The next few weeks are going to determine a lot for the Washington Nationals.
It’s natural to look at those NL East standings and see the potential of another division title and a return to the postseason, but there’s still a daunting stretch of the schedule on the horizon.
Want a real gauge of what type of team you are? This stretch will tell us whether they truly are a playoff team, or need to look to the future by the July 31st trade deadline.
After their series with the Tampa Bay Rays wraps up, there are back-to-back four-game sets with the Dodgers and Padres, followed by a three-game series with the Giants before all the All-Star break.
Take a look at those NL West standings and you quickly realize all three of those teams would easily be in first place in the NL East.
Oh, and then there’s three more games with the Padres starting July 16th to kick off the second half of the schedule.
These upcoming games will give us a much more definitive answer to the question are the Nationals buyers or sellers this year?
Right now the easy answer is yes, having won 13 of 16 before their final game with Tampa. If this pattern continues, even at a slightly less successful rate, I mean, we’d all be crazy to want this team to sell right?
But what if things start to slow down? What if these World Series contenders out west bring the Nationals back to Earth?
That means it’s time for Mike Rizzo to start thinking about the future.
Rizzo hasn’t really been a big seller at the deadline, given the long run of success over the years. But, they’re now faced with a depleted farm system and lack of youth ready to be a part of the next foundation for this organization.
The Nationals will have to have self-awareness in July. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in the short term if you want long-term success.
If they keep on winning, then go for it. If not, then it’s time to look in the mirror and give an honest answer.
The future of the organization depends on that.