Watching the Nats fade

The Nats are winding down another sad season, with the team now a shell of the World Series champs of two years ago, and it’s honestly hard to see the path forward here right now. It looks like we’re going to walk in the wilderness for a while — hopefully without the aimlessness of the Baltimore Orioles, who do not appear to be aiming for anything other than MLB revenue-sharing and denying the Nats their long-overdue TV revenues.

I’ve followed the Nats through good times and bad since they hit town in 2005, although it took me a few years to drop my Cardinals allegiance and become a true fan. That happened because of a series of moments I saw in person:

Strasburg’s first game

Games 4 and 5 of the 2012 playoffs

Max Scherzer!

The 2019 wild card game

And now here we are. The Nats’ starting pitching is depleted and the team is saddled with big contracts for Strasburg (multiple injuries and only a handful of innings pitched since the 2019 Series) and Patrick Corbin. The bullpen is an embarrassment. Carter Kieboom’s career batting average remains under .200 after MLB stints over three years. Victor Robles now shows all the signs of being a bust. We’re not going to keep Josh Bell, whose stats have bounced back to his very solid mean this year and who bet on himself by only signing a one-year contract.

Poor Juan Soto. Unless Strasburg bounces back (I would not bet on it at this point), he’s going to face a very depressing baseball existence next year. And if this team is as bad as I fear it will be in 2022, he may not be here at season’s end.

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