Originally written on The Victory Formation  |  Last updated 3/13/12

I don’t know a lot about the Washington Nationals. That’s a relative statement of course. I know alot more than the average person about the Washington Nationals. I know that they’ve been a mediocre team since the franchise moved from Montreal, never reaching the playoffs. I know that they just signed Ryan Zimmerman to a large contract extension that seems somewhat questionable since his primary skill, defense, appeared to take a huge step back last year. Defensive statistics are of course questionable in one year samples but the eye test and the, um, actual test that measures what you actually did, point to a sudden serious question as to if Zimmerman can remain at third long term. They’re paying him like he can, and like he can be good at it, so that’s worrisome. I know that they didn’t block his possible move to first by signing Prince Fielder this offseason, as was heavily rumored. This was wise because WOW Elderly Detroit Owner Person that was quite a contract you handed out. Thankfully Adam LaRoche can continue to cause pain to whatever team choose employ him for another year. I know that in Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Anthony Rendon Washington has a superduperstar level of potential awesomeness that should be unleashed in full around opening day 2013.

I know all this but of all the teams in the major leagues the Nationals are almost certainly the one I find least interesting. They’ve never had a good team, a good season where you cared what they were doing. Their history in Washington dates back only to 2005 and the Expos feel like a different franchise.  A different franchise that has their own history of ineptitude, save that awesomely cursed 1994 team from the strike shortened season and their lone playoff appearance in 1981. Plus, their primary columnist is Thomas Boswell, and I hate that guy. In short the Nationals have never mattered to me. I think that’s about to change.

The Nationals play in what is basically a new stadium, while in a major media market that just needs a reason to care about its **************** team. They have an ownership that is clearly willing to spend money (see Werth, Jayson) and a situation that can become very nice should they manage to win a few games.

This year they win a few games, some of them in a row. They probably aren’t ready to win the NL East, though with the second wild card they could sneak into the playoffs. They’ll have an upside heaven type rotation with Strasburg, potential breakout Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson (Cards fans are probably the only base that is sad to lose Edwin Jackson), and the entirely overrated Gio Gonzalez manning the top four spots. John Lannan, former opening day starter, finishes it out. Plus, somehow Livan Hernandez and Jason Marquis no longer work here. For the bullpen they already had Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, plus they added Brad Lidge, who damn it all I just sorta like. While they have to find a solution at center they’re going to field an adequate if unexciting offense, that is unless manager Davey Johnson gets his “I’m old dammit” wish that Bryce Harper makes the team out of spring training and promptly destroys people. He probably won’t do the second part. Micheal Morse needs to show up and continue to hit homeruns in an unlikely manner wherever they play him and it would be nice if Jayson Werth remembered to be a good baseball player but overall the Nationals should be relevant. In a year or two they probably matter. I look forward to caring about them while I save a few brain cells on the Mets.

Prediction: 81-81

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