Friday, May 24, 2013

Did We Just Watch The NLCS For The Next 5 Years?

The Giants and Nationals wrapped up a 3 game series at AT&T Park the other day that almost had that playoff atmosphere to it. The Nationals are built with some good talent and were picked by many, including this guy, to win the NL East. They are sitting at 24-23, 4.5 games behind Atlanta at the moment. Washington has been hit with a couple of injuries, and the hole that has become Danny Espinosa's bat, but overall they have the talent to sustain long term success.

Sound like a team we know? Yup, the Giants are poised in a very similar fashion. They are currently 26-21, in a 3 way tie with Arizona and Colorado atop the NL West. Just like the Nats there have been a couple of injuries as well some under achieving. But the Giants are poised for a future thanks to Brian Sabean. 

The General Manager of the Nationals is Mike Rizzo. He took a hit from the fans last year with the decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg. Considering how he has built this team he has to still be considered pretty good at is job. The Nats have a lot of their talent locked up for a while. Much like the Giants, they should contend every year.

Here's some of the Nats core players and their contracts.

Player Name                  Age/Pos.              Contract
Ryan Zimmerman             28/3B                    7yrs/$102mil | $18mil club option for 2020
Jayson Werth                   34/OF                   5yrs/$99mil
Gio Gonzalez                   27/SP                    4yrs/$37.75mil | $12mil club option for 2017
Bryce Harper                   20/OF                    3yrs/$6.4mil | Arbitration in 2016
Denard Span                   29/OF                    2yrs/$11.25mil | $9mil club option for 2015
Rafael Soriano                33/RP                     2yrs/$22mil | $14mil club option for 2015
Stephen Strasburg          24/SP                     1yr/$3.9mil | Arbitration in 2014
Ian Desmond                   27/SS                     1yr/$3.8mil | Arbitration in 2014

Here are the Giants.

Player Name                   Age/Pos.              Contract
Buster Posey                    26/C,1B                 9yrs/$164mil
Matt Cain                          28/SP                    5yrs/$100mil | $21mil club option for 2018
Madison Bumgarner         23/SP                    5yrs/$32.5mil | $12mil club option for 2018-19
Angel Pagan                     31/OF                    4yrs/$45mil 
Marco Scutaro                  37/IF                      3yrs/$20mil
Pablo Sandoval                26/3B                     2yrs/$14mil
Sergio Romo                    30/RP                     2yrs/$9mil
Brandon Belt                    25/1B                      1yr/$532K | Pre-Arbitration in 2013
Brandon Crawford            26/SS                     1yr/$530K | Pre-Arbitration in 2013

Looking at the two lists above the names that dominated this recent series are all over it. The Giants and Nationals seemed to raise each other's game. Yes, Monday was a blowout, but that was more frustration being turned in to runs. The matchup had everything we look for in a good playoff series.

Jayson Werth and Marco Scuatro are the biggest risks by both clubs, and the young talent is sewn up for years. Both teams have good young arms, as well as young players that are stepping in on the cheap. The Brandons might cost a lot more money soon.

It was nice to see the Nats bring out the best in the Giants. The two teams match up well and have great long term futures. I know Atlanta has made some moves, and the Dodgers ans DBacks are always lurking, but this feels different. The expanded playoff round makes it tougher to line up, but these teams are poised to fight for the NL crown for the next 5 years.

Stats and Info: Baseball Reference 

Eric Nathanson
Catch me on Twitter: @2outhits

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