Samson: Nationals "A Team Of Destiny"

After years of postseason heartbreak, the Washington Nationals won the World Series in Houston on Wednesday

Taz and the Moose
October 31, 2019 - 9:38 am
Washington Nationals World Series

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After years of postseason heartbreak, the Washington Nationals broke through in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday, beating the Astros 6-2 in Houston.

And this may have been their last, best chance at a title with this core group, as Antony Rendon and World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg are free agents.

“They smartly let Harper go, and we knew that would be addition by subtraction,” CBS Sports MLB analyst David Samson said on Taz & The Moose. “They had Rendon as sort of the superstar, and Zimmerman is the emotional leader. You lose Rendon, you want Soto to step up to that, but he’s going to be 21, 22 years old. I still think he’s a few years away from being that, but he’s certainly a core piece.”

Soto, who turned 21 last Friday, had a .373 OBP with five home runs and 14 RBIs in the playoffs.

“In terms of pitching, you’re expecting Strasburg to opt out, but you signed Corbin and he’s got that long-term deal and you’ve still got Sanchez for another year,” Samson said. “They need to be a team of destiny again. I don’t think they have what it takes to be a dynasty, which is what Houston was trying for, but it turns out being a team of destiny matters more than being a team of dynasty.”

The Astros, meanwhile, were seeking their second World Series title in three years but came up short. They had a 3-2 series lead heading back to Houston but lost Games 6 and 7 by a combined 13-4.

Interestingly, Gerrit Cole did not pitch in Game 7, even as the Nationals scored all six of their runs in the seventh inning or later.

Surprising?

“I’m not surprised at all,” Samson said. “He’s a free agent. His agent is Scott Boras. That tells you all you need to know about him, the player. He wants the money, and he was going to get the money anyway. If I’m the Astros, I’ve got to pitch him no matter what. But A.J. Hinch prepared me for it. He said during a press conference, ‘I don’t want to get him hurt. I want him to go into free agency as healthy as he can be.’ I’ve never heard of such a thing. I want rings. That’s all I care about, and that’s all that should matter. So it was a disappointing pitching move that smelled a lot like both money and analytics.”

In the end, the road team went 7-0 in the World Series. Samson wonders if that could impact how contending teams approach the final month or so of the season going forward.

“What if now (home-field advantage) doesn’t matter?” he asked. “What if players and teams realize I don’t need to expend that much energy because I can win on the road just as easily? That’s a major thing. What happens if this year becomes a trend? That’s going to really impact baseball.”