- Opening Day for the 2023 MLB season is March 30.
- The Nationals play their season opener against the Braves at Nationals Park.
For many Washington Nationals fans, the excitement and celebration of the 2019 World Series feels like an eternity ago. Now, a few years later, the team is deep in rebuilding, and the last three seasons have been less than inspiring.
Still, a new season brings with it new hope, so where do the Nationals stand going into 2023?
Washington Nationals Offseason Transactions
The Nationals made a few moves in the offseason, topping up their roster after losing players to free agency. Steve Cishek, Will Harris, César Hernández, Joe Ross, Aníbal Sánchez, and Nelson Cruz all became free agents at the end of the 2022 season, and Sean Doolittle was only re-signed to a minor-league deal.
Friendly reminder that Keibert Ruiz is the most wholesome catcher in baseball.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 11, 2023
From free agency, the Nationals signed pitcher Trevor Williams (two years, $13 million), outfielder Corey Dickerson (one year, $2.25 million), first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith (one year, $2 million), and third baseman Jeimer Cadelario (one year, $5 million).
The team also re-signed catcher Keibert Ruiz (eight years, $50 million) and pitcher Erasmo Ramírez (one year, $14 million).
Washington Nationals Odds
- Odds to Win NL East: +25000
- Odds to Win National League: +25000
- Odds to Win World Series: +50000
All odds are as of March 17.
Washington Nationals Win Total
The Nationals’ win total for the 2023 season is 60.5.
It’s depressing to say, especially since it’s a pretty low bar to clear, but I don’t think the Nationals will manage 60.5 wins in 2023. Last season, they ended with an underwhelming record of 55-107, and a lot of their early offensive power was thanks to Juan Soto and Josh Bell, both of whom were traded away at the 2022 deadline.
Personally, I think even matching their 55 wins of last year will be a big effort.
Washington Nationals Predictions
Prediction: The Washington Nationals will not win the NL East.
The Nationals are still very deep in a rebuild, and I think it’ll be a few more seasons before they’re considered a threat in the NL East. With the Mets, Braves, and Phillies coming in with chips on their shoulders, the best the Nationals can realistically hope for is just to do better than last season — and as I said above, that’s pretty optimistic.
The Nationals’ 2023 roster is made up of a lot of players yet to make a name for themselves, and some who I’m assuming they hope will one day net trade returns.
The entire lineup is a mishmash collection of random players from various trades (CJ Abrams, Keibert Ruiz, and Josiah Gray) and anyone available via free agency for cheap. Across the board, the list seems to be less about filling specific roster holes or finding players with long futures in the organization and more just asking, “Who wants to move to Washington?” and seeing which players answer.
The Nationals simply don’t have much power in their lineup. Aside from Abrams and Ruiz, who both performed well in 2022 and are on the shortlist of players who will likely be with the Nationals long-term, Washington will have to hope new acquisition Smith stays healthy. There’s a lot of talent in the Nationals’ farm system that may make appearances, but considering the team is playing the long game with a lot of their young players, there’s no reason to rush anyone’s development in a season that’s already a bit of a write-off.
Gray will return as the Nationals’ ace starter, and with Cade Cavalli out for the season after Tommy John surgery, the next big hope for the team is MacKenzie Gore. Gore struggled toward the end of 2022, but I still think he has a lot of potential if the Nationals can nurture it well.. He could definitely be a bright spot.
I know this hasn’t been a particularly uplifting preview, but as I’ve said multiple times, the Nationals are rebuilding. They’re testing out talent, developing young players, and nurturing others for future trades. I expect Washington to be very active at the trade deadline, but other than that, I hope Nationals fans are in it for the long haul. They’ll need to be.
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