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Looking back at our favorite Nats memories through Instagram

The 2013 season was another fantastic year at Nats Park. Some of my best memories of the summer are Nationals-inspired, including working events with contest winners and Ryan Zimmerman, watching Jordan Zimmermann retire batter after batter and just taking in a packed Nats Park on a Friday night. On our Instagram feed, we asked you to post your favorite memories of 2013 with #masnNationals. We

Defensively speaking, where do Nats rank in NL East?

Defense is the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball statistics, never garnering the respect it deserves. Chicks dig the longball, people oooh and ahhh over Web Gems on ESPN, but what about the workaholic day-to-day types who turn hard-hit ground balls and fly balls to the gaps into outs, the first baseman whose steady glovework saves his infielders from errors and the catcher whose ability to block

Spring training will change under Williams (Rhymes re-signs)

Usually, sometime after the first of a new year, two things used to happen: The Nationals announce a list of players signed to minor league contracts who are getting invitations to spring training, and the postal carrier shoves a couple of tax forms in among the bills and junk mail. Well, looks like the Nats' list of non-roster invitees will go the way of the

Zimmerman may move from third to first, but when?

With first baseman Adam LaRoche's two-year deal set to expire after the 2014 season - pending the unlikely scenario where he has a monster year and both he and the Nationals agree to exercise a $15 million option for 2015 - there will soon be a new round of chatter about third baseman Ryan Zimmerman switching positions. It seems like an inevitability that Zimmerman will

A few words about anniversaries, history and old timers

The media workroom at the Winter Meetings is an odd place. Put 200 writers, broadcasters, multimedia specialists, camera operators and TV reporters in one place for long stretches of time, and things are bound to get a little strange. There's a lot of quiet work, spiced with some idle chatter to pass long stretches of time. One evening, a couple of writers were discussing franchise

Any Nats action on Tanaka would be a stealth move

Since this is a gift-giving time of year, let's stop for a moment to ponder the fate of Masahiro Tanaka, the Japanese pitcher who, as of Dec. 24, will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles and is in line for a huge payday. Think the kind of haul you'd get when Mega Millions doesn't have a winner for two or three months of drawings.

What's the best move Mike Rizzo didn't make?

Here's hoping you and yours enjoyed the best Christmas possible yesterday. I've taken two naps during the family festivities at the home of my stepbrother in Newark, Del. - one before dinner, one after - and am so stuffed with homemade goodness that I may not have to eat for several days. The downside of the post-turkey, tryptophan-induced food coma is that I'm wide awake

Surprised at scout's take on Lucas Giolito

Some baseball writers detest the Winter Meetings. There's too much time spent on too little happening, they say, and prowling a hotel lobby for hours on end in search of the tiniest shreds of information pertaining to the team you cover can be a tedious ordeal. For me, being around the game's movers and shakers for four days is nothing short of baseball geek nirvana.

Which long-term extension do Nats get done first?

While Mike Rizzo has finished most of his offseason heavy lifting, the Nationals general manager can't sit back and coast until opening day against the Mets at Citi Field. What few holes existed on the blueprint for 2014 are filled; now Rizzo can turn his attentions to more far-reaching pursuits. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond are both in line for long-term extensions. Both

Who's the Nationals' X factor for next season?

Grant Paulsen has to be the hardest-working guy at SiriusXM Radio. When I toted my Thai takeout in from the car Friday night, he was tag-teaming with Mel Antonen on the evening show on MLB Network Radio. When I get in the car after my Saturday morning Old Bagel and turn on the satellite radio, Paulsen is there again, breaking news of the Shin-Soo Choo

Catcher Chris Snyder signs minor league deal with Nats (with Daubach note, update)

If you're a fringe major leaguer hoping to find employment for the 2014 season, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Teams are handing out minor league contracts with spring training invitations like stocking stuffers, and the Nationals made such a move today. Though it's relatively minor, it could pay significant dividends down the road. Catcher Chris Snyder signed a minor league

Calendar might dictate when Nats make final roster tweaks

I have an alternate theory on the trade earlier this week that sent outfielder Corey Brown back to the A's in exchange for cash considerations: It was easier for Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo to ship another player to the A's than it was for him to try to maneuver a bottle of fine wine past the TSA checkpoint for holiday dinner with A's GM

Weekly Wrap: Nats' offseason moves getting rave reviews

A week removed from the Winter Meetings, this time of the offseason has been busy for many teams. Not so much for the Nationals. Making a huge move early in the offseason with the Doug Fister trade, the Nationals continued to wheel and deal, signing Nate McLouth and trading for Jerry Blevins. With many of their offseason needs met, the Nats have mostly sat back

Throwback Thursday: A diving play at the plate

Despite rumors that the Nationals were looking for a backup catcher earlier in the offseason, the Nats say they're comfortable with either Jhonatan Solano or Sandy Leon backing up Wilson Ramos behind the plate in 2014. Last season, Solano appeared in 24 games for the Nats and made one of the best plays of his young career in a 3-2 ballgame against Philadelphia. Relive his

Weekly Wrap: Nats continue offseason success in Florida

The Winter Meetings have come and gone. Our Dan Kolko and Pete Kerzel chased rumors and news around the Swan and Dolphin Resort, and the Nats returned from Florida with left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins and a signed Nate McLouth contract. Add this to the Doug Fister trade earlier in the offseason, and the Nats have had a very successful offseason, one that Buster Olney calls

McLouth deal official, Corey Brown DFA

ORLANDO, Fla. - Greetings from Orlando International Airport, where I've just arrived through the security checkpoint to news that the Nationals' deal with outfielder Nate McLouth is official. That means McLouth passed his physical and that his $10.75 million deal is official. The Nationals envision the veteran, a former All-Star and Gold Glove winner, as a perfect fourth outfielder, since he's able to play all

Nationals add Bowe, Arias in Triple-A phase of Rule 5

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals added a pair of players in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning, selecting fleet outfielder Theo Bowe in the first round and right-hander Martires Arias in the second round. Bowe played in 99 games last season for Double-A Pensacola, the Southern League affiliate of the Reds, where he hit .206 with four homers

Throwback Thursday: One of those nights

Between icy weather and offseason moves, it's safe to say we're in the meat of the offseason. With that said, it's easy to lose sight of those exciting summer nights - those nights that remind you why you love the Nationals. This week, we're throwin' back to one of those nights. On a warm summer night in Philly, Ian Desmond came to the plate with

NatsFest set for Jan. 25, event moving to Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Mark your calendars for Jan. 25 - that's when the Nationals will hold NatsFest, which is moving this year to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. According to team officials, the Nationals worked diligently to hold the event again at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, but could not because of limited date availability at that facility. Tickets will

After "shock" of trade, new reliever Blevins eager to get started with Nats (updated)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Family members had clued Jerry Blevins in to the fact that his name was being mentioned in trade rumors at the Winter Meetings over the past couple of days. But the left-handed reliever was still surprised when an A's official phoned him Wednesday afternoon to tell him he'd been traded to the Nationals in exchange for minor league outfielder Billy

The evolution of Matt Williams' managerial style

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla - One of the most interesting storylines that will play out when the Nationals arrive at Space Coast Stadium for their first spring training under new skipper Matt Williams is his evolution as a manager. While Williams has said he wants to be aggressive - playing to players' strengths, forcing things on offense and making opponents defend against his club -

Williams says Strasburg will be "full go" for spring training (Rizzo says Nats may be "cautious")

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - New Nationals manager Matt Williams said Tuesday that right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow in late October, will be "full go" for spring training. "His rehab has gone phenomenal," Williams said while addressing reporters at the Winter Meetings. "Everything checks out from a medical standpoint. He is ready to go, day one

It won't be easy for teams to pry Clippard or Storen from Nats

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The hotel lobby at the Winter Meetings is a magical place. Think of it as nirvana for baseball geeks, a confusing confluence of scouts, executives, agents, players, former players and media types, all trying to sniff out the latest shred of a rumor without being too obvious. This morning's tour of the Dolphin Resort at Disney brought a lot of

Young starting pitchers could serve bullpen apprenticeships

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The acquisition of Doug Fister and an impending spring training competition for the fifth starter's spot in the Nationals rotation has created a crunch for the young starting pitchers vying for a spot on the 25-man roster out of spring training. While it wouldn't be surprising to see right-handers Taylor Jordan, Tanner Roark or Nate Karns forming the bulk of

Rizzo on McLouth: "We'll find ample at-bats"

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Though his starting outfield is set - with Bryce Harper in left field, Denard Span in center field and Jayson Werth in right field - Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo placed a high priority this offseason in adding a dependable left-handed bat off the bench. Rizzo wanted someone versatile enough to play all three positions well, a hitter with enough

Will Buck stop with Nationals?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Greetings from the Hemisphere Ballroom, which functions as the media work room for the Winter Meetings. The lobby is starting to buzz and the work room is beginning to fill up with reporters, many of whom are finally arriving after having their flights from the great white - and icy - north delayed, postponed or canceled. I won't throw the

On rumors, mystery teams and improving the Nationals

I'm sitting at Gate B-4 at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, having decided it's better to arrive early for a 1 p.m. fight with a wintry mix in the weather forecast than to risk getting shut out of my Airport FastPark, my preferred long-term parking destination for business excursions. Better safe than sorry, right? My friends who are trying to fly out of Reagan National

Weekly Wrap: Nats filling roster holes during week before Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings are still a few days away. However, that didn't stop the Nationals from making moves and headlines this week. Heading into the offseason, the Nats were looking for a left-handed bat and possibly another starter to fill out the rotation. They got both in the past week. Today, former Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth signed a two-year deal with the Nats. On Monday,

Throwback Thursday: A sendoff for a homegrown kid

Earlier this week, the Nationals acquired right-hander Doug Fister from the Tigers in exchange for infielder Steve Lombardozzi, and left-handers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray. Despite the excitement surrounding Fister joining the Nats rotation, many D.C. fans were sad to see Lombardozzi go. The kid from Atholton High School always seemed to be a fan favorite around Nats Park. In honor of his time with

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