Washington Nationals Win World Series, Will Lose In Free Agency


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Nationals Park during Game 5 of the 2019 World Series

Jack Mezey, Reporter

At 10:50 p.m. on October 30, 2019, Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley struck out in the bottom of the ninth of game seven to end the World Series. The Washington Nationals had just won D.C.’s first championship since 1924, when the local team was still the Washington Senators.

This victory surprised almost everyone that had paid any attention to the regular season at all. The Nationals were 19-31 at the end of May. They had the fourth worst record in baseball, and the second worst in the National League. At the All-Star Break, the Nationals had the third best record in the National League at 47-42. The Nationals ended up scraping their way into the playoffs with a 93-69 record. They had home field advantage against the Milwaukee Brewers in the winner take all National League Wild Card Game. The Nationals won by the score of 4-3, thanks to a costly error by Brewers outfielder Trent Grisham.

The Nationals then moved on to beat the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the NLDS. 

They had no trouble in the NLCS at all. They swept the St. Louis Cardinals in four games.

Next up, the 2019 World Series against the 2017 WS Champions, the Houston Astros. The Astros entered the World Series with almost a 60 percent chance of winning. The Nationals roster was definitely up to the task. They had a perfect balance of young, rising stars and seasoned veterans. Their young phenom Juan Soto could not drink for the first half of the series. Yet their reliever Fernando Rodney is old enough to be Soto’s father.

It took the Nationals seven games, but they finally got the job done with the help of home runs by Anthony Rendon, Adam Eaton, and Howie Kendrick.

The Nationals had their parade back in D.C. the following Saturday. They then visited the White House the next Monday, with the exclusion of seven players. They all had reasons for not appearing, mostly political. 

This was the last chance for this Nationals team to be together one last time.

All attention now turns to Free Agency. Arguably the biggest name on the market is Nationals third baseman and NL MVP candidate Anthony Rendon. The Nationals would certainly love to have him back, and they have decent odds at retaining the star. The Angels, Cardinals, and Rangers are all also in the mix. The Rangers have a much better chance at signing Rendon than most people think, simply because he is a Texas native. Not to mention, 20 miles away from Globe Life Field, there is a town named Rendon.

When asked if he thinks the Nationals have a chance at resigning Rendon, Harrison Kemmer’23 said, “No, I do not because his hometown Texas Rangers are going to snag him.” 

The other big name available is Houston Astros star pitcher Gerrit Cole. Cole is expected to break the record for the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history. He has said that he would like to go to a Los Angeles team, whether that be the Angels or Dodgers. The top landing spot for him is the Angels, with the Yankees and Dodgers not too far behind. 

The last big free agency target for many teams is Stephen Strasburg, who opted out of his contract after the World Series win. The Nationals are still heavily favored to retain the World Series MVP with the Yankees looking like the only other team that could have a chance at snagging him.

Can the Washington Nationals expect to compete for another World Series next year?

My answer is that it all depends on free agency. However, my predictions for next season will be assuming that the Nationals miss out on Rendon and Strasburg. 

The Nationals will go 85-77 next year and will place second in the NL East, behind the Braves. They will get the bottom Wild Card spot and lose to the Chicago Cubs. “With Rendon and Strasburg most likely leaving the team, I think their pitching staff will be decent, but I do not think it will be good enough to get them to the World Series,” sophomore Jack Carmichael said.