PHOENIX - Good morning from Arizona, where we're about to get started with the longest (and newsiest) day of All-Star week - All-Star Monday. Players from both the National League and American League teams will be available to the media this morning, leading up to the workout at Chase Field this afternoon and the Home Run Derby tonight.
In addition to Tyler Clippard being here for the Nationals, there will actually be a number of interesting Nationals-related subplots to follow today. Joel Hanrahan, the former Nationals closer who went to Pittsburgh with Lastings Milledge in the Nyjer Morgan/Sean Burnett deal in 2009, has turned into a top-flight closer for the Pirates, and is pitching for the National League.
And former Nationals manager Manny Acta - who went through what seemed like a three-act Greek tragedy with Hanrahan as his closer that season and was fired two weeks after Hanrahan was traded - is also here. Like Hanrahan, he's found success in the Rust Belt; his Indians are a half game behind in the AL Central at the All-Star break, and he's coaching for the American League almost two years to the day since he was fired by the Nationals.
Then, of course, there's Aaron Crow, the Nationals' first-round pick in 2008 who didn't sign with the team after the two sides wound up about $900,000 apart at the deadline to sign picks that August. He was drafted again by the Royals the next year, and after struggling as a starter, he made the team as a reliever. In my attempts to talk to Crow after the Nationals negotiations, he's wanted very little to do with the topic of the team that first drafted him. But it's interesting that three people who were all sort of figureheads during a futile era of Nationals baseball - Hanrahan, Acta and Crow - have all found success since then.
We'll have all that today, as well as any video I can grab and anything scuttlebutt I pick up about the Nationals' managerial switcheroo, the future of Jim Riggleman in San Francisco and trade rumors later this month. Check back with us throughout the day, won't you?