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Washington Nationals' principal owner Mark Lerner has guaranteed a World Series appearance this season. / Nick Wass, AP

The Washington Nationals will never be questioned for their lack of confidence.

After the 2012 season ended in demoralizing fashion in Game 5 of the National League division series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner guaranteed a better 2013.

"We're going to the World Series this year," Lerner proclaimed during the "State of the Nationals" forum to season ticket holders on Saturday.

Lerner is not afraid to set the bar high. This is, if you recall, the same franchise the shut down their best pitcher -- Stephen Strasburg -- during their playoff run in September. Part of the reasoning: The club surely would return to the playoffs soon.

The Nationals, who won a franchise-record 98 games last season, have a lot to look forward to this season. General manager Mike Rizzo acquired center fielder Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins in a trade. He also signed free agent closer Rafael Soriano and starting pitcher Dan Haren and re-signed first baseman Adam LaRoche.

And the odds are with them. The Nationals head into the season with 8-to-1 odds to win the World Series, according to sportsbook Bovado.com. That makes them and the suddenly flush Los Angeles Dodgers co-No. 2 choices, behind the Toronto Blue Jays.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Nationals owner: 'We're going to the World Series'

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