2010 Washington Nationals Season Preview
The Washington Nationals are still oh so far away from competing for even fourth place in the National League East, but there is finally a buzz about the club in 2010.
Of course, that buzz has to do with pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, who was drafted and signed by the team last year. Many believe he is the best pitching prospect in many years, and he is often compared to Roger Clemens. That's pretty high praise.
The Nationals have added pitcher Jason Marquis to the starting rotation, a quality veteran who should help guide what is generally a very young pitching staff.
With young, talented guys like Jordan Zimmermand, Scott Olsen and John Lannan already in the rotation, Marquis will have an opportunity to become a mentor.
Washington also signed Chien Ming Wang to a one-year contract, a very nice, under-the-radar type move. The risk is low and the reward could be great should Wang be healthy again and get back to his 2006 and 2007 form when he won 19 games each year.
Matt Capps has also joined the team. The former Pittsburgh Pirates closer struggled last year but at least gives the bullpen someone with experience trying to finish off games in the ninth inning.
On the offensive side, the Nationals signed catcher Ivan Rodriguez to serve as the team's backup. Whether or not he becomes more than just a backup could depend on what type of numbers he puts up in the first couple of months of the season.
This team will have a tough time driving in runs, but they do have a couple of mashers in the lineup.
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman really had a strong 2009 season and was at times the hottest hitter in the league. It also doesn't hurt that he plays Gold Glove caliber defense at the hot corner.
Outfielder Adam Dunn came up just shy of 40 home runs, but he can absolutely mash with the best of them. You've never seen a towering home run until you've seen Dunn knock one out of the ballpark.
Shortstop Cristian Guzman surprised everyone with a productive 2009 season, but it remains to be seen whether it was a fluke or if he can come back and duplicate it.
For a team that won just 59 games last year, is there really any place to go other than up in 2010?