The Nats, as you can sort of tell, ranked fourth, with a projected WAR gain of 5.2. The WSJ’s summary:
4. NATIONALS (5.2) Key Acquisition:SP Edwin Jackson (3.2), SP Gio Gonzalez (3.1) Key Loss:OF Laynce Nix (0.9) Outlook:If Stephen Strasburg comes back healthy, the Nationals will have one of the best young rotations.
Also this week, CBS Sports’s Jon Heyman ranked the 30 teams by their offseason moves. He also had the Nats fourth.
4. Nationals. I don't love Gio Gonzalez’s 1.48 lifetime road WHIP, but he’s a talented, young lefthanded starter who’s exactly what they needed. Of course, they still could use a center fielder.
Preferably one represented by Scott Boras. Anyhow, neither Heyman nor the WSJ have money riding on the Nats’ improvement, so the most important development of the week may have come from the Las Vegas Hilton. This write-up comes courtesy Covers.com:
The LVH SuperBook on Sunday became the first Vegas sportsbook to release MLB win totals, and no team drew more immediate action than the Nationals. Washington opened at 82.5 wins and was quickly bet up to 84.5.
“People really like this team,” assistant book manager Chris Bennett said, noting some analysts are picking the Nationals to win the wild card. “The No. 1 reason is Stephen Strasburg. Then they added Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson, they’ve got Jordan Zimmermann. Their starting pitching looks by far the best it’s ever been. It’s a tough division, but this is clearly the best Nationals team they’ve ever had.”
When Vegas and the Wall Street Journal are on your side...well, it’s better than just enthusiastic local columnists, anyhow.
(Vegas link via @Sportsyack)