Stephen Strasburg got rocked by an A-ball team the other night but his rehab still looks good. Jordan Zimmermann isn’t getting enough support from the offense but looks every inch the big league pitcher. John Lannan, still only 26, has shaped himself into the kind of innings-eating pitcher almost every team needs. Ryan Zimmerman is healthy again and making other teams pay. Michael Morse, out of nowhere, is playing All Star-quality baseball. Jason Werth is hitting 40 points below his career average and it’s hard to believe that trend will continue. Adam LaRoche had a tough-luck injury this year; he’ll still be only 32 next year and can push Morse into the outfield (which desperately needs help) if he can play. Chien-Ming Wang, once the ace of the New York Yankees, is now digging his way off of the scrap heap as a National. And at long last, the Nats have a legitimate minor league system with numerous prospects.
Next year. There’s always next year. That’s the way it has forever been with Washington baseball. Actually, that’s not true: It’s always been “wait until some unspecified and largely invisible year to come.” But now, I’m going to proclaim it: Wait until next year. This team is about to become a playoff competitor.