Bryce Harper and Trea Turner play on, but the Nats did the right thing

What If Harper, Turner, and Soto Stayed with the Nats?

Imagine a world in which the Washington Nationals had the power to predict the future and keep their star players. What if they had a soothsayer and a hypnotist on staff, able to see into the future of their players and persuade them to stay in D.C.? This tantalizing thought experiment takes us down a rabbit hole of possibilities, where Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Juan Soto, still with the Nationals, become playoff stars. However, the reality isn’t as sunny as it seems.

If the Nats had made the tough decision to let Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon go, their future success would have been uncertain. While they may have retained their Big Three, their team would lack depth, and their chances of winning championships would dwindle. Their rotation would be made up of questionable pitchers, and their farm system wouldn’t be as promising. The outlook would be grim, with only a few prospects expected to make an impact in the following years.

Comparing this hypothetical scenario to teams like the Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres, who despite having stars, struggled to achieve success, it’s clear that the Nats’ decision would not have guaranteed championships. There are countless permutations of what they could have done, and team building isn’t the only source of joy for fans. Watching an entire career unfold, like Cal Ripken Jr.’s in Baltimore, is part of the magic of baseball.

The Nats could have made different choices, but every decision has consequences. If they had kept Harper, Turner, and Soto, they would have had to sacrifice other key players who contributed to their 2019 World Series win. The payroll constraints of keeping the Big Three would have limited their ability to add free agents and build a strong team. In this alternate reality, their journey would have been filled with challenges and disappointment.

What if Harper had accepted their 10-year, $300 million offer? What if Soto had signed a record-breaking contract? In this hypothetical world, the Nats would have still lost key players and struggled to fill the void left by Rendon, Strasburg, and Zimmerman’s departure. Their payroll would have been bloated, hindering their ability to add talent, and their chances of success would have been slim.

However, in the real Nationals world, without Harper, Turner, Soto, and other departed stars, there is a glimmer of hope. The team now has the opportunity to rebuild, with a promising group of young players waiting in the wings. The future may be uncertain, but it’s a chance for the Nats to catch the next wave and create a new era of success.


The idea of keeping Harper, Turner, and Soto sounds enticing, but it wouldn’t guarantee championships for the Nats. The complexities of team building and the constraints of payroll make it a challenging task. Instead of clinging to the past and spending a billion dollars on star players, the Nats are better off embracing the natural order of baseball and rebuilding with a new generation of talent.


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