Oct 6, 2013, 6:18 AM EDT
It figures to be a long six months until Opening Day 2014 when the Nationals play at the New York Mets, and much of the Nats’ offseason objectives do not involve specific deadlines or dates. That said, there are plenty of days for Nats fans to look forward to this fall and winter as they wait for next season.
First, there are the announcements of 2013 awards. The Nationals aren’t expected to win any of the big ones, but there should be some representation in vote totals. Later in the year there is also the Rule 5 draft which could net the Nats some new young prospects, or see some of their own head elsewhere.
Here is a preview of some key dates to look for this offseason:
Oct. 29 – Gold Glove Awards announced
Nov. 6 – Silver Slugger awards announced
Nov. 11 – Rookie of the Year awards announced
Nov. 12 – Manager of the Year awards announced
Nov. 13 – Cy Young awards announced
Nov. 14 – Most Valuable Player awards announced
The Nationals were raking in the honors last year as Davey Johnson was named best manager, Bryce Harper the NL’s best rookie, as well as several Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove. This year should be a much different story with no Nats in the mix for any of the major 2013 awards.
Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg may get votes in the Cy Young race. Jayson Werth will most certainly finish high on the list in MVP voting, and Ian Desmond will likely get votes as well. Tanner Roark could get some consideration for NL Rookie of the Year, though a stacked class will keep him away from the top.
Where the Nats may see some attention is in the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger race. Desmond won the Silver Slugger for NL shortstops last year and had a similar season in 2013. He was also a Gold Glove finalist in 2012 and was about as good a year later.
Those who watched Denard Span play center field this year expect him to at least be a Gold Glove finalist for NL center fielders. It is, however, anything but an exact science and the defensive awards can be quite unpredictable.
Werth will surely be considered for the Silver Slugger in right field, but it’s a stacked field with Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Beltran and Jay Bruce also playing the position.
Important dates for front office
Five days after World Series – Deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to pending free agents
12 days after World Series – Deadline for free agents to accept qualifying offers
December 9 – Last date to outright player before Rule 5 draft
December 9-12 – Winter Meetings (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.)
December 12 – Rule 5 draft
As far as potential free agents, the Nats don’t have any players set to walk that require difficult decisions to be made. Chad Tracy and Dan Haren are both unlikely to return and everyone else is under contract for next season.
Where matters will get interesting in the Hot Stove season are which players around the league enter free agency. The Nationals aren’t expected to make any major splashes by bringing in new players, but you can never discount Mike Rizzo. He may not make a big move early in the process, but the last three offseasons have taught us the Nats are always in the mix for the big names now.
Before the 2011 season they signed Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche, before 2012 it was Edwin Jackson, and ahead of the 2013 season they signed Rafael Soriano and Dan Haren, and also traded for Denard Span. Will the Nats bring in somebody along those lines this year? It wouldn’t seem likely, but you never know.
The Rule 5 draft could also bring some roster changes to the Nats, though not on a large scale. In recent years the Nats haven’t been active in acquiring players, instead seeing their own go out the door to other teams. Last year Jeff Kobernus and Danny Rosenbaum were selected, and then returned via the Rule 5 draft.
Here’s a brief history of the Nats and the Rule 5 draft:
2012 – Lost LHP Danny Rosenbaum to Rockies (returned to Nats), lost Jeff Kobernus to Boston Red Sox (traded to Tigers, returned to Nats)
2011 – Lost OF Erik Komatsu to Cardinals (claimed off waivers by Twins, returned to Nats)
2010 – Selected RHP Elvin Ramirez from Mets (returned), lost IF Michael Martinez to Phillies, selected RHP Brian Broderick from Cardinals (returned)
2009 – Selected OF Jamie Hoffman from Dodgers (traded to Yankees, returned to Dodgers), lost RHP Zech Zinicola to Blue Jays (returned)
2008 – Selected RHP Terrell Young from Reds, selected OF Ricardo Nanita from White Sox, lost RHP Luis Ortega to Royals, lost RHP Josh Perrault to Orioles,
Dates yet to be announced
Jan. TBA – Nats Fest
Feb. TBA – Pitchers and catchers report
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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