2021 Washington Nationals
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2021 Washington Nationals / Franchise: Washington Nationals / BR Team Page
Managed by Dave Martinez
History, Comments, Contributions
There were cracks in the foundation for the 2021 Washington Nationals when the season started. After winning the 2019 World Series, they had goner through a very disappointing season in 2020, missing the expanded postseason. They had failed to make a serious effort to replace 3B Anthony Rendon when he left via free agency, and were caught short-handed when two members of the formidable threesome that had brought them the championship, Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg, failed to contribute. Not much was done to address these shortcomings during the off-season, so there wasn't too much optimism that the Nats would bounce back, in spite of still having some outstanding talent and playing in a weak division. The Nats started slowly, then got going in late June, largely on the back of slugger Kyle Schwarber, threatening to catch-up with the division-leading New York Mets, but Schwarber soon got hurt, and the air seemed to go out of the push all at once.
As a result, just at the same times as the Chicago Cubs were busy clearing house, the Nationals began doing the same as both recent champions put on a fire sale. The Nationals became the first team to trade three players who were All-Stars before the end of the season. In their case, it was P Max Scherzer and SS Trea Turner, who were sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade netting four prospects, and OF Schwarber, who went to Boston Red Sox. They completed the housecleaning by dealing various and sundry veterans, including C Yan Gomes and 2B Josh Harrison, who went to the Oakland Athletics, closer Brad Hand, set-up man Daniel Hudson and SP Jon Lester. In contrast with the Cubs, there was a bit more return in terms of prospects, including the well-regarded Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz obtained from the Dodgers, as the objective was to build around the few remaining pieces - mainly OFs Juan Soto and Victor Robles.
Awards and Honors
- Zach Crizer: "Why the Cubs and Nationals fire sales are signs of a new type of rebuild in MLB", Yahoo! Sports, August 2, 2021. 
- Gabe Lacques: "'It's crazy how good it feels': After week of COVID-19 misery, Washington Nationals open with dramatic Juan Soto walk-off", USA Today, April 6, 2021. 
- Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru: "Nats listening on all but Soto 'at right price'", mlb.com, July 27, 2021.