As the MLB regular season comes to a close, there are no pennant races that are titillating the fans, so the focus remains on the Bryce Harper-Jonathan Papelbon dugout incident. An offshoot of that discussion: What the hell happened to the Washington Nationals this season? World Series favorites to not even playing in the postseason?
The Washington Post dove deep, and what the paper found isn’t pretty. For instance, there was this:
A crucial homestand began with a listless, 10-3 loss to last-place Milwaukee. On that Saturday morning, Werth arrived at the ballpark and looked at the lineup card posted on a bulletin board that hangs on the wall just outside the main clubhouse. Clint Robinson was penciled into left field, where Werth plays. Rendon was penciled into the leadoff spot, where Werth had been hitting. Werth’s name wasn’t on it.
What might have been a minor blip in a successful season became a boiling point. Incensed, Werth ripped the lineup card off the wall, bellowing that it was going to change. Then, according to several people who were present, he confronted Williams — not just about whether he would play that day, but about what most of the clubhouse considered to be a chronic lack of communication with his players. Among the most jarring barbs, from Werth to Williams: “When exactly do you think you lost this team?”
So Matt Williams was handed the keys to a Lamborghini, and after much reckless driving, decided to pick up GM Mike Rizzo, who proceeded to acquire Papelbon, which sent the team careening over the edge.
Just fire Williams and Rizzo and start anew. No point in wasting another season of Bryce Harper before he inevitably leaves for the Yankees.