If there is a team that could be considered the polar opposite of the juggernaut-like Philadelphia Phillies that team would be the Washington Nationals. The Nationals are a team on the rise under GM Mike Rizzo, in his short tenure he has added the best defensive OF in the game and made some moves to prepare the Nationals for contention in the not-to-distant future.
SS: Christian Guzman CF: Nyjer Morgan 3B: Ryan Zimmerman 1B: Adam Dunn LF: Josh Willingham RF: Elijah Dukes C: Ivan Rodriguez 2B: Adam Kennedy Bench: OF Willie Harris, C Jesus Flores, IF Ian Desmond, OF Michael Morse, IF Alberto Gonzalez
Pitching Staff: SP: Jason Marquis SP: John Lannan SP: Craig Stammen SP: Scott Olsen SP: J.D. Martin CP: Matt Capps RP: Brian Bruney, Tyler Clippard, Jason Bergman, Eddie Guardado, Sean Burnett, Garrett Mock
The Nationals offense was good in 2009 and occasionally even looked great. The pitching staff, however, was abysmal. GM Mike Rizzo took steps to fix that by drafting Stephen Strasburg the 2009 amateur draft and by signing Jason Marquis in the offseason. There is also news today that the Nationals are the front-runner to sign Chien-Ming Wang from Free Agency... we'll see. Rizzo also completely remodeled the bullpen by adding Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, Eddie Guardado, and Garrett Mock (among others). The pitching staff "should" be better in 2010, the young arms have had some seasoning and they have added some stability. Also, both the offense and defense should be better this year. A full year of Nyjer Morgan in the OF (and no Adam Dunn), dramatically improves the Nats defense. The offense added Adam Kennedy to play 2nd and Ivan Rodriguez at catcher. There are many reasons to be optimistic about the Nats in 2010, but the biggest reason will likely start the year in AAA - Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman two of the best young pitching prospects in baseball and they are preparing to join the Nationals... soon. In 2010 - I think Nats fans should prepare for more of the same old, same old... 5th place in the NL East.