Matt Adams’s backpack was pulled tight, a hat on backward, as he walked up the dim ramp from the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse to the players’ parking lot Tuesday afternoon. Clubhouse manager Mike Wallace walked alongside him, pushing a cart that contained a Nationals duffel and a bat bag, helping Adams open the door and carry them out to his car and into a final six weeks of the season spent elsewhere. Soon after, Daniel Murphy took the same route, heading out into the light and on to Chicago, his Nationals tenure over because he and his teammates just didn’t play well enough.
The Nationals traded three-time all-star Murphy to the Chicago Cubs and first baseman-left fielder Adams to the St. Louis Cardinals, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. In so doing, they all but waved the white flag on a season that began with World Series hopes and a roster talented enough to fulfill them. This team, under this general manager, has never before given up on a roster this talented.
“These moves allow us financial flexibility going into the 2019 season, to allocate our resources in that direction,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “These are tough decisions. To trade an ultimate professional like Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams is never easy. We feel that this was the best way to facilitate what we’re trying to do not only in 2018 and beyond. We always have the one-, three-, five-year plan in place, and this helps expedite those plans.”
Three weeks ago, at the nonwaiver trade deadline, the Nationals decided against selling off. The front office assembled potential deals, presented them to ownership, then decided to give the team a chance to steady itself. Over the next three weeks, the team did not gain ground. It did not tread water. Instead, Washington lost more games than it won and fell further behind in the National League East standings. On Tuesday morning, it was a game under .500 and 7 1/2 games out in the National League East, coming off an inexplicable and unacceptable 12-1 loss to the last-place Miami Marlins on Sunday.
By: Chelsea Janes