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Ryan Zimmerman hasn¡¯t been good for three years, according to Baseball-Reference¡¯s WAR, but the Nationals gave him more than 400 at-bats last season because, well, they¡¯re paying him, and the abject misery of his 2016 season crept up on them.
Jayson Werth hasn¡¯t been good for two years, according to Baseball-Reference¡¯s WAR, but the Nationals gave him more than 600 at-bats last season because, well, they¡¯re paying him, and it¡¯s not like they were overflowing with better options.
This is the year where it will be much, much easier for the Nationals to make an upgrade. Zimmerman¡¯s contract isn¡¯t up for three more seasons, but there isn¡¯t a team in baseball that would put up with another season like his 2016. Werth¡¯s contract is up this year, and the light at the end of the financial tunnel will make it easier mentally to transition to a new solution.
They’re still looking to collect their first power-conference scalp since moving to FBS, but it’s only a matter of time. They get shots at Georgia and Wake Forest in 2017, Penn State in 2018, and North Carolina in 2019. Someone’s going down at some point.
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It’s incredible to step back and realize how smoothly Appalachian State has acclimated to a higher weight class. It’s easy to skip straight from “The Mountaineers were the class of FCS in the mid-2000s” to “They might be the Sun Belt’s surest thing” and ignore what came in between, but this program briefly lost its way.
Following the title run of 2007, the Mountaineers continued to win under legendary Jerry Moore but lost their edge. They went from averaging 13 wins to 11 and fell in earlier rounds of the FCS playoffs to emerging powers like Richmond, Montana, and Villanova. Then, in 2011-12, they went just 8-4 each year.