The Washington Nationals made a run in the second half of the 2013 season but ultimately fell short. As they set their sights on the players that they might want to make a run at during the offseason, the Nationals will also be taking a look at which players will not be back in D.C. in 2014.
There are a few players who have appeared to have played their last game in Washington this past season and probably won't make it through the offseason as members of the Nationals.
Let's take a look at some players who likely will not be a part of the 2014 Nationals squad.
Drew Storen racked up 43 saves in 2011. He had three this season and posted a 4.52 ERA, a career high.
Storen never seemed to recover after imploding in the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2012 playoffs. Perhaps a change of scenery will do Storen well, and the Nats should trade him off and allow him to start fresh in a new city.
Storen even had to be sent down to the minors this season where he pitched in six games and posted a 5.68 ERA. Storen pitched better after being recalled, but it appears to be a mental dilemma with Storen and D.C.
There will certainly be a team that will put some faith in Storen and add him to their rosters. He is only 22 years old, but D.C. might not be the place for him to figure things out.
Dan Haren owned a 4.67 ERA and 10-14 record in his first season in Washington in 2013. That is more than enough for the Nationals to choose not to re-sign the free agent pitcher in 2014.
Haren was simply horrendous before the All-Star break, compiling a 5.61 ERA and a 4-10 record. The optimist would argue that his 3.52 ERA in the second half is something that the Nats can look at and consider having him around for one more season.
It is hard to overlook that start however, and if he was to return and start in the same fashion, then the Nationals will finish without making the playoffs once again. With depth in the pitching rotation in the form of Ross Detwiler and Ross Ohlendorf, it appears that Haren's days are done in D.C.
Danny Espinosa's troubles are quite alarming and the Nationals have recognized that. Espinosa appropriately spent most of the season in the minor leagues.
Espinosa has been plagued by a low batting average and high strikeout rate during his career, and the development of Anthony Rendon and insurance of Steve Lombardozzi will allow for the Nats to move on from Espinosa.
There will be a team that gives something up in an attempt to fix Espinosa considering that he is only 26. He has shown he can hit 20 home runs and approach 40 doubles, so someone will take a waiver on him. The Nationals should get out while they can still get something for him.
The Nationals will likely have to pay a chunk of LaRoche's contract, but it seems likely that he will no longer be a part of the Nats in 2014.
2013 was dreadful for LaRoche, as he accumulated only 20 home runs and 62 RBI, down from his 2012 numbers of 33 and 100. LaRoche did not have to replicate those numbers, but it would have been useful to the Nats if he could have come close.
There are plenty of other players that could play first base and help the team more than LaRoche, including former Nat, Michael Morse. Washington has to take a look at their team and evaluate if LaRoche is going to help or hinder them in his final year of his contract.