Last year the Nationals were able to sign pitcher Edwin Jackson in February, just days before pitchers and catchers were to report, because he was unable to find a long-term deal elsewhere.
The gait was perhaps a bit slower, the gray hair perhaps a bit thinner, the No. 20 Nationals jersey perhaps a bit more snug.
Though there was legitimate optimism surrounding the Nationals when this season began, it took some time before the city fully bought into the notion this team could win big in 2012.
This isn't the first time Jesus Flores has been asked to serve as the Nationals' backup catcher. He did it as a rookie Rule 5 draft pick in 2007, and he did it again late last season.
Nationals starter John Lannan is on the trade block and, according to former team GM Jim Bowden, the Boston Red Sox have made already made an offer.