Despite being the early favorites in the National League East, the Washington Nationals’ season is quickly turning into a nightmare. They have dramatically played below expectations, and their season hit a shockingly new low over the weekend. They were swept by the San Francisco Giants, which extended their losing streak to six games and put their record a game under .500.
This kind of performance was unimaginable even for the most skeptical of observers during the offseason. They had a star studded roster, and they were coming off of a terrific 96 win campaign just one year ago.
As a result of these failures, Joel Sherman of the NY Post says they can end up being be one the biggest disappointments in recent years.
“Their play this year has been unfathomable – and kind of unforgivable. They play in a division with three of the majors’ worst teams (Braves, Marlins, Phillies) and each got worse (at least on paper) at the trade deadline by dealing away established pieces.”
“The Nationals have a team-record payroll of more than $160 million. They made two terrific trades in the offseason in dealing Tyler Clippard for valuable infielder Yunel Escobar and moving Steven Souza in a three-club transaction that brought back Trea Turner (one of the majors’ top shortstop prospects) and right-hander Joe Ross, who has been terrific in his rookie season. Max Scherzer, despite recent failings, has on the whole had a terrific campaign after signing a seven-year, $210 million pact. Bryce Harper has turned hype into reality and is the NL MVP front-runner.”
“Yet, Washington ended the weekend a game under .500 and 4 1/2 back of the Mets.”
As Sherman points out, this isn’t the only time the Nationals have been a major disappointment. They have been one of the best teams on paper over the last few years, yet they have not won a single playoff series during this period.
There’s still time for them to turn everything around, but that’s starting to seem more and more unlikely. They are playing like a mediocre team, which just goes to show that preseason hype doesn’t always translate into regular season success.