On a slow, rainy first day in Florida, Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton was still unable to hold back his excitement for the upcoming season.
Even if news - or lack thereof- of a certain former Nationals player is still looming.
But that didn't dampen Eaton's enthusiasm for the roster the Nationals already have in place.
“I think we’ve got a great club here,” he said on Wednesday.
He added throughout the interview:
- “It’s going to be an exciting group."
- It’s going to be an athletic group."
- It’s going to be interesting, a very exciting year here.
- “Exciting group of guys.”
Eaton’s positivity was especially noticeable as it comes off the heels of a disappointing year in Washington, followed by a long, drawn-out free agency period with its biggest star.
Nationals fans have talked all winter about how the roster has few weaknesses. Eaton, who compared his teammates and himself to fans in terms of how they follow along with offseason moves, ran through almost every spot on the roster when gushing about the team’s depth and talent.
“Pitching staff’s great, you know bullpen has come along nicely. Up the middle with Dozier, Howie coming back, Trea, and Tony, and Zim, and then you’ve got the young bucks in the outfield,” he said.
Eaton spoke earnestly about the talent in the outfield, clearly thrilled with the guys the Nats already have.
“I consider myself a young buck, kind of, still,” Eaton said with a grin. “And Mikey roaming out there, young buck as well. Those guys are all kids.”
Of course, just running back the same roster, sans Harper, wouldn’t instill too much confidence in the fanbase. Eaton was sure to also address the new additions coming to Washington.
“You get a guy like Dozier, Kurt, Yan, and all those guys coming in. Signing [Hellickson] back in the last week, then you’ve got Barraclough and Rosenthal," he said. "Some really big signings, veteran guys who love to compete. Kind of reloaded, in a sense. Kendrick is almost like another free agent signing in my opinion.”
Of course, that doesn’t include the team’s biggest signing of the offseason to date, Patrick Corbin, who helps solidify one of the best rotations in baseball.
Eaton knows his role, and the team’s outlook, could change drastically with a potential return for Bryce Harper.
But right now, he’s still confident and excited about where the Nationals are headed in 2019, with or without their biggest star from the last half-decade.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS:
- Spring Without A Star: Harper still unsigned
- Harper Chatter: Everything said about Bryce Harper ahead of Spring Training
- Hot Stove: Cal Ripken weighs in on Harper and Machado's free agency