The Nationals are the eighth major league franchise to be based in Washington, D.C., and the first since 1971. The current franchise was founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos as part of a four-team expansion. After a failed contraction plan, the Expos were purchased by MLB, which sought to relocate the team to a new city. Washington, D.C. was chosen in 2004, and the Nationals were established in 2005 as the first MLB franchise relocation since the third Washington Senators moved to Texas in 1971.
While the team initially struggled after moving to Washington, the Nationals had considerable success throughout the 2010s. The team had two back-to-back first overall picks in the MLB draft in 2009 and 2010, where they drafted Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. The team secured their first playoff berth and first division title in 2012. They won the National League East again in 2014, 2016, and 2017, but failed to advance past the NLDS each time. In 2019, the team advanced to the World Series and defeated the Houston Astros in seven games to earn their first championship. As of 2020, the Nationals' overall win–loss record is 4,003–4,183 (.489).