2019: "New" (old) players' spirit brings a world championship
The Nats' front office decided to be patient with Dave Martinez after his disappointing debut as the Nationals' manager in 2018, and it paid off. The Nats parted ways with Bryce Harper, who signed with the Phillies, but reached terms with two key arbitration-eligible veterans during the 2018-2019 offseason, Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner. They signed Brian Dozier to a one-year contract to take Daniel Murphy's place at second-base. Catcher Yan Gomes was acquired in a trade with the Indians in November, and Kurt Suzuki (who played with the Nats in late 2014 and early 2015) returned to serve as the "backup backup." Adam Eaton had a successful full season, after suffering serious injuries early in his first two seasons with the Nats. Newly-acquired veteran pitchers Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez occupied the third and fourth positions in the starting rotation, while the fifth spot remained in a state of flux. Max Scherzer pitched superbly during the first half of the season, but struggled with ailments during the second half. Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto provided amazing offensive firepower, and Ryan Zimmerman returned to his old slugging form late in the season. The first two months of the 2019 went badly for the Nationals, with inconsistent hitting and very unreliable relief pitching. In late May, however, they finally rebounded, and energized by newly-acquired veterans such as Gerardo Parra and relief pitcher Daniel Hudson (making the Nationals one of the oldest teams in the majors), they surged into second place during July. In spite of the record-setting pace the Nationals achieved over the last four months of the season, they couldn't catch up to the Atlanta Braves, settling for a wild card spot -- the first time they have made it to the postseason by that route. They Nats beat the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Game, then beat the L.A. Dodgers 3 games to 2 in the NLDS (thanks to a tenth-inning grand slam by Howie Kendrick), swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, and somehow found a way to beat the Houston Astros 4 games to 3 in the World Series. Stephen Strasburg was named World Series MVP. It was the first such championship in the history of the franchise, and the first time since 1924 that Washington, D.C. has claimed baseball's highest honor.
|CF: Victor Robles .255
Michael A. Taylor .250
|LF: Juan Soto .282||RF: Adam Eaton .279
Gerardo Parra .250
|SS: Trea Turner .298||2B: Brian Dozier * .238
Asdrubal Cabrera .323
|3B: Anthony Rendon .319||1B: Matt Adams .226
Ryan Zimmerman .257
|C: Yan Gomes * .223
Kurt Suzuki * .264
|Batting average for position players, ERA for pitchers
Manager: Dave Martinez
|* (asterisk): new player;
Underlines indicate second-string players
whose photos are shown.
- Kyle Barraclough (AE) -- trade with Marlins: 3 years left, $?? million (Oct.)
- Trevor Rosenthal -- 1 year +, $7+ million (Oct.)
- Kurt Suzuki -- 2 years, $10 million (Nov.)
- Yan Gomes -- trade with Indians: 1 ++ years left, $8 million ++ (Nov.)
- Patrick Corbin -- 6 years, $140 million (D) (Dec.)
- Matt Adams -- 1 year +, $3 million (Dec.)
- Anibal Sanchez -- 2 years +, $19 million (Dec.)
- Brian Dozier -- 1 year, $9 million (Jan.)
- Anthony Rendon (AE) -- 1 year, $19 million (Jan.)
- Trea Turner (AE) -- 1 year, $4 million (Jan.)
- Joe Ross -- 1 year, $1 million (Jan.)
- Jeremy Hellickson -- 1 year, $1 million (Feb.)
New contracts of note
"+" = bonus incentives for salary, or optional extension (mutual or otherwise) for contract length. "D" = part of salary is deferred. "AE" = arbitration eligible. "FA" = free agent signing. Dollar figures are rounded.
- February 28, 2019 -- Bryce Harper signed a 13-year $330 million contract with the Phillies.
- March 31, 2019 -- Trea Turner homers twice, incl. 9th inn. walk-off to avert sweep: WSH 6, NYM 5
- April 9, 2019 -- Rally from 6-1 deficit: V. Robles homers in 9th inning, J. Soto homers in 10th inning: WSH 10, PHI 6 @
- April 28, 2019 -- Matt Adams walk-off homer in the 11th inning, after homers by Soto, Robles, & C. Kieboom: WSH 7, SD 6
- May 11, 2019 -- Gerardo Parra hits a grand slam in 8th inning, in his 2nd game as a National: WSH 5, LAD 2 @
- May 25, 2019 -- Patrick Corbin throws a complete-game shutout; WSH 5, MIA 0
- May 29, 2019 -- Anibal Sanchez throws 5 perfect innings; WSH 14, ATL 4 @
- June 9, 2019 -- Nationals hit four consecutive home runs in 8th inning; WSH 5, SD 2
- June 22, 2019 -- Nats bullpen gives up 9 runs in last 3 innings; Trevor Rosenthal is released; ATL 13, WSH 9
- July 18, 2019 -- Stephen Strasburg strikes out 7 batters, and gets 5 RBIs on 3 hits, including a home run; WSH 11, ATL 4
- July 23, 2019 -- Trea Turner hits for the cycle (his 2nd), Nats score 8 in 7th inning; WSH 11, COL 1
- July 29, 2019 -- Stephen Strasburg strikes out 9 and hits an RBI single, Nats avoid sweep; WSH 11, LAD 4 (I was there!)
- Aug. 14, 2019 -- Nats score 10 runs in 5th inning (3 HRs) and 6 in the 6th; WSH 17, CIN 7.
- Sept. 3, 2019 -- Mets score 5 in top of 9th, Nats score 7 in bottom of 9th; Kurt Suzuki walk-off 3-run HR; WSH 11, NYM 10.
- Sept. 24, 2019 -- Grand slam by Trea Turner in 6th inning bails out Max Scherzer; Nats clinch wild card; WSH 6, PHI 5.
- Oct. 1, 2019 -- 3 runs score on a single by Juan Soto (+ RF error) in 8th inning, Nats win wild card game; WSH 4, MIL 3.
- Oct. 9, 2019 -- Grand slam by Howie Kendrick in 10th inning, Nats win NLDS Game 5; WSH 7, LAD 3. @
- Oct. 15, 2019 -- After 7 runs in 1st inning, Nats hold on and complete a sweep in the NLCS; WSH 7, STL 4.
- Oct. 30, 2019 -- After falling behind in Game 7, Nats hit two homers in 7th inning and win World Series; WSH 6, HOU 2. @
2019 memorable moments
"@" = away game
|Month||Wins||Losses||NL East place
*April data include three March games.