Wednesday morning Nats Questions and Answers

Wednesday morning Nats Questions and Answers
We've been doing most of our Q&As on Fridays this offseason, but with the holiday weekend coming up, it seems to make some sense bumping it up to Wednesday this week. (Hey, if nothing else, maybe this will help you take your mind off the Washington Football Team's back-to-back losses, the Capitals' COVID-19 postponements and the Wizards' return to being the Wizards.) It's been an awfully quiet December for the Nationals, not that we expected anything else once the lockout began at the...
Continue reading

After rocky 2021, Rutledge needs smooth 2022 on the mound

After rocky 2021, Rutledge needs smooth 2022 on the mound
We spend the majority of our time here talking about major leaguers, but with the lockout now preventing teams from making any transactions involving players on 40-man rosters, let's take an opportunity to delve deeper into some of the Nationals' top minor leaguers. We continue this weekly series with the organization's No. 3 prospect ... RHP JACKSON RUTLEDGE Height/Weight: 6-foot-8, 245 lbs. Age on opening day 2022: 23 How acquired: First-round pick, 2019 draft, San Jacinto Junior...
Continue reading

MLB can only watch as COVID-19 impacts rest of sports world

MLB can only watch as COVID-19 impacts rest of sports world
By sheer virtue of timing, Major League Baseball was the first major North American sport to return to play during the pandemic. July 2020 feels like a lifetime ago at this point, but it's worth remembering just how uncertain everything was as ballplayers took the field for the first time in empty stadiums. We didn't know if the strict protocols put into place were going to allow for games to be played without the spread of the virus. We didn't know if clubhouses would become petri dishes...
Continue reading

Tales from the clubhouse: Sleep-deprived Gio González

Tales from the clubhouse: Sleep-deprived Gio González
Over the course of 17 seasons on the Nationals beat, you come across players with every type of personality and every type of approach when it comes to dealing with reporters. Some are outgoing and gregarious. Some are shy and reticent. Some are polite but know how to say nothing interesting. Some are rude but can't help themselves and say plenty of things they shouldn't have said. In those 17 seasons, though, there has never been an interview subject quite like Giovany Aramis...
Continue reading

Nationals trivia quiz: Pitching

Nationals trivia quiz: Pitching
With not much news trickling out of South Capitol Street as the lockout enters its third week, I have to get a little creative around here to come up with story ideas. I've been trying to strike a balance between stories about those currently employed by the Nationals and those previously employed by them. And what better way to remember those who used to play around here than with some trivia? Yes, it's time for a new round of Nats trivia. Today's quiz is all about pitching and features...
Continue reading

What if the Nats never traded for Jonathan Papelbon?

What if the Nats never traded for Jonathan Papelbon?
Last week, we opened our "What If?" series wondering what might have been had Jordan Zimmermann accepted the Nationals' long-term extension offer after the 2014 season, a decision that had long-lasting ramifications on the organization. This week, we look at a big decision the organization made the following summer that absolutely had immediate consequences for the club, and probably had long-lasting ones as well: The trade for Jonathan Papelbon. Prepare to cringe. As the 2015 trade deadline...
Continue reading

Infield is totally revamped, but is anyone a long-term answer?

Infield is totally revamped, but is anyone a long-term answer?
The Nationals roster has undergone massive changes in the last two years, but it may be more noticeable in the infield than anywhere else on the field. Consider this: On the night the Nats won their first World Series title, they started an infield of Ryan Zimmerman, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon, with Howie Kendrick serving as designated hitter, and Brian Dozier and Matt Adams coming off the bench. At this moment, only 25 1/2 months later, not one of those players is...
Continue reading

Important 2022 season awaits top 2021 draft pick House

Important 2022 season awaits top 2021 draft pick House
We spend the majority of our time here talking about major leaguers, but with the lockout now preventing teams from making any transactions involving players on 40-man rosters, let's take an opportunity to delve deeper into some of the Nationals' top minor leaguers. We continue this weekly series with the organization's No. 2 prospect ... SS BRADY HOUSE Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 215 lbs. Age on opening day 2022: 18 How acquired: First-round pick, 2021 draft, Winder-Barrow (Ga.) High...
Continue reading

Weekend additions suggest a developing pattern

Weekend additions suggest a developing pattern
While the rest of the baseball world pretty much locked itself indoors and watched football all weekend, the Nationals made two somewhat surprising moves, signing veteran infielders Dee Strange-Gordon and Maikel Franco to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training. And as the sun comes up to begin this new work week, it's probably safe to admit we're seeing a pattern developing from the office on South Capitol Street. At a time when clubs are prohibited from signing players...
Continue reading

Franco is latest veteran to join Nats on minor league deal

Franco is latest veteran to join Nats on minor league deal
The Nationals are bringing in another experienced major leaguer who wasn't on a major league roster at season's end, signing veteran third baseman Maikel Franco to a minor league contract, a source familiar with the deal confirmed. Franco joins fellow infielder Dee Strange-Gordon, who agreed to a minor league deal of his own Saturday evening, as newly added veterans to a Nationals organization that is lacking in experience after this summer's trade deadline sell-off. Like Strange-Gordon,...
Continue reading

Nats sign veteran Strange-Gordon to minor league deal

Nats sign veteran Strange-Gordon to minor league deal
Though clubs are prohibited from signing free agents who were on big league rosters last season during the lockout, they are allowed to sign players who weren't in the majors in 2021 to minor league contracts. And the Nationals took advantage of that Saturday night, striking a deal with veteran infielder Dee Strange-Gordon, a source familiar with the signing confirmed. Strange-Gordon, who appeared in 1,002 big league games with the Dodgers, Marlins and Mariners from 2011-20 but spent 2021...
Continue reading

Low-key additions don't grab attention but are needed right now

Low-key additions don't grab attention but are needed right now
The Nationals haven't made many roster moves so far this offseason, and those they have made don't exactly have a lot of wow factor. César Hernández? Lucius Fox? Francisco Pérez? Andrew Young? These aren't names that are going to inspire a fan base to believe the club is bound for big things in 2022. These are, however, exactly the kind of moves the Nationals should be making at this stage of their rebuild. And there will probably be more to come once the league-enforced lockout of...
Continue reading

Friday morning Nats Q&A

Friday morning Nats Q&A
Well, there's not a whole lot going on right now in the baseball world, as you probably are painfully aware. The sport's first work stoppage in 27 years has brought a halt to the hot stove league, though those final 48 hours leading up to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement sure were eventful, weren't they? In our continuing quest to keep everyone engaged throughout this downtime, we're going to fire up the Q&A machine this morning and take your questions. On the...
Continue reading

What if Zimmermann had re-signed with the Nats in 2014?

What if Zimmermann had re-signed with the Nats in 2014?
Baseball organizations and baseball players make countless decisions that impact their short-term and long-term success. Many have no real significant bearing on a franchise's ultimate fortunes, but some really do wind up having major implications that affect not only the player involved but several others either already on the roster or perhaps arriving in the future. You never know which of these decisions are going to have lasting repercussions and which ones won't. It often takes years to...
Continue reading

Nats take four in Triple-A Rule 5 draft, led by Young

Nats take four in Triple-A Rule 5 draft, led by Young
For a good decade, the Nationals would take their seats at the Rule 5 draft, the annual event that always wraps up the Winter Meetings, and sit back and watch as other clubs either selected or lost players. As a perennial contender, they didn't typically have roster room to devote to a longshot prospect, nor did they tend to have many young players of their own coveted by other organizations. Now that they've entered a full-scale rebuild of their entire operation, both at the major-league and...
Continue reading

For first time in long time, Nats have young catching depth

For first time in long time, Nats have young catching depth
The Nationals of the last half-decade boasted as veteran-laden a roster as you'd find in baseball. Yes, there were a handful of young, rising stars mixed in, but general manager Mike Rizzo always made a point to surround them with heavily experienced players who weren't about to get caught up in any moment that became too big for them. And nowhere on the field was this more true than behind the plate. The Nats featured almost exclusively veteran catchers for years, from Kurt Suzuki to Yan...
Continue reading

What's a realistic expectation for Cavalli's arrival in D.C.?

What's a realistic expectation for Cavalli's arrival in D.C.?
We spend the majority of our time here talking about major leaguers, but with the lockout now preventing teams from making any transactions involving players on 40-man rosters, let's take an opportunity to delve deeper into some of the Nationals' top minor leaguers. We'll start this weekly series with the organization's No. 1 prospect ... RHP CADE CAVALLI Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 230 lbs. Age on opening day 2022: 23 How acquired: First-round pick, 2020 draft, University of Oklahoma 2021...
Continue reading

How will fans greet Scherzer when he returns as a Met?

How will fans greet Scherzer when he returns as a Met?
Because the baseball world was on the verge of shutting down when it happened, we didn't really get a lot of time to process Max Scherzer's decision to sign with the Mets and wonder what kind of reaction he'll get when he returns to Nationals Park to face his former team. But since we've now got nothing but time on our hands, let's return to the subject and contemplate the scene that ultimately awaits the three-time Cy Young Award winner when he emerges from the visitors' dugout next...
Continue reading

A vote against expanding the postseason field

A vote against expanding the postseason field
Watching college football the last two weekends, I couldn't help but keep asking myself: Why does that sport still only allow four teams into its top-level playoff? How much better would it be if every major conference winner automatically qualified, plus two at-large teams and the highest-ranked team from one of the other conferences, making up an eight-team bracket? Which also got me thinking how baseball really does have its postseason system right at the moment. Ten of the sport's 30...
Continue reading

Could work stoppage mean no rule changes in 2022?

Could work stoppage mean no rule changes in 2022?
In anticipating the negotiations between owners and players leading up to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, everyone assumed there would be two major areas of dispute: baseball's economic model and potential rule changes to the sport. Turns out the two sides really only discussed money before the CBA expired late Wednesday night and owners instituted a lockout. Commissioner Rob Manfred, during his Thursday news conference with reporters in Dallas, revealed the rule change...
Continue reading