Entries Listing

On Brown and the Rizzo/Beane dynamic (plus housekeeping note)

Before I kick off my morning blog post, I’ve got a quick housekeeping note to pass along. I’m leaving the country later today for a 10-day trip to Europe, and will not be writing/tweeting/monitoring MLBTradeRumors during that time. I’m excited to say that I’m stepping away from the laptop for a week and a half, and will be enjoying my first European journey. (For anyone

Nats trade Corey Brown to Athletics for cash considerations (updated)

Mike Rizzo and Billy Beane are at it again. The Nationals have traded outfielder Corey Brown to the Athletics, a source confirmed this afternoon, marking the seventh trade between the two organizations in the last two years and the eighth deal between them in three years. No word yet on what the Nats will receive in return for Brown, who was designated for assignment last

Are the Nats the team to beat in the NL East?

I went into spring training this year feeling that the Nationals were the favorites in the National League East by a pretty wide margin. I wasn’t alone in this line of thinking. In fact, I believe the vast majority of the baseball world was with me. The Nats, after all, were coming off a 98-win season and their first division title in team history, had

Nats agree to four-year extension with Triple-A Syracuse

The Syracuse Chiefs are the third Triple-A team the Nationals have had as an affiliate in their nine years of existence. Today, the Nats announced that they’ll be sticking with the Chiefs a while longer. The Nationals have agreed to a four-year player development contract with the Chiefs, who play in the Triple-A International League. The deal will begin in 2015 and run through the

What’s a move you still want to see made?

As of today, the Nationals almost certainly have their eight starting position players in place, barring some kind of shocking trade. They definitely have their top four starters set in stone now that Doug Fister is on board, and have a lengthy list of hurlers who will compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, including Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark, Taylor Jordan, Ross Ohlendorf

On the lefty relief market and the Nats’ improved pitching depth

Another left-handed reliever that the Nationals were linked to this offseason has landed a multi-year, eight-figure contract. J.P. Howell has agreed to a two-year deal with the Dodgers worth a guaranteed $11.25 million, with a mutual option for 2016 worth $6.25 million, according to various reports. The option can reportedly vest based on a certain amount of appearances over the two guaranteed years. Howell’s deal

Nats’ offseason maneuverings getting rave reviews

We’ve learned that teams don’t win based on how strong their offseason was. The 2013 Blue Jays and 2012 Marlins are recent proof of that. We’ve learned that teams don’t win based on how complete their team appears to be on paper. The 2013 Nationals taught us that. Because of last season’s disappointment in D.C., Nats fans probably won’t get too excited about anyone declaring

LaRoche on Williams, McLouth and his health

Adam LaRoche might be back from his USO Holiday Tour, but he’s got a little bit of time to relax before baseball takes over again. Deer season, after all, runs through January 15th. After that, LaRoche will start prepping for the 2014 season, one that he hopes goes better than the one both he and the team put up in 2013. We know how things

Back from trip abroad, LaRoche, friends reflect on meaningful USO Holiday Tour

You’ll have to forgive Adam LaRoche if he wasn’t totally up to date on the moves the Nationals had made over the last week or so. Seated at a table at the Occidental Grill on Pennsylvania Avenue last night, a couple of reporters briefed LaRoche on the Jerry Blevins trade and Corey Brown being designated for assignment, and LaRoche quietly took it all in. It

Nats sign Peterson, Delcarmen, Jeroloman to minor league deals (updated)

The Nationals have announced the signing of three players to minor league contracts: first baseman Brock Peterson, right-handed reliever Manny Delcarmen and catcher Brian Jeroloman. All three players also receive invitations to big league spring training. Peterson is an interesting signing. A former 49th-round pick back in 2002, he appeared in 23 games with the Cardinals in 2013, his first taste of the big leagues

Putting a bow on the Winter Meetings and notes on Corey Brown

After five days down in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the madness that is the Winter Meetings, I’m back in the comfort of the mid-Atlantic region. As soon as I had started to finally get comfortable with navigating through my massive hotel and getting to my room, it was time to go home. As soon as I had figured out the quickest way from the

Nationals lose Adrian Nieto to White Sox in Rule 5 Draft (updated with quotes)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals won’t be selecting anyone in today’s Rule 5 Draft because their 40-man roster is full, but they lost minor league catcher Adrian Nieto to the White Sox with the No. 3 pick in the major league phase of the Rule 5. Nieto, 24, was a fifth-round pick out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., in the

Assessing the state of the Nationals’ minor league system

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Well, the Winter Meetings are finally almost complete. I wish I could say they’ve flown by, but that hasn’t exactly been the case. These things are a grind. Pretty much all that’s left on the schedule here at the Swan and Dolphin Resort is this morning’s Rule 5 Draft, in which teams can sift through unprotected minor leaguers in other

So what’s left to do?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The end is in sight. The sunlight shining into the lobby of the Swan and Dolphin Resort has started to dissipate as we get to the nighttime hours of the last full day of the Winter Meetings. Soon enough, we’ll be on our way back to the 30-degree temperatures many of you are experiencing, although if that means I get

Rizzo discusses the Blevins trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - As the Nationals looked over the market for left-handed relievers, considering both free agent and trade options, they were looking to find a certain type of player: a relatively young southpaw whose contract offered more than a year of team control and who came with a price tag that made sense for the organization. Under those qualifications, they were able

Nationals acquire Jerry Blevins from Athletics (updated)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals will leave the Winter Meetings having accomplished their lone remaining major goal - acquiring a left-handed reliever. For the sixth time in the last two years, the Nats and Athletics have combined on a trade, with the A’s sending Jerry Blevins to the Nationals for minor league outfielder Billy Burns. Blevins, 30, had a 3.15 ERA and 1.067

Progress on the search for a lefty, plus Maya note

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals are making progress in their search for a left-handed reliever, a source confirmed, and it appears possible that they could leave the Winter Meetings with their one remaining major offseason need filled. That said, the source cautioned a bit ago that there is “nothing imminent” at this point. There are a host of left-handers available both via the

Nats shifting how they feel about shifts

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Asked yesterday where specifically he wants to see the Nationals improve in 2014, we got a glimpse into where Matt Williams is placing his priorities. The first area that he mentioned was team defense. There’s a lot that goes into that, of course. The error total obviously needs to drop; the Nationals finished with 107 errors in 2013, tied for

As the market for lefty relievers turns

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Yup, another entry on left-handed relievers. This is what happens when the team you cover has addressed pretty much every other area of its roster. You write entry after entry about the search for a left-handed reliever. One of the Nationals’ top targets when it came to left-handed relief, Eric O’Flaherty, could be close to coming off the market. And

Williams meets the press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - I passed along some quick-hit notes from Matt Williams’ session with reporters earlier today, but now that our meeting with general manager Mike Rizzo is done and I’ve had a chance to settle in a bit, I can provide some more in-depth quotes from the Nationals’ new skipper. Since being named Nats manager more than five weeks ago, Williams has

Rizzo discusses trade rumors surrounding Clippard, Storen, Espinosa

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - There has been a lot of chatter here at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, home to the Winter Meetings, linking various teams to Nationals relievers Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen. There have been reports that the Cubs were interested in both right-handers. I had heard that the Tigers were kicking the tires on Clippard and Storen. But Nationals general manager

Quick hits from a 30-minute chat with Matt Williams

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Reporters just got done with a 30-minute chat with Nationals manager Matt Williams here off to the side of the media work room at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, and while there wasn’t any real breaking news that came out of the session, we got plenty of interesting tidbits on how Williams plans to manage his team and what he’s

Heard in the lobby ...

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals are a team generating a bunch of chatter in the lobby here at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, with a few players being discussed by various teams as potential trade targets. Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday that the Nationals are shopping Danny Espinosa, and while there are teams that have had conversations with the Nats about Espinosa, I’ve been

Notes on the rotation and thoughts on the backup catcher job

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals have four of their starting pitchers set and locked in for 2014, but they’re going to go into spring training still unsure of who will be that fifth guy. That’s the way general manager Mike Rizzo wants it, even if left-hander Ross Detwiler - an experienced option who has claimed the No. 5 spot in the rotation the

Evaluating some trade rumors, plus Rizzo on extensions for Desmond, Zimmermann

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - A bit ago, a tweet from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports came across my laptop saying that the Nationals are currently shopping infielder Danny Espinosa. The timing of this report was a bit ironic, given that Nats general manager Mike Rizzo had just finished his session with local reporters, during which he talked up Espinosa and his ability to serve

Rizzo on left-handed reliever search, Nats’ bench roles

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Local reporters met with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo in his suite at the Swan and Dolphin resort for nearly 20 minutes a bit ago, and we covered a number of topics related to the Nats’ efforts to finalize their roster this offseason. It’s clear that finding a left-handed reliever is Rizzo’s top priority, and the Nats could still look

A couple of interesting updates on the lefties, plus a cool note

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - We’re scheduled to meet with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo in less than an hour, but I’ve got a few notes from the lobby to pass along before we head up to Rizzo’s suite to quiz him on the Nats-related happenings during Day One of the Winter Meetings. The Nats continue to monitor the market for left-handed relievers, and as

Rival evaluators react to Nats’ offseason moves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - A key figure in the National League East for the last four years has decided to step away from the game. Roy Halladay has just taken to the podium in the media room at the Swan and Dolphin resort to announce his retirement, marking the end of a tremendous 16-year career. Halladay will finish with a record of 203-105 and

Cox, La Russa, Torre unanimously elected to Hall of Fame

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The hotel lobby has emptied out here at the Swan and Dolphin resort and the free agent and trade chatter has temporarily hit a lull, as a trio of elite managers were just announced as the newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre have all been unanimously elected to the

The latest on the lefties

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - While reporters, executives and other baseball people trickled into the Swan and Dolphin Resort here in the Orlando area throughout the day yesterday, the Winter Meetings officially begin today. Get pumped, people. Or don’t. Either way. There might not be as much excitement about the Winter Meetings among Nationals fans as there has been in past years, largely because most

Source: Nats “very interested” in Eric O’Flaherty

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Hello from the 2014 Winter Meetings, where the climate is slightly different than it is in the Washington D.C., area. I was lucky enough to make it down here with only a slight delay on my flight, but others leaving out of D.C. and other points north weren’t so fortunate. People will still be rolling in throughout the night, meaning

We’re off for Orlando

Well, here we go. The most hyped four days of the offseason officially begin tomorrow, and so for myself and the rest of the MASNsports.com staff, it’s off to Orlando today, a day ahead of the start of the Winter Meetings. Don’t let the location of the meetings fool you, however. If I see sunlight for a total of 30 minutes during the entirety of

Bench roles starting to fall into place

Robinson Cano. Huroki Kuroda. Scott Feldman. Curtis Granderson. Ryan Webb. J.P. Arencibia. Nate McLouth. Mike Napoli. Carlos Beltran. Most offseasons, that’s a busy week when it comes to free agent signings. In the winter of 2013, however, that’s just one day’s worth of free agent action. All nine of the players listed above agreed to terms on contracts yesterday, crossing a handful more names off

Nationals sign Nate McLouth to two-year deal (updated)

Mike Rizzo got his experienced starter in Doug Fister earlier this week. Now he has his left-handed-hitting reserve outfielder in Nate McLouth. The Nationals have signed McLouth to a two-year contract, a source confirms, giving the Nats their fourth outfielder, one who can play any outfield spot and has a little bit of pop from the left side of the plate. FOXSports.com was the first

Where will Cano go? (Cano agrees to terms with Mariners)

Second baseman Robinson Cano, far and away the top free agent in this year’s class, flew to Seattle yesterday and reportedly received a nine-year, $225 million deal from the Mariners, according to CBSSports.com. Anyone still want Cano coming to D.C. if it’s at that price? The Mariners’ offer is one that tops the Yankees’ largest projected proposal to Cano by two years and $50 million,

On Espinosa’s chances at cracking the Nats’ roster

If you take the time to consider which players within the Nationals organization benefit most from this week’s trade that brought Doug Fister to D.C. and shipped Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol and Robbie Ray to Detroit, there’s no doubt that Danny Espinosa’s name would be near, if not at, the top of the list. As of Monday morning, Espinosa sat behind Lombardozzi on the Nats’

Some leftovers on Fister and a wild week

What an insane week this has already been in Major League Baseball. And we’re only through Tuesday. The following deals all went down in the last two days (terms are according to various media reports): Jacoby Ellsbury turned in his Red Sox for some pinstripes, agreeing to a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees. The Red Sox signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year,

Fister on joining Nats: “There’s a lot of excitement for me”

Since July 2011, Doug Fister has been with the Detroit Tigers, a team that made the postseason in each of the last three years and made it to the World Series in 2012. He’s built friendships there and has pitched in a strong starting rotation. The 29-year-old is now eager to have some of those same experiences in D.C. Fister found out last night that

Mike Rizzo discusses the Doug Fister trade

Reporters didn’t get a chance to discuss the Doug Fister trade with Mike Rizzo last night because Rizzo had previous obligations, but we were able to fire questions at the Nationals general manager just a bit ago during a conference call. Rizzo said that the Nationals had been talking with the Tigers about a possible trade for a starting pitcher dating to just before the

Day-after reactions to the Fister deal

By now, we’ve all had time to digest last night’s trade that brought right-hander Doug Fister to the Nationals and sent infielder Steve Lombardozzi, and left-handers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray to the Tigers. Now let’s break it down a bit more. There are certainly some Nationals fans who are sad to see Lombardozzi go, given that he’s a local kid who has made an

Nats sign Ohlendorf to one-year deal, tender eight players contracts (updated)

The Nationals announced tonight that they’ve agreed to terms with right-hander Ross Ohlendorf on a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration, and have tendered contracts to all eight of their remaining arbitration-eligible players. Ohlendorf posted a 3.28 ERA in 60 1/3 innings last season, pitching both out of the bullpen and in a starting role. He will serve as valuable rotation depth and, in theory, could compete

Nationals acquire Fister from Tigers for Lombardozzi, Krol, Ray (updated)

In search of another starter, the Nationals have been linked to Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer for months. Turns out, it’s another Tigers right-hander that the Nats have brought on in a trade. The Nats have acquired 29-year-old righty Doug Fister from Detroit tonight in exchange for infielder Steve Lombardozzi, left-handed reliever Ian Krol and left-handed pitching prospect Robbie Ray. “This is an exciting day for

Nats sign Manny Delcarmen to minor league deal

The Nationals have added another bullpen option, signing right-handed reliever Manny Delcarmen to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training, a source confirmed. Delcarmen was a second-round pick of the Red Sox in 2000, and he played a fairly large role in Boston’s 2007 World Series champion team, posting a 2.05 ERA in 44 games. The 30-year-old right-hander last appeared

Time to tender

We’re a week away from the official start of the baseball Winter Meetings, an event that will take place in Orlando this year, but will prevent me from seeing more than three minutes of sunlight a day. That’s typically how it works, regardless of which warm-weather location holds the meetings in that particular year. You make your way from your hotel room to the media

A big year upcoming for Tyler Moore

In Tyler Moore’s two years in a Nationals jersey, we’ve seen very different levels of production. In 2012, his first time making an appearance in the big leagues, Moore put up a .263/.327/.513 slash line, slugged 10 home runs in 156 at-bats and posted an OPS+ of 123. That average of a home run every 15.6 at-bats was on par with Chris Davis that season,

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