If I were the GM heading into the season I would have one overriding hope. Let us make it through the season with no major injuries. That's not to say I'd rather be uninjured than win, but if the team gets a major injury the whole season becomes a big "what if"? I don't know how good this team will be when that person comes back. I'm forced to re-evaluate my whole outlook that I've been thinking about since the end of last season. I'm know I haven't prepared my team for a major injury - that's a questionable use of resources. I'm going to get blamed for the losses anyway so let me at least get blamed for the team I wanted to put out there for the year.
The Nats have had a couple minor bumps and bruises so far, nothing major. But the thought of Ryan Zimmerman being out for any extended period of time is scary. The team started Alex Cora in his place yesterday. Alex Cora. That's a "Saved by the Bell" to "Saved by the Bell The New Class" type drop off (I'll see you in hell Weasel Wyzell! - hmm unfortunate turn of a phrase) The team itself is already in rough shape offensively. The only regulars batting over .240 are Espinosa and Zimmerman (and Ramos but he's not a regular - oh they say he'll get more playing time, then start Pudge immediately after that. It's been a 50/50 split so far, let's see what they do in the next 2 weeks before I believe they are fully behind Ramos and they aren't just saying he's going to play more time to appease us rabble rousers for a couple months). They can't afford to lose anyone and certainly not their best player. Now losing Adam LaRoche...
LaRoche has looked bad so far this year. So what. 10 games. BUT he's also been injured and tweaked himself again yesterday. That is worrisome. LaRoche's stats are pretty decent but that is under the assumption he is healthy. If he's not, it throws the whole poorly contstructed, half-hearted, building year Plan C game plan out the window. The Nats didn't need LaRoche to be great - but they did need him to be ok for an entire season. That is what was going to replace Willingham in the lineup. It was also going to be a defensive thing and if he is slowed by a nagging injury all year long, that kind of negates that too. I guess the Nats hopes would then pin on Chris Marrero but there is a reason the organization isn't that high on him anymore. (He does have age on his side - but still I don't see him as ready for the majors in 2011 and that's what we're talking about here) It wouldn't be Zimmerman bad if LaRoche went down but it would still kill the offense.
Just for giggles some 2011 stats so far
Adam LaRoche: .194 /.306 /.290 (1 HR)
Derek Lee: .219 / .324 / .344 (1 HR)
Carlos Pena: .190 /.333 /. 238 (0 HR)
Josh Willingham: .242 /.297 /.545 (3 HRs)
Josh is last in OBP? And has a league leading 14 Ks? Someone changed his approach.