Somewhat surprisingly, the Washington Nationals became sellers at the 2021 MLB trade deadline.
The fact that they moved ace Max Scherzer wasn’t particularly surprising, given the fact he is already 37 and will be a free agent after the season.
However, they decided to move on from Trea Turner, an All-Star shortstop who is easily a top-five player at his position, and Kyle Schwarber, who went on a crazy home run streak before straining his hamstring with the Nats.
The Nationals also traded closer Brad Hand, one of the most reliable relievers of the last five seasons, to the Toronto Blue Jays.
You could say with confidence that star outfielder Juan Soto was left alone on the Nats.
Juan Soto will be all alone… holy cow https://t.co/LGEqFlbvdX
— Kevin Plowcha (@burghsportsszn) July 30, 2021
As a result, the team is currently 51-68 before playing Wednesday’s games.
The Nationals Are In Free-Fall Mode
They have lost eight of their last 10 contests.
That record is actually worse than the Chicago Cubs and the Colorado Rockies.
The Nats are only better than the Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League.
Since the trade deadline, Washington has gone 3-13.
Most of the core that won the 2019 World Series is now gone.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon signed with the Los Angeles Angels before last season, Scherzer was traded, Turner was also flipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and co-ace Stephen Strasburg has missed most of the season with health issues.
It’s pretty clear that the Nationals didn’t have the means to fight with the elite clubs in the NL.
Perhaps with a healthy Strasburg and most of the guys who were traded, they could have fought for the division with the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and New York Mets.
The NL East is, after all, one of the weakest divisions in baseball.
But Strasburg was never fully healthy, the team started losing games after Schwarber got injured in June, and Washington preferred to cash in on Scherzer’s strong season.
Schwarber's was the most devastating hamstring pull in the history of baseball. Complete collapse.
— Robert Cross (@RobertC62696706) July 26, 2021
Those two will clearly be of big help tomorrow, but the ‘today’ is really decimated.
Their Roster Is In Bad Shape
In baseball, there is no way to hide a bad roster over a 162-game season.
Teams, even mediocre ones, can often go through hot streaks that may make them look invincible for five or 10 games, but a full season allows us to determine which are the really, really good clubs.
A 162-game season really tests the star-power and depth of an organization, and it’s pretty clear, at this point, that the Nationals have neither.
But there is no question that two years after winning the World Series, the Nationals have really bottomed out and are playing like one of the worst teams in the league.