2020: Covid-19 pandemic sharply curtails season
Coming off the heels of the Nationals' first World Series championship in franchise history, the agonizing delay in starting the 2020 season due to the covid-19 pandemic was especially frustrating for Washington fans. It finally got started on July 23, in a 4-1 loss to the Yankees. During the offseason, the Nats parted ways with Anthony Rendon, who signed with the Rockies, and his absence will probably be felt more than when Bryce Harper departed a year earlier. The Nats reached terms with most of their arbitration-eligible veterans during the 2019-2020 offseason, and Ryan Zimmerman signed a one-year contract extension. He and pitcher Joe Ross decided to opt out of playing this year because of the covid-19 risk, however. That left first base open to Eric Thames, formerly of the Milwaukee Brewers, with veteran Howie Kendrick serving as backup when he's not the designated hitter. The young (21 years) Juan Soto missed the first two weeks after getting a positive covid-19 test result, but proved he could provide plenty of offensive firepower after his return. Asdrubal Cabrera has taken Anthony Rendon's place at third base and the newly acquired infielder Starlin Castro playing at second base. (He broke his wrist in late August, and Stephen Strasburg also had a season-ending injury to his wrist.) Adam Eaton and Howie Kendrick also missed the last few weeks due to injury. The Nationals did somewhat better during the month of September, with fine performances by several young replacement players, but they still finished the season tied with the Mets for last place (with a 26-34 record), the first time they finished below .500 since 2011. The amazing Juan Soto led the National League in batting average (.351), and Trea Turner was not far behind.
|CF: Victor Robles .220
Michael A. Taylor
|LF: Juan Soto .351
Andrew Stevenson .366
|RF: Adam Eaton .226|
|SS: Trea Turner .335||2B: Luis Garcia * .276
J. Harrison, S. Castro *, W. Difo
|3B: Asdrubal Cabrera .242
|1B: Eric Thames * .203
Howie Kendrick .275
|C: Kurt Suzuki .270
Yan Gomes .284
|Batting average for position players, ERA for pitchers
Manager: Dave Martinez
|* (asterisk): new player;
Underlines indicate second-string players whose photos are shown.
= Photo not available.
- Stephen Strasburg -- 7 years, $245 million (Dec.)
- Will Harris (HOU / FA) -- 3 years, $24 million
- Trea Turner -- 1 year, $7.5 million (Jan.) AE
- Roenis Elias -- 1 year, $2 million (Jan.) AE
- Joe Ross -- 1 year, $1.5 million (Jan.) AE
- Michael A. Taylor -- 1 year, $3.3 million (Jan.) AE
- Hunter Strickland -- 1 year, $1.6 million (Jan.) AE
- Wilmer Difo -- 1 year, $1 million (Jan.) AE
- Eric Thames (MIL / FA) -- 1 year, $4 million (Jan.)
- Starlin Castro (MIA / FA) -- 2 years, $12 million
- Ryan Zimmerman -- 1 year, $4 million + (Feb.?)
New contracts of note
"+" = optional extension (mutual or otherwise). "D" = part of salary is deferred. "AE" = arbitration eligible. Dollar figures are rounded.
- July 27, 2020 -- In Nats Park as "visitors" (Toronto off limits), Nats win in 10th under new extra innings rule; WSH 4, TOR 0 "@"
- Aug. 10, 2020 -- Beginning road trip, Nats hit 4 HRs and get 17 hits; WSH 16, NYM 4 @
- Aug. 28, 2020 -- Beginning long road trip, Nats hit 3 HRs and get 16 hits; Max Scherzer strikes out 11; WSH 10, BOS 2 @
- Sept. 16, 2020 -- After Daniel Hudson blows save in 9th, Luis Garcia hits 2-run HR in 10th; WSH 4, TB 2 @
- Sept. 20, 2020 -- After losing 3 straight games, Nats hit 5 HRs to close 5-game series on the road; WSH 15, MIA 0 @
- Sept. 22, 2020 -- Yadiel Hernandez 2-run walk-off HR in 8th inn. (extra inninng! 2nd game of double header); WSH 8, PHI 7
- Sept. 27, 2020 -- Mets score 2 in top of 1st, Nats score 5 in 2nd & 6 in 3rd, ending season tied for 4th place; WSH 15, NYM 5
2020 memorable moments
"@" = away game
|Month||Wins||Losses||NL East place
|Sept. 2020||14||14||4th (tie)||14||0||0|
NOTE: No games were played from April until late July.