Says Mark Zuckerman of MASN.com:
Yes, the offensive heroics of Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick and company were integral to the World Series title, but over the course of the entire year, the Nats put themselves in position to take advantage of those clutch hits thanks to their dominant rotation.
It’s been the backbone of this organization for nearly a decade now, but we forget how much of a problem it was in 2018. Nationals starters that season owned a collective 4.03 ERA, ranking a mere 13th in the majors. The reasons for the drop-off from previous seasons: Stephen Strasburg’s injury, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark’s inconsistent performances, and a lack of quality depth.
So general manager Mike Rizzo went out and made two key acquisitions last winter. He signed Patrick Corbin to a six-year, $140 million contract, then added veteran Aníbal Sánchez on a two-year, $19 million deal. Both wound up as major contributors.