Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wore the 2019 World Championship ring on Friday as a reminder of his franchise’s annual goal.
There won’t be another one this season, with only a handful of players left from that tournament they won less than two years ago. This week the Nationals traded eight players, and among those distributed to contenders were Max Scherzer, two-time winner of NL Cy Young in Washington, and All-Star Shortstop Trea Turner.
“It’s a tough decision to make, but often a decision is made for you,” said Rizzo, whose team is now nearing the base of the NL East standings. “It was this year, and we realized where we were and the work that was ahead. We decided to start a construction process that would allow us to compete at the highest level.”
The conclude teardown of this title team from the final 162 conclude baseball games came faster than the Chicago Cubs. In their sale prior Friday’s deadline, the Cubs swapped out two of their biggest remaining pieces of 2016 that ended the 108-year title drought – Chris Bryant, the NL MVP of that season, and famous first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
After deadline moves rocked both teams’ formations, the Cubs opened Friday night’s series in Washington against the Nationals.
Washington completed deals with six distinct contenders, and sent the biggest trade deal of Scherzer and Turner to the defending World Championships Los Angeles Dodgers. The Nationals even broke up with previous Cubs player Kyle Schwarber, who hit 25 players in 72 games in his only season in Washington.
While the Citizens have had all their deals done over the former two days prior the deadline, the Cubs have expressed a willingness to take steps when sending Jock Pederson to Atlanta on July 15.
But the dismantling of the 2016 club’s remains accelerated as the deadline approached. Chicago picked up two potential New York Yankees versus Anthony Rizzo on Thursday, then moved Javier Baez with Trevor Williams and money to the New York Mets on Friday for defensive back Pete Crowe-Armstrong.
“I did a lot of exceptional things in fore of a fan base that hadn’t seen a world championship in 108 years,” said Anthony Rizzo. “Those moments will never be let down. The joy that our core group and team have had over the former six or seven years in Chicago has brought so much joy to people, not only in Chicago but I feel across the country. We’ve been an accessible team.”
Then there was the decision to transfer Bryant, who would become a free agent following the season. It was shipped to San Francisco just minutes prior the deadline for two junior officers. It was hours following Craig Kimbrel, who was not part of the 2016 squad, crossed town to the White Sox for Nick Madrigal and pitcher Codi Heuer.
“I would like to personally thank Anthony Rizzo, Jaffe Baez and Chris Bryant,” CAPS president Tom Ricketts said in a statement. “Together they have played significant roles for one of the most thriving courses in Chicago Cubs history. Each has earned a place in the hearts of Cubs fans everywhere. While their days taking the field together as the Cubs ended, they gave us memories we will treasure forever.”
Things moved faster for the citizens. Mike Rizzo traded the closest Brad Hand (to Toronto) and Schwarber (to Boston) on Thursday, dispatched loyalist Daniel Hudson to San Diego beforetime Friday, then moved catch Yan Gomez and player Josh Harrison to Oakland. Pitcher John Lester was dealt late to St. Louis.
It was Hudson who scored the winning world championship strike in Houston in 2019, and Gomez was behind the plate.
The Nationals had 12 players on their deals, most notably catcher Keibert Ruiz and right-hander Josiah Gray of the Dodgers.
Scherzer threw a pair of hitters in 2015, won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2016 and 2017 and went 92-47 with a 2.80 ERA in his seven seasons with the Nationals. He was set to become a free agent following this season, but Turner still has another year of referee eligibility.
“We got everything about this group that we could have gotten out of, and we hit the highest levels,” said Rizzo. “For 10 years in a row, we competed with the best and brightest in baseball. We were as pleasing as anyone else in the game. We won four division titles, been in the playoffs five times, and won the world championships with this group. There is no shame in having to go down.” .
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