visiting Giants got a solid pitching performance from starter Virgil Barnes, who lasted 7.2 innings.  In fact, Barnes had trouble with just two things in Game 7: Bucky Harris and the eighth inning.  Before the eighth, Barnes surrendered only three hits and one run, but Harris accounted for two of the hits and the only run, as the player-manager hit a solo homer in the fourth and a single in the seventh, which was erased by a double play.  



Barnes entered the bottom of the frame with his Giants leading 3-1 and only six outs away from reclaiming the World Championship.  But after getting the lead-off hitter to pop out in foul territory, New York’s starting pitcher quickly lost control of the inning and the game.  Barnes promptly surrendered a double to pinch hitter Nemo Leibold and a single to catcher Muddy Ruel.  Pitcher Firpo Marberry was pinch-hit for by Bennie Tate, who was walked to load the bases.  Barnes then retired the next batter.  

This set up a bases loaded, two-out duel between Barnes and his nemesis, Bucky Harris.  As he had twice done earlier in the game against Barnes, Harris put the ball in play.  But this time, Harris got a lot of help from a bad hop, as Game 5 hitting hero Freddie Lindstrom could not field the seemingly routine ground ball.  Two runs scored to tie the game.  

To the ninth inning the two teams went, tied at three.  Pitching in relief for the Senators was none other than Walter Johnson.  Washington’s ace had toiled for 18 years before he had his first shot at the postseason, racking up Hall of Fame numbers while playing for losing teams.  But once he finally appeared in the World Series, he had pitched below his standard.  

The Big Train was given a chance to redeem himself, and he did just that.  Johnson worked out of a one-out jam in the top of the ninth after Frankie Frisch hit a triple.  Johnson stranded him, and held the Giants scoreless in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings as well.  He finished with no earned runs in 4.0 innings of relief, giving up only three hits and three walks (two intentional) while striking out five.  



Johnson got his teammates into the bottom of the 12th still tied, and they would take care of the rest, with a little more help from The Big Train.  The Giants’ Game 5 winner Jack Bentley was pitching in relief, and retired the first batter.  He then got Muddy Ruel to pop a foul ball to fellow catcher Hank Gowdy—who proceeded to step on his own catcher’s mask and drop the ball.  Given second life, Ruel would hit a double.  

The next batter was the Big Train himself, left in the game by player-manager Harris, who was running out of pinch hitters as well as pitchers.  Johnson put the ball in play, and just like Harris in the eighth inning, benefited from some good fortune at third base as Freddie Lindstrom could not handle the ground ball after yet another bad hop, allowing Johnson to reach as Ruel stayed at second.  

But not for long.  Next up was center fielder Earl McNeely, who hit what at first looked like a harmless ground ball through the left side of the infield, plating Ruel for the game-winning, series-winning run.  Jack Bentley, the pitcher of record for the New York Giants, had this to say about the fateful 12th inning of Game 7 of the 1924 World Series

That was one of the strangest games I ever played in.  With one out, catcher [Hank]Gowdy did a sun dance on Ruel’s pop foul and stepped into his mask and dropped the ball. Ruel doubled and then there was an error at short, then McNeely hit that grounder. That was a hell’uva way to lose a World Series.  

And on the other side of the box score, Walter Johnson himself was the pitcher of record for the World Champion Washington Senators.  Ironically, the work horse of the Washington rotation had to change his role from starter to reliever to change his World Series legacy from goat to hero.  



All told, the 1924 World Series between the Washington Senators and the New York Giants was a classic.  Four game were decided by one run, two games went to 12 innings, and two games were won by a walk-off.  One of those walk-offs occurred in Game 7, making this one of only five World Series in which the final play was recorded via walk-off hit in the seventh and final game.  And it is one of only four World Series in which the seventh game was won in extra innings.  

To celebrate the World Series 100th Anniversary, ESPN ranked the 100 World Series played to date, from best (No. 1) to worst (No. 100).  The 1924 World Series was ranked sixth.  It is still the only World Series title in Washington’s history.  

Be patient, Washington Nationals fans.  One day, the Nationals will indeed win the World Series and return the title to the city of Washington.  By doing so, these Nats will write themselves into the annals of baseball’s championship teams, joining the unforgettable names of Bucky, Muddy, and The Big Train.  

Read more MLB news on

Injury Is Only Obstacle for Lucas Giolito as Washington Nationals Sign Top Pick

The Washington Nationals signed pitcher Lucas Giolito to a professional contract on Friday, locking up the 16th overall from the 2012 MLB Draft (LA Times)

Lucas attended Harvard-Westlake School in southern California and was a teammate of Max Fried, the San Diego Padres‘ seventh overall pick at this year’s draft.  Giolito was clocked at 100 MPH on opening day of his senior season (Max Preps), and also has a devastating curve ball (CSN Washington). 

The 17-year-old was originally considered one of the top prospects for this year’s draft. But leading up to the draft, there were two major obstacles to his major league stardom: signability and injury history.

Signability was an issue because Major League Baseball was not the only option for Lucas Giolito after graduating from high school.  Despite being a top prospect, Giolito had already signed with in-state power UCLA.  So, the Nationals had stiff competition for this prized pitcher, in addition to the other MLB teams interested in the right-hander. 

Once the Nationals did draft Giolito, signing him to a contract would not be guaranteed. 

But General Manager Mike Rizzo was indeed able to sign Lucas Giolito.  The contract included a $2.925 million signing bonus—$800,000 over slot value for the 16th pick (Hardball Talk).  The value of the bonus increased because the contract was not signed until 30 seconds before the Friday deadline of 5:00 PM EDT.  Lucas Giolito took it all in stride, however, as told to the LA Times: “It’s pretty funny.  There was 30 seconds to go.”

So the first issue has been resolved.  That leaves Giolito’s injury history. 

Lucas sprained the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow in March, and did not pitch the rest of the season.  That is the same ligament that, if torn, would require Tommy John surgery. 

But there is hope.  According to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post, there has been slow but steady progress:

Giolito, who turns 18 on Saturday, will report to the Nationals’ complex in Viera, Fla., to continue his rehabilitation from the strained ligament injury. The Nationals will monitor Giolito and have not planned whether or not he will pitch at one of their minor league affiliates this season. Giolito has been playing long toss, but has yet to pitch off a mound. 

Once Lucas Giolito fully recovers from this injury, his biggest obstacle to major league stardom will be finding competition good enough to challenge him. 

Read more MLB news on

Why the Nationals Should Lock Up Strasburg, Harper to Long-Term Deals NOW

Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are the future of the Washington Nationals

Strasburg will be the ace of a formidable starting rotation for years to come, and Bryce Harper will anchor the outfield and the lineup with his five-tool talent. The future is in good hands. 

Here are seven reasons why the Washington Nationals need to quickly sign both players to long-term contracts to ensure the successful future of the franchise.

Begin Slideshow

Why MLB Needs Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles to Succeed

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles got interleague baseball off to a fantastic start on Friday night in Washington, DC.

The regional rivals played a well-pitched, defensive baseball game that went into extra innings.  The Orioles won the game 2-1 in the 11th inning after the Nationals could not successfully mount a comeback in response to Nick Markakis’ impressive solo home run in the top half of the frame.

Friday’s game should set the tone for another great series.  The record in interleague games between the two teams is now 20-17 in favor of the Orioles.  And for once, this series means something.  Both teams are above .500 entering the series for the first time since their interleague rivalry began in 2006. 

But there is much more importance attached to the Nationals and Orioles than simply how they perform in an interleague series.  Here are five reasons why the success of both the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles is imperative for Major League Baseball.

Begin Slideshow

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress