Great Moments in hubris: The Nationals will make the playoffs every year forever

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It’s not outside of the realm of possibility. The Yankees have made the playoff almost every year for 18 years. The Braves did it year after year for ages. Until this season the Phillies had a nice run too.

But it just seems … wrong to say stuff like Thom Loverro of the Washington Examiner says here:

…if you’re into magic numbers, you might want to start the count for 2013, 2014 and beyond.  Yes, the Nationals are annually going to be traveling down this road to playoff baseball … The Nationals are good, and they’re going to be better next year — and perhaps the year after that and beyond.

I’m not suggesting a jinx or anything. I don’t believe in those. It just seems like anyone, as a point of analysis, who starts from the proposition that a team is going to win in perpetuity, basing that assumption on the sure-fire maturation of various prospects while making no room for the possibility of injury or bad luck is going about things backwards.

The Nats are a decent bet to be good for several years. But it is a bet, and even if they have better odds than any one team in that division, I think “field” gets even better odds than the Nats.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.