Offseason In Review: Washington Nationals

Next up in our Offseason In Review series, the Nationals.  Click here to read what I wrote about the team on September 10th.

Additions:  Adam Dunn, Scott Olsen, Josh Willingham, Daniel Cabrera, Javier Valentin, Alex Cintron, Wil Ledezma, Josh Towers, Freddie Bynum, Brad Eldred, Joel Guzman, Terrell Young, Gary Glover, Gustavo Chacin, Jorge Sosa, Jose Castillo, Corey Patterson

Subtractions: Jim Bowden, Tim Redding, Odalis Perez, Luis Ayala, Jon Rauch (midseason) Emilio Bonifacio, Felipe Lopez, Aaron Boone, Paul Lo Duca (midseason), Charlie Manning

Nationals starters tossed 880.6 innings last year, with Redding and Perez accounting for nearly 40% of that.  The Nats paid those veterans $1.85MM.  This year, they’ll spend $5.4MM on Olsen and Cabrera, younger hurlers with upside.  It’s a solid swap.  With the return of John Lannan and the emerging Jordan Zimmermann, it’s a younger, more interesting rotation.

I wrote in September:

Hopefully Jim Bowden won’t become too obsessed with Adam Dunn this winter (assuming Bowden keeps his job).  Dunn doesn’t fit on this team. They’re in the beginning of a long rebuilding process.

It turns out Bowden kept his job just long enough to sign Dunn, who probably won’t be a part of the next good Nationals team.  The money would’ve been better spent on the June draft – the Nats have the #1 and #10 picks.  The Nationals’ new GM will have to hit a home run with that draft, and may also be charged with trading Nick Johnson and signing Ryan Zimmerman long-term.

If a $20MM commitment to Dunn was Bowden’s worst winter move, though, that’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things.  And Bowden does deserve a parting gift for his acquisition of Olsen and Willingham.

Bottom line: Bowden’s out; 2009 is about finding the right GM and stocking the farm system.

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