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Washington Nationals: 2016 Winter Meetings Preview

 As MLB owners hopefully get ready to head into the annual Winter Meetings, we as fans and media members will sit back and try to figure out what moves each team will make.  Today I will attempt to take a stab at the Washington Nationals. The Nats finished the 2016 season with a 95-67 record, good for 1st place in the NL East. The postseason was a different story as they bowed out in the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers (3-2).
 
Despite there 2016 setback, the Washington Nationals are still one of the strongest teams in the National League. The pieces are there with Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Daniel Murphy but it’s just the mindset of the team that needs to change. In order to become winners, they must believe that there is not another team on that field that is better than them.
 
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Positions of Need

LF- Why are the Nats still holding on to past years glory. It’s time for the team to move on from Werth and begin to look towards the future. He was still somewhat productive with 24 home runs but drove in a measly 69 RBIs while batting .244. Add to the fact that he is on the wrong side of 36, it’s time for the team to go younger.

Closer- Pap was a head case, plain and simple. Now, with the issue that Stephen Strasburg has had I don’t see why they can’t turn him into a closer. It will cut down on his innings and keep his arm fresh. The Nats must make all attempts to resign Mark Melancon or put the full court press on Kenley Jansen.

Potential Targets

Colby Rasmus- Why not? He’s 7 years younger than Werth with the same production and most importantly, he’s cheaper. Rasmus hit .206 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in a season where his health played a role in the decline. If Rasmus can manage roughly 150 games, with this Nats offense he could see a serious uptake in performance. He’s worth the risk.

Kenley Jansen- If you want to be the best then you must surround yourself with the best. Chapman is the best reliever in the game but the Cubs will not let him go quietly into the night. The Nationals need a closer, not just any closer but one their starters knows will have their backs when need be. So many games are won and lost after the 8th inning and to know that the bullpen is light out, will do wonders for a pitcher’s confidence. Jansen is the guy the Nats must attack.

Possible Trade Pieces

Jayson Werth- He doesn’t fit into the Nationals plans anymore and should be dealt to see what teams are in need of an average outfielder who has both good and bad days at the plate.

Stephen Strasburg- He has had his moments and can still be a reliable pitcher but his days of being an ace is over. Every season it’s something else with his arm or shoulder and it’s time for the Nats to see what his trade market value is. It will hurt to see him go but if they can possibly get two young arms in return it will be worth it.

Bold Prediction

If the Nationals can cut the dead weight that is Werth and get some value in return then they have a great shot at the NLCS nest season. If the team can get a resurgence that Strasburg will be healthy to pitch a full season then he is worth keeping around. While there are teams looking to make a deal to stay relevant, the Nats have the majority of the pieces in place to make another run without gutting their lineup. Their main issue of concern is the Closer role. If they can persuade Jansen that the grass is greener in DC, expect the Washington Nationals to be heavy favorites entering the 2017 season. My bold prediction is that the team will stand pat and not make any moves and roll the dice with what they have.

And be sure to check out all of our Winter Meetings coverage here at INSC! You can check out more team previews and other MLB Winter Meetings pieces here!

 

 

 
 



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Mark Wilson
Mark began his writing career for Yahoo then Rant Sports before deciding to head out on his own at TruluvSports. Now, he is lead NBA writer as well as co-owner of Inscribermag. His topic ranges from sports, Lifestyle, Sex, live streams and more. Mark's work has been featured in Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Bleacher Report, Fox Sports, MSN, Yahoo Sports and many others. No one is perfect but he does his best to provide fans with an honest opinion and not the saturated, watered-down sports and news everyone dishes out.