The Washington Nationals have never won a playoff series.
They are currently below .500, at 62-63, and sit 7.5 games out of the NL East lead and 6.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot.
Things are not looking great in Washington, and it appears the Nats have given up on 2018, and possibly the next several years, as they have traded Daniel Murphy to the Chicago Cubs and Matt Adams to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Murphy has been one of the game’s most consistent hitters over the past few seasons, and is currently slashing .300/.341./.442 with 57 hits. The 33-year-old second baseman is unlikely to start over MVP candidate Javier Baez, but is expected to see action at third base in Anthony Rizzo’s absence, which is perhaps the biggest reason the Cubs pursued Murphy.
Washington received Class A infielder Andruw Monasterio and a player to be named later for Murphy and cash considerations for Adams.
A Bryce Harper departure was rumored, as the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly claimed him off waivers, but nothing came to fruition and Harper will stay put for the rest of 2018.
This turn of events differs from their plan from several weeks ago, which was to hold on to Harper and compete for a playoff spot.
The small return paired with the departure of two solid veterans signals a salary dump, however, team owner Mark Lerman said this is not a rebuild in a letter to Nationals fans. He did say it was “about giving us some roster flexibility, giving us the opportunity to see some of our young talent, and seeing if we can still find a combination or two that could spark a difference.”
The Nationals frequented the bottom of the standings after their departure from Montreal before Harper made his MLB debut and had an immediate impact on the entire league. During his time in Washington, the team has made four playoff appearances, never getting past the Divisional Series.
Despite Lerner’s statement suggesting otherwise, as Harper enters free agency and signs point to him signing elsewhere, it appears that it’s time for the Nationals to hit the reset button.