Continued from page 1

It was right to shut down Jordan Zimmermann last August as he continued his recovery from arm surgery. (I mean, look at him now.) It was right to bite the bullet and pay $11 million for one year of Edwin Jackson. It was right to make the late-season deal for Kurt Suzuki. It was right, for that matter, to put the health of Strasburg ahead of the health of the club’s playoff chances.

“Any given team can do [what the Nationals have done],” Desmond said. “I mean, look at the Oakland Athletics. Nobody took them seriously — and people still don’t, in a sense. It’s about getting a good group of guys together. [It’s about] knowing that the general manager is going to go after good character guys, that he isn’t just going to go get the most expensive player on the market but one that fits with our ballclub. That’s something that’s more telling, I think. We’re putting together good character ballclubs year after year after year, and I think [Mike] Rizzo deserves a lot of credit for that.”

I’ll reserve judgment on whether it was right to let Teddy Roosevelt finally win the Presidents Race on the final day of the regular season. In many ways, Teddy, with his repeated failures, had come to symbolize this floundering franchise. But that franchise doesn’t exist anymore. In its place we have a team that, after Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Philadelphia, has the best record in baseball — and now has an opportunity to become immortal.

But here’s the best part: It might not be the Nats’ only opportunity.