The Washington Nationals and Manager Davey Johnson face quite a dilemma coming down the stretch in the 2013 season. How should the Nationals handle their September call ups?
Most teams know where they stand by this point in the season. In the playoffs, in the midst of a playoff race, or out of contention. The Nationals, however, once again fall somewhere in the middle. They are not in the thick of a playoff race as they sit 8 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the wild card race. But they also are not necessarily out of it as there is still a glimmer of hope.
First of all, I will make the case for leaving the recent Minor Leaguers on the bench. The Nationals have nothing to lose as far as the rest of this season. Why not make run final run at the postseason? (It feels like we have been saying that for months) Outside of Bryce Harper, there are no lingering injuries Nationals management has to worry about so there is virtually no risk by putting the best players on the field night in and night out. There is still a chance even if it is small. Also, Davey Johnson must remember this is his final ride, and it would sicken him to know that he gave up on the team before they were mathematically eliminated.
Still, a case can also be made for getting some of the younger players valuable Major League experience. Even if the Nationals do not lose another game this season, the Reds would have to play near .500 baseball for Washington to reach the postseason. So the organization must contemplate, is it really worth losing valuable experience for younger players to try and make an almost impossible run at the postseason.
Once again, the Nationals face a difficult decision. It seems like the they must make one on a weekly basis. Most likely, Rizzo and Johnson are only going to play players who were previously not on the 25 man roster during games where the outcome has already been decided. This is Johnson’s final shot. He wants to go down swinging.