Over at the Nats Insider, Mark Zuckerman from CSN Washington takes a look at the Gio Gonzalez extension, and tries to figure out what the Nationals' window is:
There's been some debate this winter over the Nationals' planned timeline for success. Are they trying to win right now, or are they still focused on the future?
That's the opening line, and he gives the answer (both) in the next sentence, but the reason it's even a question is because Gonzalez now fits both scenarios snugly. If the Nationals are looking down the road, they have the three starting pitchers at the top of their rotation locked up through 2015. Gonzalez fits both the short- and long-term prospectus.
The Nationals are building a pretty impressive team, with young talent all around the diamond. It doesn't seem that long ago that they were messing around with Elijah Dukes, Cristian Guzman, and Julian Tavarez -- and that's because it wasn't. It's easy to be dismissive and say their star is only on the rise because of some fortuitously timed draft picks, which is partially true, but there have been a couple of teams with decades of top-ten picks and little to show for it. The Nationals have been successful enough to commit to winning now without abandoning the long-term goal of winning even more later.