The Washington Nationals know what’s coming. They’re running about as expected a year into the organization’s full restart, 24 games under .500 and 22.0 games in the NL East. They are likely to move any players whose contracts expire this year again, just as they did at last season’s trade deadline. So there will be major changes again, like last July 30, although the trade deadline is August 2 this year.
So how does the club deal with the stress of knowing what lies ahead? And what are their plans in a month?
“I guess if we’re playing at the pace we’re playing, we’ll probably be careful sellers and make sure we’re at least maximizing players with expiring contracts, and I don’t think that would come as a shock to anyone,” General Manager Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in DC’s Sports Junkies beginning of last month.
Nationals manager Davey Martinez spoke after the fourth straight loss to Miami on Monday, and the fifth straight loss overall for his club, about how his team is handling it all, knowing that more changes are likely and that the clubhouse is going to look different. months from now.
“For me, it’s just where my feet are,” Martinez explained, “…making sure these guys understand – a lot of things go through a player at this time of year, which can happen , but I talk to these guys every day about, ‘Hey, you can’t control the business side of this game, all you can control is what you can do’, and that’s so c is – whatever you play, just keep playing hard and understand that one day you hear rumors about something, the next day you’re going to hear rumors about something else, nothing happens until for that to actually happen, so go out there and play and have fun, and these guys have been good at coming out and playing.
However, the Nationals haven’t had much success on the field this season, adding to the stress of potential moves, and there will be more changes with the evolving organization, with discussions ongoing over a potential sale. , and all the drama about Juan de Soto’s future, with the 23-year-old slugger under the control of the team for two more seasons after that and who is said to be in the market for a record deal, whether it’s an extension with the club that signed and developed him or another club through free agency.
Through 80 games and 344 plate appearances, Soto has a .226/.384/.449 line, 16 doubles, 15 homers, MLB’s best 68 walks and 52 Ks on the year. How does he deal with chatter, rebooting and whatever else he’s busy with this season? He is also struggling with a calf issue at the moment.
“You know what, he’s been good, and you saw him today, even though he went out, pinch kick, last inning, he’s up there screaming for his teammates,” said Martinez said.
“When [Ehire] Adrianza gets a hit, and the first voice I hear is him, ‘Let’s go, we’ve got this.’ And it’s great.
“Look, Juan is a National, right? And I still feel like he’s going to be National.
“So for him it’s – I know he tries to do a lot to help this team. I really do. I think that’s part of it. His frustration comes from the fact that he wants — whenever he’s going up there, he wants to do something special, and I said to him, I said, “You have to understand that you have to accept what the pitchers give you, take your walks, and just be ready to hit , and play good defense, and run the bases hard, that’s all I can ask of you, so things are gonna change I saw your struggles last year, and before you know it , you were exactly where you needed to be at the end of the year, so I know you’re going to hit, and I know you can hit, so keep playing tough baseball.’”
Soto isn’t the only one frustrated with the way things are going for the club.
“Look, as we all know, I’m about as frustrated as anybody, because a lot of these games, we should be winning, and we’re not,” Martinez continued, “…but these guys are frustrated too, and they play hard and they don’t give up, as you can see some of these guys get the opportunity to play, and they play really hard, and that’s all I I can ask them, but we have to keep doing it, like I said, and trying to get wins on the other side of that – what we’re going through right now, and winning games, and the things are going to change, but I can’t think about the deadlines, I have to sit at home tonight and figure out who’s going to play on the right field tomorrow if Soto can’t play, and the bullpen, and things of that nature then, but we have to keep going, and I can’t say enough about my coaching staff, who – every day they stay positive with these guys, and we’re all here for them and trying to help them. Especially the young guys we have, try to help them succeed and have fun.
Martinez said last weekend that he had instructed his coaching staff to be patient with the players as they grow through the majors, and to teach them as well, providing them with advice where they can as the whole organization tries to get back to the gains of 2012-2019. .
“Yeah, honestly, and I’ve always said this, but we have to be patient, we really do,” Martinez said.
“We have to understand, and I don’t want to say that in a – but when I talk to our coaches, I always tell them, to me, we have to treat these guys like they’re from Mars, and they don’t know. nothing, and I stick to it every day, and you sound like a broken record, but that’s our job, isn’t it? These guys must understand, until the day they tell you again, and when you start doing that, you realize that, ‘Hey, they’re really starting to understand, and we’re starting to see that, but it’s every day.
“I go through it, I tell them almost the same things every day, but they start to understand. And you start to see signs of that.