The Washington Nationals are supposed to be the best team in baseball. Whether by offhand mention or official power rankings, everyone is tripping over themselves to anoint the Nationals as the best team in baseball. The secret reason behind this is that they almost certainly are the best team in baseball. I don't remember the last time a team was so widely considered the best team. The Yankees after '98? The A's in the late '80s?

Oh, wait, I have it: The Red Sox before the 2011 season started. There we go.

Which is, and always will be, a great way to suggest that we shouldn't pre-order those playoff tickets just yet. The 2011 Red Sox are a three-word cautionary tale, just as Ryan Vogelsong is a way to use two words to describe a poster of a kitty hanging from a tree by its claws.

So are we getting too excited about the 2013 Nationals? One of the things I always like to do before a season is play the should-be-better/should-be-worse game. Who would you expect to improve from 2012 to 2013, and who would you expect to do worse? Start with the bad news first:

Adam LaRoche had perhaps his best season at age 32, rebounding from two straight down seasons. He shouldn't be as good.