October was relatively quiet, at least for teams like the Nationals that didn’t make the postseason and didn’t make any managerial or coaching changes. The calendar shift to November, though, has already brought a few bits of news, and things will continue to ramp up this week.
Today promises to be a newsy day in itself for the Nats, with at least three items on the agenda.
First up, Trevor Rosenthal will be holding a conference call with reporters at 10 a.m. to discuss his signing with the club. The veteran reliever agreed to terms on his deal - it guarantees him $7 million for one season but includes a conditional option for 2020 worth $15 million - on Wednesday, then passed his physical on Saturday morning to make the signing official.
Today, though, Rosenthal will be taking questions for the first time as a National. We’ll find out how his arm feels after missing the entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery, what attracted him to the Nats and how he expects to fit into this ever-changing bullpen.
Meanwhile, out in Carlsbad, Calif., Major League Baseball’s General Managers Meetings open today. These gatherings don’t typically produce any significant signings or trades, but club executives do use them to begin setting the groundwork for any possible deals that will come later this winter. There also are discussions (and sometimes actual changes) on rules, and you can bet there will be plenty of pace-of-play talks after a postseason that included more than a few agonizingly slow ballgames.
Mike Rizzo probably won’t be the center of attention at the GM Meetings. That honor almost certainly will go to Brodie Van Wagenen, the just-hired new GM of the Mets, who up until now had been a highly successful agent. Van Wagenen, who had long represented Ryan Zimmerman, not only finds himself in a brand-new situation but one that requires a lot of immediate work to get the Mets back on track after back-to-back disappointing seasons.
Rizzo and Van Wagenen know each other well and have negotiated plenty of contracts with each other over the years. But their relationship suddenly is quite different, and it’s going to be fascinating to see how GMs across the sport now deal with their newest counterpart.
This busy day will conclude with the revealing of the finalists for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s annual end-of-season awards: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year. Voting for all awards was completed before the start of the postseason, but tonight we’ll find out who the top three finishers in each category were.
Two Nationals should be included: Max Scherzer and Juan Soto. Scherzer may not have beaten out Jacob deGrom for the National League Cy Young Award, but he certainly finished in the top three along with Aaron Nola, and probably finished second at worst. Ditto for Soto, who you’d think has a legitimate chance of winning NL Rookie of the Year in what was a fascinating showdown with Ronald Acuna Jr. Worst case, Soto will have finished runner-up to the young Braves outfielder.
The finalists will be revealed at 6 p.m. on MLB Network. All of the award winners will be named next week in nightly shows also at 6 p.m. on MLB Network. The schedule:
Nov. 12: Rookies of the Year
Nov. 13: Managers of the Year
Nov. 14: Cy Young Awards
Nov. 15: MVP Awards