A Nats Surprise?

Updated: February 8, 2014

The Nationals are going to win it all this season. I can feel it. News again of the possibility of A.J Burnett coming to town makes me feel even more confident. This isn’t Dan Haren, this is an inning eating strike out pitcher. Just last season AJ worked nearly 200 innings, averaged more than a k per and had an excellent ERA (3.30) and WHIP (1.21). Can you imagine Doug Fister as a fifth starter? Burnett turned 37 last month and he has really ever gotten a handle on his control problems. Despite those minuses, A.J. can still approach the low to mid 90′s and I love that knuckle curve. Although Burnett is from Arkansas, his off-season home is just north of Baltimore in Monkton. While this didn’t help the Orioles in their pursuit of A.J., it sure didn’t hurt.

Will the Nationals surprise us again this season? 2013 was actually a year of disappointment across the board in the DC Pro Sports scene. We brought in the New Year in basketball with John Wall sidelined with a stress fracture in his left knee and the Wizards already eliminated at 4-24. All that was left was to dream of ping pong balls. Hey, at least we ended up with Otto Porter, he is better than Rashard Lewis right? Oh well never mind. The Capitals were the only tease among our pro teams. They had an exciting new manager, their star player Alex Ovechkin was winning trophies and they were champions of the Southeast Division. They led the New York Rangers two games to none and then three games to two. Surely we could win one of the last two, at least game seven is at home… Moving along to the Redskins, the excitement of Robert Griffin III during his rookie season, turned into the frustration of his sophomore campaign. Losses piled up and the coach always loses the fight with the star quarterback. I have a question about the new Coach…. How is it we hired Gruden, but his first name isn’t Jon? By the way, does Jay Gruden have any kids? Scott Turner, Brian Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier Jr., Coy Gibbs and Kyle Shanahan were wondering.

Back to those Nationals, oh so close in 2012, but like the Redskins we were going to come back the following season and seal the deal, right? Everything came together so perfectly for the Nationals, the picks of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Other young players developing at about the same rate, maturing at the same time. Names like Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann are the foundation of the franchise. A year ago, the greatest Manager of All-time, Mr. Dave Johnson, simply had to settle down Drew Storen, but to be certain, someone went out and signed Rafael Soriano. It’s the little things in baseball, the team had traded Mike Morse and failed to retain the very nasty left handed relievers. Staying within a budget, I get it.. but then the big deal for Soriano seemed to topple the carefully crafted franchise all coming together perfectly. I sort of get that same feeling with all the buzz about signing A.J. Burnett.

I love the writing at Sports on Earth. In the new world of twitter, timing is important and they have managed to stay relevant without the rush to get it wrong. Speaking of wrong, is it wrong to load up your fantasy teams with players from your favorite teams? It’s not as applicable if you are in a league with a bunch of guys and you all live in the same town with the same home team. Where it becomes problematic is when you are in a league and you are the only one from your home town and every other owner knows you “must” have your star players.

So many fantasy options out there these days. Experts, sites to host your league, the list goes on. In trying to make things easier, I feel the myriad of sources is making things harder. CBS Sports does a magnificent job with fantasy sports, not only in league management, but in advising as well. My NBA, NFL and MLB leagues have been run by them for well over 20 years, they got it down! Now on to their advice on the team that will have many of my fantasy players this season. :)

Follow Tom Blaz on #twitter @AubieTom