The Washington Nationals are contenders to win the 2012 World Series. Take a second to think long and hard about that statement. Since the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2005, the team has never finished better than 3rd place in the National League East (in 2011). From 2005-2010, only one time did the club finish better than dead last in the division.
There are many different explanations for the Nationals’ sudden success. Even though Stephen Strasburg will be shut down for the remainder of the season and postseason, he has been instrumental in Washington’s surge. And without Strasburg, the roster remains strong. Mike Rizzo, as General Manager and Executive Vice President of baseball operations, is largely responsible for the club’s make-up, which includes high profile free agent signings and a willingness to open up the wallet with drafted players. Certainly, the Nationals’ miserable overall records of years’ past put the team in a position to select players at the top of the MLB Draft and then provide them handsome compensation.
Strasburg went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA this season. Edwin Jackson has logged 163.2 innings and maintained a 3.63 ERA. Right fielder Jayson Werth has a .308 batting average and an .OPS of .854. Danny Espinosa has performed well in the field with a .989 fielding percentage and has added 16 home runs on offense. And of course there is Bryce Harper, the young prodigy who has 18 home runs, 13 stolen bases, and an .OPS of .785. Rick Ankiel has performed well when needed, as has reliever Mike Gonzalez.
What do all of the aforementioned players have in common? They are all represented by baseball agent Scott Boras. If the Nationals win the World Series, does he deserve his own ring?
The Nationals and Scott Boras have such a tight relationship that earlier this year, the former media relations manager for the club left to join Boras Corp. After Jayson Werth became a Washington National (agreeing to a 7-year, $126 million deal), Boras stated, “It’s an ownership that I thought did a very, very good job demonstrating that they’re going to step into this and make themselves into a competitive franchise.” This from someone who is a master of leverage and rarely provides a public compliment for any organization. A relationship between the Nationals and Boras that already appeared to be strong could become even tighter should the Nationals (with many Boras clients on the 25-man roster) win the World Series.