One of the side effects of the Doug Fister trade is it unleashed a legion of Nats fans that were actually opposed to the trade. These people all seemed to exist on the MASN Nationals Facebook page and their comments were collected on the @MASNCommenter Twitter account. This offseason they’re back and they’re on a mission. A mission to trade Bryce Harper, but not for anything good. They want to trade the 22 year old with a career .816 OPS for a closer.
A closer sounds like something very important. A team can win a game for eight innings and then lose it in one because of a poor performance by a closer. That isn’t good and when it happens it leads to some of the most disheartening loses, but teams don’t always lose when a closer blows a save, and a save situation is dictated by a team being up by three runs in the ninth inning. Of the Nats 96 wins only 45 of them included a save. More than half the time when the Nats won it didn’t even require a save.
Now that doesn’t even account for the fact that the save is one of the most overrated stats in baseball. A closer has the feel of being important but in reality they aren’t important at all. The San Francisco Giants just won the World Series and Santiago Casilla pitched a grand total of 2/3 of an inning with no saves. The idea that a team needs a closer to win is beyond asinine and the exact type of thing the dumbest portion of a fan base would latch onto. While trading Harper on its own would be stupid trading him for a closer would be the dumbest possible move the Nationals could engage in.
Bryce Harper is coming off of an injury plagued season where his offense wasn’t up to what was expected of him, and this has led many fans to give up on him, but this is also a town that likes to give up on players. Alex Ovechkin is a multi-time MVP and is criticized for not playing enough defense or doing other stuff that isn’t entirely expected of a goal scoring forward, John Wall has a bad jump shot and takes too many mid-range jumpers despite the fact that he isn’t a scoring point guard and is one of the best facilitators in the game, and then there is RGIII who Shanahan let play hurt, get hurt further, come back too soon, and now has been injured again and is still in the process of developing as a quarterback in the NFL.
Washington DC can neither handle star players nor has the patience to let them reach their potential. This is why despite the fact that Bryce Harper has compiled some of the best stats for a player through their age 21 season and is seen as a bust by many in this area, and busts should be traded and not just traded but traded for a useless position with an inflated importance.