SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010.
Today: Washington Nationals (2009: 59-103, last in NL East)
STARTING PITCHING Stephen Strasburg is the name to know here. The phenom should fill seats for each one of his appearances. It's not too much of an exaggeration to say he should be Washington's best starting pitcher in almost 40 years. Beyond Strasburg there isn't much. If the Nationals really want to sell tickets, they should make Strasburg a long reliever so fans can see him pitch almost every game.
LINEUP Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn in the three and four spots are fun to watch at the plate. That's probably why the Nationals are batting shortstop Cristian Guzman second in the order. Guzman had just 16 walks in 555 plate appearances last year. He does his job by quickly getting out so everyone can enjoy the main attractions. True team player.
BULLPEN Washington's big acquisition in the bullpen is new closer Matt Capps, who was cut from the PITTSBURGH PIRATES in the offseason for not being good enough for the PITTSBURGH PIRATES!!!! Capps to the Nationals is like giving cancer to a person with AIDS.
BENCH Free agent acquisition Pudge Rodriguez will provide depth to the catcher position and be a valuable pinch hitter off the bench. In return, Rodriguez will earn a salary that will help him pay off his gambling debts or whatever financial problems he must have to force him to close his Hall of Fame career by playing for the Washington Nationals.
OUTLOOK It's sad, but a reasonable goal for the Nationals in 2010 is to not lose 100 games. And it says here that they will indeed meet that goal. Losing between 101 and 110 is a safer bet.