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November 21, 2017

They’ve done everything they can to win a World Series in the Bryce Harper era, from shooting the moon on a Max Scherzer contract to re-upping Stephen Strasburg for huge bucks, from emptying the farm system to get Adam Eaton to scooping up Daniel Murphy affordably, then watching him go on a later-career rampage.

This is now Harper’s final season before he can test the open market, so expect GM Mike Rizzo to hunt for even more help. The bullpen’s in vastly better shape after the midseason acquisitions of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, but every postseason reminds us that you can never have enough quality arms if you want to win it all. Add the other half of the battery while you’re at it, as Matt Wieters was one of the worst regular catchers in the league in 2017. Still, we’re talking tweaks more than major surgery. The Nats are overwhelming favorites to three-peat as NL East champs, meaning the true test will again come in October.

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