3. The Washington Nationals will miss the playoffs
Last year’s darlings became the biggest duds. Fresh off missing the playoffs, amid the Jonathan Papelbon vs. Bryce Harper drama, and the ouster of manager Matt Williams, the Nats think they have the solution to their problems with the hiring of Dusty Baker. According to Bill Ladson, MLB.com, Nationals owners Ted Lerner had this to say at the time of the hiring last November:
“During our broad search process we met with many qualified candidates, and ultimately it was clear Dusty’s deep experience was the best fit for our ballclub.”
Baker does indeed have experience with over 20 years having managed the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, not to mention 19 years as a player. The Nats can’t say they lack experience. But what else are they going to say, after they reportedly had a deal in place with Bud Black to take over as manager, before negotiations broke down due to terms of the agreement.
Then there was the calendar fiasco that saw Fenway Park appear on the cover of the Nationals’ calendars. Well, that one isn’t technically on the Nationals. But it just seems to follow the offseason script of the Nats. From a player personnel standpoint, Bryce Harper will be among those in the MVP discussion and assuming injuries aren’t what they were, the Nats will contend. But will fall just short.
Just makes you wonder what would have happened if Stephen Strasburg could have pitched in the 2012 playoffs.