Nationals fans may not want to re-live the pain quite so soon, but Barry Svrluga recapped the Nats’ tumultuous 2015 season in a three-part series for the Washington Post. The first entry focuses on the early-season hype as World Series favorites that was only slightly dimmed by several injuries and Ian Desmond’s struggles, while the second part looks at Bryce Harper’s superstar year and Stephen Strasburg’s frustration. The third and final installment is perhaps the juiciest in terms of behind-the-scenes information, as Svrluga tracks the discord of the last two months (including the disastrous Jonathan Papelbon trade and the Nationals’ fall out of contention) and reports on a clubhouse confrontation between Jayson Werth and Matt Williams. The entire series is a must-read look at how a seemingly can’t-miss team fell to pieces, to put it mildly.
Here’s some more from around the baseball world…
- The Nationals’ drama has helped take some of the Beltway media focus off of a disappointing Orioles season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, as rumors continue to hint at tension between Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter. There has been speculation that Showalter could take over the baseball operations department and Cal Ripken Jr. could become the new manager, but both Showalter and a Ripken spokesperson deny the rumor. Sherman also hears from an Orioles employee that owner Peter Angelos wouldn’t want to hire Ripken since it could create an awkward future situation if Angelos had to fire the franchise icon.
- The Red Sox have quietly been one of baseball’s best teams in the second half of the season, a hot stretch that gives the franchise a lot of hope for 2016, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes. Speier recaps some of the key events of the last two months and focuses on how many of Boston’s young stars took a step forward in recent weeks.
- This hot streak may have also had something to do with Hanley Ramirez playing less and less before eventually being shut down for the season, as Speier reports on tension between Ramirez and the coaching staff. A source says that Ramirez was “ostracized” from his teammates partly due to this conflict stemming from Ramirez’s unwillingness to work on his left field defense.
- Some major names with big contracts could potentially be dealt this offseason, former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd writes in a piece for MLB.com. Of the five names O’Dowd lists (including Joey Votto, Robinson Cano, Matt Kemp and Werth), I would guess his old outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is the most likely trade candidate.
- The Blue Jays were the big winners at the trade deadline, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper writes in his recap of which teams helped themselves most on or prior to July 31st. Most of Cooper’s “helped themselves” picks are playoff contenders, unsurprisingly, though it’s worth noting that the NL West-winning Dodgers lead the “not helping” category, having gained a negative bWAR from their deadline acquisitions.