Three way tie: No bright future in sight for the Washington Nationals

Let’s roll back the clocks to 2005. The Redskins just made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons under the tutelage of legendary head coach Joe Gibbs. The Wizards posted their best regular season record in 26 years behind the best backcourt in the NBA (Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes). Finally, baseball has returned to Washington, D.C., appropriately reassuming its infamous position of last place both in the standings and in the minds of fans.

The point is, it was not too long ago that our beloved Wizards and ‘Skins were thriving, but when was the last time DC had a good baseball team? Well it was 1924 to be exact, and the team was led by star pitcher Walter Johnson. To be fair, that team went on to make something of itself, as they became the Minnesota Twins (which made the playoffs this year).  Whereas in 2005, DC was graced with the castoff Montreal Expos, an expansion franchise synonymous with failure.

Unfortunately they have done little to shake that infamous reputation, amassing an unimpressive record of 328-444 in their five year stint here. But even if you ignore history, there can still be no dispute that the Nats are far and away the worst team in Washington. Optimists like to point to a crop of young players and high draft picks who will allegedly lead a D.C. baseball resurgence. The facts say otherwise. 

The current Nationals roster is built around “franchise-player” Ryan Zimmerman, who in four seasons has managed to make it to one All-Star game. Aside from Zimmerman and free-agent signee Adam Dunn, any fan would be hard-pressed to name a single hitter who opposing teams fear.

The rotation and bullpen are not much better, as no Nationals pitcher has been named to an All-Star game since former closer Chad Cordero in the inaugural season. While first overall pick and baseball-messiah Stephen Strasburg should help, it is important to remember that he will likely start this season in the minors and is probably a year or two away from becoming a real contributor.

Heck, the Nationals should be happy they even got Strasburg! The last pitcher the Nats spent a first round pick on, Aaron Crow, elected to sit out a year and then sign with the Kansas City Royals rather than play for the worst team in DC and possibly all of professional baseball.

Crow was not the only potential Nat signee who turned out to be a total fiasco, as the Nationals were the only franchise dumb enough to throw $1.4 million at 16-year-old Dominican prospect Esmailyn Gonzalez. Gonzalez turned out to actually be 20, and the ensuing debacle cost Nats GM Jim Bowden his job.

In all honesty, there can be no debate as to who DC’s worst sports team is. The Nationals, who have posted four fifth place finishes and one fourth place finish in the five-team NL East, are not just DC’s worst, they are baseball’s worst. They are more than just bad; they are an embarrassment to the city and the game. When it comes to the Wizards and ‘Skins we can at least take solace in the success of years past and the promise of a bright future. For the Nats, we’re not so lucky.