Citizens of Natstown's 2016 Preview and an Offseason Review
Washington Nationals pitchers and catchers report today! Which in a baseball sense really isn't all that meaningful or exciting. However, it is a perfect arbitrary date to begin our Citizens of Natstown Washington Baseball Annual Vol. 4 This Time It's Not A Book edition. Yes, this season instead of charging you three dollars to read all of our brilliant Nats preseason insights in one convenient place, we're dragging it out with one post a day with all the usual player profile goodness and more, maybe. But before we give you all the nitty, gritty details on all 40 players on the Nats roster, plus loads of prospects, let's do a quick rundown of the offseason so we're all on the same page going forward.
So the season ended and the Nationals quickly fired human tapioca pudding cup Matt Williams from his manager spot. And then nearly as quickly they hired a new manager: BUD BLACK! OK folks, I have to apologize, the first runner up was Bud Black, the Nationals’ 2016 manager is Dusty Baker. And with him he brought one of the best pitching coaches in the game in Mike Maddux (yes, brother of that Maddux) along with some other, less exciting but still good coaches.
On the players side, because they were a group of persons who had watched the 2015 Nationals bullpen, the front office quickly moved to dump broken, older middle relievers David Carpenter (who most forgot was ever on the team) and Craig Stammen (who most will forget is no longer on the team) and got some nice, almost new, preowned middle relievers. Yusmeiro Petit, Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelley will all take over the enviable task of not blowing important leads in the seventh inning.
The Nationals also tried to sign Darren O'Day, but didn't. They tried to sign infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist, but didn't. They tried to sign outfielder Jayson Heyward, but didn't. They tried to sign Mike Leake, and didn't. And there was much sadness in Natstown.
And then there was a trade! Yunel Escobar was shipped off to the City of Angels, but really it's Anaheim for another reliever, Trevor Gott and some jetsam. Gott will also be put to the task of not blowing important leads in the seventh inning.
So now with even fewer middle infielders than they already had before, the Nationals tried to trade for Brandon Phlllips, and didn't. Then they signed Daniel Murphy, and there was much rejoicing! Well except for those who aren't thrilled about his comments on possibly having a gay teammate last offseason. But otherwise the Nats had finally convinced some sucker to join their team of his own free will. And for good measure they convinced another sucker, I mean middle infielder, to join them in Stephen Drew to provide some needed depth.
After that the Nationals celebrated by avoiding the dreaded arbitration hearing with all of their arbitration eligible players while the casual fan continued to completely misunderstand how arbitration works. Then the Nationals tried to sign Justin Upton, and didn't. They tried to sign Yoenis Cespedes, and didn't. Then they got the hint and finally stopped trying to sign people.
But that didn't stop them from making another trade. This time they shipped off professional big game blower Drew Storen to Toronto for Ben Revere. And there was much rejoicing, even in Canada where those friendly rubes didn't know any better, but they will, oh they will.
Anyways that was apparently it for the Nationals offseason. They signed some dudes to minor league deals including: Bronson Arroyo, Reed Johnson, Sean Burnett, Brendan Ryan, Matt Belisle, Chris Heisey, Scott Sizemore and Jhonatan Solano. But none of those people are important, so you can go back to not caring who they are. Oh also I forgot to mention that Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond, Denard Span and Doug Fister became free agents and Zimmermann and Desmond got and rejected the qualifying offer. Oh and Jonathan Papelbon is still on the team, sorry.
So that's everything that happened in the offseason in a nutshell. Be sure to check in here every weekday from now to the start of the season for a new player profile and sometimes other goodies. Because once the season starts we go back to our post whenever we feel like it schedule.