I've decided to continue the theme of bests and worsts this week, and this edition will cover the best possible Nationals roster. After compiling this list, I was mostly disappointed, but in the last six years, this is all we've got to work with.
In order to meet the criteria, the player had to play for the Washington Nationals, not the Nats franchise, and have been a big league player; minor leaguers don't count. Here we go:
Livan Hernandez (2005) - Livo went 15-10 for a .500 team, pitched almost 250 innings, and was the Opening Day pitcher for the first ever Washington Nationals game. He's the ace without a doubt.
Esteban Loaiza (2005) - Loaiza had an average career, but did basically what the Nats asked of him. He came in, he pitched well, earned a 3.77 ERA, threw more than 200 innings and kept the Nats alive.
Stephen Strasburg (2010) - The excitement that Strasburg brought to the Nationals organization earns him a spot here. Even if something disastrous happens and he never pitches again, no one will ever forget that game on June 8, 2010. I still get chills thinking about it.
I cannot finish the rotation. Absolutely no one else is worthy of the list. Sad, indeed.
C Brian Schneider (2005) - In 2005, Schneider was the rock of the Nats organization. He caught the first ever pitch for the team (Both from President Bush and Livan); he was a solid bat for a catcher, but mostly he was a clubhouse presence to be reckoned with.
1B Adam Dunn (2009-2010) - In his two years, he crushed 76 home runs and knocked in 208 RBI. That's all you need from your organization's clean up guy.
2B Jose Vidro - Who else? Jamey Carroll? Ronnie Belliard? No. Danny Espinosa does not qualify.
SS Cristian Guzman (2008) - Guzzie had over 600 plate appearances in 2008 and had a .316 batting average. He also struck out a career low 57 times. He was one bright spot in the terrible 2008 lineup.
3B Ryan Zimmerman - 2009 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner. Likely 2010 Gold Glove winner. This is a no-brainer.
LF Alfonso Soriano (2006) - Soriano won the Silver Slugger in '06, made the All-Star Game, and finished 6th in MVP voting. He's one of only 2 players in NL history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in one year. One unbelievable feat.
CF Nyjer Morgan (2009) - It pains me to do this, but it has to be Nyjer in 2009. He finished the season with a .307 average, and he hit .351 while with the Nationals. His on-base % was an astounding .396 with the Nats that year.
RF Jose Guillen (2005) - Guillen hit .283 with 24 homers in 2005 with the Nats. He was a crucial part of the success that the 2005 team had in the first half, and he stayed healthy. It was one of Guillen's last above average years.
So that's it, the All-Time Bests. Depressing, isn't it? Friday I'll be posting the All-Time Disappointments around lunch time, which makes for a much more entertaining read. Seriously, some of the players the Nats signed... or tried to sign... at one point is simply comical.
Disagree with this list? Let me know in the comments!