Blog Entry

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 11:56 am

By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

We continue the series today with the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos. Yeah, remember them -- the best team in baseball in 1994 before the strike ended the season without a World Series? If you don't, you'll need to be reminded of a certain Bartolo Colon trade, which ended up being awful for the Expos, who got 17 starts from Colon after coughing up three future All-Stars for him. What we see is a team that looks pretty good, but has loads of young talent either already developing in the bigs or soon to be arriving.


1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Danny Espinosa, 1B
7. Ian Desmond, SS
8. Brian Schneider, C

Starting Rotation

1. Cliff Lee
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Jordan Zimmermann
4. Javier Vazquez
5. John Lannan


Closer - Drew Storen
Set up - Bill Bray, Craig Stammen, Collin Balester, Miguel Batista
Long - Armando Galarraga, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, Ross Detwiler

Notable Bench Players

Bryce Harper, Chris Marrero, Wilson Valdez, Anthony Rendon, Jamey Carroll, Orlando Cabrera, Geoff Blum and Roger Bernadina.

What's Good?

The starting rotation is really good, especially if you start to think about the future. Much like the real Nats, Peacock, Milone and Detwiler all have the potential to break through and really make this a strong top-to-bottom rotation. Here, you have a perennial Cy Young candidate sitting at the top, too. The batting order definitely has the potential to be good, but there are a lot of question marks, so we can't really be overly excited about it. But, much like with the rotation, there is some serious potential on the way in Harper and Rendon. Finally, the bench is really good. This team has depth.

And in case you're curious, the three All-Stars the Expos gave up for Colon were Sizemore, Phillips and Lee. None of the three had made their major-league debut at the time of the trade.

What's Not?

If we were really going to stick Vlad in right field, we'd have to pray no one hit the ball out there. Should I have gotten more creative and put Vlad at first, moving Espinosa out to right? Maybe. We could move Vlad to 1B and throw Harper into the fire, play Bernadina in the outfield and move Vlad to first or just bench Guerrero. I'm open to any idea, but the idea I used was to maximize the offense. Hey, it worked when the Cardinals put Lance Berkman in right this past real season, right? Also, Schneider is a pretty bad catching option at this point, but there were zero other options on current 40-man rosters or in free agency in the MLB (which is what we used to build these rosters). Finally, the bullpen is very thin in front of Storen in the late innings.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Nats are just on the cusp of breaking through, though it'll be tough in the stacked NL East. These Nats would be a bit better with the legitimate ace Lee and a great bench. Maybe mid-80s in wins, but with tons of help on the way. Much like with the real Nats, it's kind of a "watch out next year" type deal -- with the likes of Harper, Rendon, Peacock and Milone waiting in the wings while Strasburg, Zimmermann, Storen, Espinosa et al continue to get better.

Next: Boston Red Sox

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Since: Feb 2, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2011 2:45 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

Plug in a one- two punch of Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez in 97.  What a shame that management and MLB sunk the Montreal Expos.

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 4:43 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

Amusing that Vlad Guerrero makes this list. I think if we wanted, we could add Hank Aaron to the Braves homegrown team and they'd be better.  Guys who came up before TV was invented ought to not count.

Since: Dec 9, 2010
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:46 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

With such a lineup, we would have never finished last and we would never have Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg or Drew Storen...maybe not even Jordan Zimmerman because if we can't trade we can't pick him up.... I think this also remains the same for Ryan Zimmerman... arghhhh.   Yes 1994 killed me too, I still feel the Jeffrey Loria ghost haunting Montreal.

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: December 12, 2011 9:34 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

There will be no joy in whoville this christmas....I mean Montreal!  haha

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: December 12, 2011 9:02 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

This is a very nice team and so far looks like the best National league team shown so far. It is a shame how Jeffrey Loria ruined the Expos/Nationals organization.

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: December 12, 2011 7:34 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

Maybe we'll do it again next year using the teams the players debuted in the majors with? That's a simple twist that would shake things up a bit.

Thanks for the kind words, guys. We really appreciate it.

- Matt

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: December 12, 2011 6:38 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

I agree, this has been fun. But maybe a similar series should be done to account for the Bartolo Colon-like trades. Management of franchises is not just about drafting of quality players, but recognizing those drafted by other teams.

On the other hand, I have no idea how you could do such a series, unless you do as the other poster said - teams where players actually made their MLB debut, or where they qualified for rookie of the year. But I really have enjoyed this series Matt, thank you.

Since: Jan 26, 2011
Posted on: December 12, 2011 6:17 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

I like this idea you guys have come up with and hope you do one for NBA and NFL teams as well. It shows that the Expos/Nationals have done a really good job scouting and drafting players over the years, but like another reader pointed out a bad job in trades. This was fun to look at and thanks for putting this together! 

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:43 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

This was addressed in the article a bit, but this outfield is purely science fiction at this point. Sizemore and Jason Bay together would account for about 200 days on the DL and Vlad hasn't been an everyday RF in years, but hey these are nice articles so who's complaining.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: December 12, 2011 3:51 pm

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos

most teams are mismanaged and this series shows how good a team could potentially be if left to develop and evolve, but then again, there's little creativity in building a team this way and there are many other factors that are taken out of play like player preference for city  and manager they play for, experience of the manager, skill of scouting dept., etc.

great article. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or