Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 11/17/14
All those years of stockpiling high draft picks finally paid off for the Nationals, as they led the majors with 98 wins last season and made the playoffs for the first time since they ceased to be the Expos. Stephen Strasburg returned from Tommy John surgery seemingly none the worse for wear, a teenage Bryce Harper dialed up what would have been considered an exceptional rookie season in the pre-Mike Trout Era and a number of other younger and veteran players came through with career years. Management stuck to its guns and didn't lift Strasburg's team-imposed innings cap to allow him to pitch past the first week of September, and when the Nationals' playoff run ended early there was some grumbling from fans (and journalists), but general manager Mike Rizzo insisted that the long-term future of the club was paramount. Rizzo backed up his stance with a busy offseason, depleting the minor league cupboard and opening the checkbook to bring in more OBP for the top of the lineup and bols...
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