The Washington Nationals won it all just three seasons ago, but a lot has changed since that campaign. Franchise stalwarts like Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, and Juan Soto have all exited. Key 2019 contributors Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin still remain, but their situations are both quite uncertain going forward. The franchise has entered a re-build, and the Nationals’ moves this offseason reflect just that.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario
- LF Corey Dickerson
- SS Jeter Downs
- OF Stone Garrett
- 1B/LF Dominic Smith
- RHP Thad Ward (Rule 5)
- RHP Trevor Williams
With Washington in the midst of a rebuild, the Nationals opted to have quieter offseason. The Nationals made a number of pickup to fill out the roster for 2023, highlighted by the signings of Jeimer Candelario and Dominic Smith.
The 29-year-old Candelario put up solid seasons in 2020 & 2021 with the Tigers, but recorded just a .633 OPS with Detroit last season. Canderlario joined Washington on a one-year deal, as did Dominic Smith. The former Met first baseman put up an explosive performance in the abbreviated 2020 campaign, but success at the plate has eluded the former first-round pick since his breakout. The 27-year-old Smith will look to accrue regular time with the Nats this upcoming season.
Washington also picked up two interesting arms in right-handers Trevor Williams and Thad Ward. Williams had success in a long relief/fill-in starter role with the Mets in 2022. Williams recorded a career-high 2.3 BB/9 last season, and struck out 84 over 89.2 innings. Ward, meanwhile, heads to Washington after being selected from the Red Sox organization in the Rule 5 Draft. The right-hander showed power stuff in the Sox system, as the 25-year-old struck out 261 batters over 216.2 career innings in the Minors.
After an emotional Trade Deadline that saw the Nationals deal away the team’s face of the franchise, the losses this winter were much more subdued. DH Nelson Cruz will join the Padres this upcoming season after a rough 2022 campaign in Washington. Cesar Hernandez, Aníbal Sánchez, and Luke Voit also entered the free agent market. Voit, one of the pieces received by the Nationals in Washington’s massive deal with San Diego this past winter, headed to market after the first baseman recorded a 95 OPS+ in 53 games with the Nats.
Former Nationals first-round pick Erick Fedde inked a deal with the NC Dinos of the KBO earlier this winter.
After the Nationals’ 2019 World Series championship campaign, Washington has failed to record a winning season. That most likely won’t change come 2023, as the Nationals have jumped at full speed into a rebuild. It’s not set to be a pretty season in DC, but the Nationals could improve from a brutal 55-win campaign last season if Washington can receive decent contributions from the veterans signed this past winter.