Washington Nationals Season in Review - A Year to Forget
Well, glad that’s over!
Game 162 for the Washington Nationals finished Wednesday afternoon with a 9-2 loss to the playoff-bound New York Mets. Washington lost five games in a row to end the year, including a season-ending sweep at the hands of the Mets in which the Nats were outscored 21-4 over the course of three games.
Washington finishes with a record of 55-107, the worst in all of baseball and just one of three teams with 100 or more losses. The 2022 campaign ends as the worst ever season in D.C. and the worst season for the franchise since 1969 when the team was the Montreal Expos (finished 52-110 that season).
In fact, since the World Series win in 2019, the Nationals have a winning percentage of .380 and have 92 more losses than wins since the Game 7 victory over Houston.
It was another season to forget in Washington, although it didn’t start all that dark. Expectations in D.C. were low heading into 2022 but at least the team had perhaps the best young talent in all of baseball in Juan Soto…
Soto played the entire first half of the season for the Nats, playing in 101 games while batting .246, scoring 62 runs and hitting 21 home runs.
As the season progressed, Washington did its best to extend Soto to make him a ‘Nat for life,’ including a whopping offer of $440 million over 15 years to stay in D.C. that also included the largest amount of guaranteed money in MLB history.
Soto turned it down, paving the way for the eventual trade to San Diego, which begins postseason play on Friday night in a best-of-3 series against the New York Mets.
In the trade with the Padres, Washington also said goodbye to first baseman Josh Bell, who batted .301 in 103 games for the Nats this season.
With two of its best players gone, the Nats crawled to the finish line and can now look ahead to 2023.
The team has young talent, with players like infielder Luis Garcia who batted .275 this season with 45 RBI’s. The major influx of youth, however, came in the Juan Soto and Josh Bell trade.
In the trade, Washington acquired pitchers MacKenzie Gore and Jarlin Susana along with outfielders Robert Hassell and James Wood and infielders C.J. Abrams and Luke Voit.
Photo: Edward Maurer/Fredericksburg Nationals
Voit (31), comes over from San Diego as the only veteran acquisition and appeared in 53 games for Washington. The only other player to appear in a Nats uniform in 2022 was C.J. Abrams, who played in 44 games, averaging .258 at the plate.
Besides Voit, the other five players are very much prospects, with an average age of 20.8 years-old. Susana is 18 years-old and can already throw a 103 mph. fast ball, while guys like Hassell and Wood could be well on their way to being starters for the Nats in the near future.
The bottom line with the Nationals is this…there’s nowhere else to go but up. I would view this situation much more negatively had it not been for that World Series title three years ago. But they got that title and now they’re starting over.
General Manager Mike Rizzo has been in his position since 2013 and has done a stellar job. He tried to keep Juan Soto by offering him nearly half-a-billion dollars and he turned it down so Rizzo did the only thing he could do; trade him and get a haul for him.
Turning the page to 2023, the story might be similar to 2022. In a division that is dominated by the Braves and Mets, it’s not the best time to try to put together a team that can ‘win now.’
Washington is at least a year away from being a year away but they might not be as far away as many think.
For now, we close the book on 2022 and turn our attention to the Wizards and Caps with blind optimism and a sense that this is the year. What else can you do?