Have Nationals fans seen the last of Sean Doolittle sporting the curly W?
It's hard to tell at this juncture as the 34-year-old gets set to hit free agency, but the World Series champion reliever posted a "Thank you" not to Nats fans on Twitter just in case 2020 was his last season in DC.
"I know the 2020 season didn’t go the way we all hoped it would, but I wanted to say thank you for all of the love and support you have given me during my time in DC," Doolittle wrote. "This year was especially challenging, but with the support of my teammates and our staff, I learned a lot about myself as a player and as a person that will help me for the rest of my career. As difficult as it was, I’m grateful for the experience (bumpy roads, right?). If I knew how the 2020 season would go for me when I struck a Faustian bargain to be a part of a World Championship, I’d do it again in a heartbeat."
The Nats acquired Doolittle in 2017 in exchange for top pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo. The Nats needed a legitimate bullpen arm and they certainly got one in Doolittle.
Over three-plus seasons with Washington, Doolittle tallied 75 saves, 163 strikeouts, one All-Star appearance and, of course, a World Series title. He wasn't from here and wasn't drafted here, but Doolittle quickly became a fan favorite and immersed himself into the city.
"I had no idea what to expect when I got traded to the Nats in July 2017," he said. "I was so nervous. I’d been to DC a few times but my nerd ass never made it past the free museums. Little did I know that a little over 2 years later I’d ride by them on top of a double decker bus in a World Series parade. I’m well aware that I’m weird, a bit of an acquired taste – not for everyone. But you immediately welcomed my wife and me into your community. You made us feel very much at home here in the DC-Metro area."
Doolittle went on to explain how weird the 2020 season was, especially considering the Nats had to raise a banner without fans in attendance. Then he got to the part that has everyone a tad uncertain. What Does the future hold?
"I don’t know where this game will take us next, but I’m so grateful for the time I had with the Nationals organization and the fans here in Washington," he wrote. "It was a privilege to wear the curly W and play for you at Nats Park. Baseball is a small world, so I look forward to our paths crossing again soon. Thank you for everything."
Shortened or not, the Nationals had a disappointing season to follow up a world championship. This offseason should prove pivotal to the team's contention window over the next few years.
Will Doolittle be apart of that picture? Time will tell.