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Free agent Jordan Zimmermann reportedly agrees to deal with Tigers

The first of the big free agent dominoes has fallen, and it’s Jordan Zimmermann, who is soon to be an ex-National. The Tigers have reportedly agreed to terms with the right-hander on a deal that would pay Zimmermann about $110 million over the next five years. The contract is, of course, pending a physical, a process that should be completed later this week before the

Bullpen makeover could be long-term project this offseason

We know the Nationals want to remake their bullpen for 2016, and we also know that that potentially means significant changes over the corps of relievers who ended the 2015 season in Washington. But right now, there are more questions than answers when it comes to general manager Mike Rizzo’s plan to reconfigure his relief corps. While the two biggest questions seem to be right-handers

What those minor league contracts really mean

More than a few eyes were raised in recent weeks when the Nationals signed a succession of guys who play center field to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training. To be honest, the Nats usually wait a little deeper into the offseason before this news trickles out, and they routinely make a formal announcement only after all of their signings of

Could Yunel Escobar be one and done in D.C.?

When the Nationals acquired Yunel Escobar from the A’s in January, general manager Mike Rizzo said the veteran infielder’s lure was his ability to play strong defense at both second base and shortstop, and promised that playing on natural turf at Nationals Park would be a better fit for the now 33-year-old than the unforgiving artificial surface that had hampered him at Tropicana Field, where

Breaking the wishbone for the Nationals

Later this afternoon or evening, you might receive the honor of snapping the turkey’s wishbone. So instead of wishing for world peace or winning Powerball, why not direct your holiday intentions toward the Nationals, who could use some help this offseason. Here are some ideas for the Nationals’ wishes as you square off with your brother or sister in mom’s kitchen with wishbone in hand.

Ryan Zimmerman faces challenge of staying healthy in 2016

On Sept. 3, the Nationals were still in striking distance of the Mets for the division lead and the offense was finally clicking with Ryan Zimmerman in the midst of a red-hot streak. At that point, Zimmerman, who had played 34 fewer games than Bryce Harper, had driven in 71 runs, just eight behind the eventual National League MVP’s team-leading 79 RBIs. Four days later,

Dusty Baker keeps Bob Henley as Nationals’ third base coach (with Logan Schafer note)

When Matt Williams was fired as Nationals manager, his entire staff was also informed that their contracts were not being renewed. However, shortly after, general manager Mike Rizzo made it clear that some coaches were welcome back if the new manager wanted their services. This morning, the Nationals announced that Bob Henley will coach third base on Dusty Baker’s staff in 2016, assuming the same

Bryce Harper welcomes high expectations

Hearing the names associated with Bryce Harper’s historic National League Most Valuable Player season was like touring through Cooperstown. Only two players 22 or younger had a better OPS than Harper’s major league-leading .460 mark - Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. The Nationals slugger became the youngest player in the history of game to smash 42 homers and draw 124 walks. The

Nationals reportedly looking at Darren O’Day to help bullpen

The Nationals may not have to look far to solve some of their bullpen issues this winter. Darren O’Day is widely considered the best free agent reliever available after making his first All-Star team with the Orioles in 2015. ESPN.com reports the Nats and Dodgers are chasing O’Day harder than any other ballclubs, though the Braves, Tigers and Red Sox are also reportedly in the

Rizzo searching for depth in the bullpen

Without a doubt, the Nationals bullpen has the most questions on the team’s roster this winter. General manager Mike Rizzo’s decisions with his core of relievers begins with whether to forge forward or part ways with veteran right-handers Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen after stormy conclusions to both of their seasons. Right-hander Casey Janssen had a nightmare of a year and the Nationals declined his

Are the Nats chasing another big-name starting pitcher? (minors deal for Heisey)

The Nationals can’t swing another blockbuster deal for a top starting pitcher this offseason. Or can they? Coming off 2014, where their rotation led the National League, the Nats showed an ultra-aggressive approach by signing Max Scherzer to record $210 million contract for a right-hander. That move bumped 15-game winner Tanner Roark out of the starting five. But with right-handers Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister

Harper credits Desmond, Werth after winning MVP (plus Sizemore note)

Bryce Harper was clearly humbled by winning his first National League Most Valuable Player award last night. Watching the broadcast on MLB Network, Harper was emotional while speaking with his family surrounding him. He talked of how much hard work he put in, not just over his first four years in the majors, but since childhood with his mom and dad. Harper was also quick

Bryce Harper on the possibility of becoming a National for life: “We’ll see”

Bryce Harper became the fourth-youngest player in baseball history to win a Most Valuable Player award when he received the National League’s highest honor earlier tonight. The slugger is the first member of the Nationals/Expos to win the award, and Harper joins Hall of Famer Walter Johnson (1913 and 1924) and Roger Peckinpaugh (1925) of the American League’s Washington Senators as D.C. MVP honorees. Harper’s

Bryce Harper wins first NL MVP in a landslide

Bryce Harper has been named the National League Most Valuable Player in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The announcement was made live on MLB Network tonight. Harper was a unanimous selection, easily beating the other two finalists, first basemen Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks and Joey Votto of the Reds. Goldschmidt finished second. The complete balloting results are available here. Harper is

Three minor leaguers added to Nats’ 40-man roster

The Nationals have selected the contracts of catcher Spencer Kieboom, infielder Chris Bostick and left-hander Nick Lee, adding the trio of prospects to the 40-man roster. By adding the trio to the 40-man, the Nationals will protect them from being selected in the Rule 5 draft, which will be the final order of business at the Winter Meetings in Nashville on Dec. 10. The deadline

Nationals release 2016 Grapefruit League schedule

There are many looking forward to tonight’s expected announcement of Bryce Harper as National League Most Valuable Player to wash away some of the disappointments from last season. With a just few short hours before that honor is revealed, the Nationals allowed fans to look to the promise of 2016 with the release of their 29-game spring training schedule. The Nats will open Grapefruit League

It’s Bryce Harper Day

The day has finally arrived for Nationals slugger Bryce Harper. Somewhere between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time tonight, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is expected to honor Harper with the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award. The phenom is the overwhelming favorite to win over finalists Joey Votto from the Reds and Paul Goldschmidt from the Diamondbacks. Harper showed up at spring

Max Scherzer finishes fifth in NL Cy Young Award race

In his first year in Washington, ace Max Scherzer finished fifth in the National League Cy Young Award race as Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta won the trophy for the first time. Dodgers stud pitchers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw followed Arrieta in the voting, with Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole finishing just ahead of Scherzer. Arrieta steadily improved as a starter since the Cubs acquired him

David Carpenter elects free agency after Nats outright him off 40-man roster

The Nationals announced this afternoon that right-hander David Carpenter elected for free agency after the team outrighted him off the 40-man roster to Triple-A Syracuse. Carpenter is now open to sign with another team after making just eight appearances in a Nationals uniform. Carpenter was acquired from the Yankees for minor league infielder Tony Renda on June 11. But the veteran reliever pitched only six

Rizzo updates Nats’ offseason: “A million moving pieces that we’re thinking about”

After introducing the Nationals’ new medical structure at an afternoon press conference, general manager Mike Rizzo provided an update on where the team is at with the Winter Meetings approaching in three weeks. “I think we’re on schedule,” Rizzo said. “We’ve had a busy offseason. We’ve done a lot. We’ve revamped our medical staff. We’ve revamped our manager’s position. We’ve revamped our major league coaching

At one point, it looked like Max Scherzer’s Cy Young to lose

Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer won’t win the National League Cy Young Award tonight. When balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is announced on MLB Network, that honor is likely to go to Cubs ace Jake Arrieta or Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke. But for the first half of the season, Scherzer seemed to be the clear-cut frontrunner to claim the second Cy Young of

After an injury-filled year, Nationals announce changes to medical structure

Following a season that was wrecked by numerous injuries, the Nationals have overhauled their training staff and developed a new approach to their medical system. “In an innovative shift, the Nationals are transitioning their medical department to one that utilizes a proactive model, with significant analytic input,” the Nationals said in a team-issued release. “This will allow the Nationals to hone in on predictive factors

Who was the 2015 Nationals’ top rookie?

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was the unanimous choice for National League Rookie of the Year last night. Bryant, who played youth baseball with Bryce Harper, smacked 26 homers and drove in 99 runs after making his major league debut in mid-April. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa took home the honors in the American League after slashing .279/.345/.512 with 22 homers and 68 RBIs. The 21-year-old

Reed Johnson and Sean Burnett heading back to Nats spring training

The Nationals announced this afternoon that they agreed to terms on minor league contracts with invitations to MLB spring training with left-hander Sean Burnett and outfielder Reed Johnson. Burnett didn’t pitch in 2015 after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery. Elbow injuries interfered with his previous two seasons in Anaheim where Burnett only made 16 appearances with a 1.74 ERA. Before that, Burnett spent four

Dusty Baker has a list of reasons for wanting to win a World Series

Two weeks ago, when Dusty Baker was hired as Nationals manager, he talked about the special significance of taking the job in the nation’s capital. “You know something? That was a factor, too,” Baker told NBC4’s Carol Maloney. “I said, ‘Wouldn’t that be ironic to win in Washington, during the president’s last term?’ Because I was here during the inauguration, when it was like, freezing.

Identifying a leadoff hitter is among issues Dusty Baker faces

One of the Nationals’ major deficiencies last season was the lack of a consistent offensive presence at the top of their lineup. Multiple injuries limited Denard Span, their normal table setter, to only 61 games before his season ended in late August. In Span’s absence, former manager Matt Williams scrambled to find a leadoff man, using rookie Michael A. Taylor, Jayson Werth, Yunel Escobar and

Dusty Baker still working to fill out coaching staff

Dusty Baker’s work continues to fill out his coaching staff with a few important openings remaining. Shortly after the Nationals hired Baker as manager on Nov. 3, the team announced Mike Maddux as new pitching coach and baserunning expert Davey Lopes as new first base coach. On Friday, Baker was asked on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio about other coaches he plans to add to his

As expected, Jordan Zimmermann passes on qualifying offer

To no one’s surprise, Jordan Zimmermann this afternoon passed on the $15.8 million qualifying offer extended by the Nationals. The right-hander now becomes one of the most sought-after starting pitchers in free agency. The Cubs, Giants, Red Sox and Cardinals are just a few of the teams rumored to have interest in Zimmermann join their rotation. The Nationals drafted Zimmermann in the second round in

Ian Desmond rejects qualifying offer

Ian Desmond won’t play for the Nationals next year. The 30-year-old, who was drafted by the Expos and has played his entire career in Washington, declined the club’s $15.8 million qualifying offer today. The Nationals are still waiting on right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to decide on his qualifying offer. The deadline is 5 p.m. today. Desmond enters the free agent market for the first time and

Notes on Zimmermann, Desmond and Williams

The qualifying offers the Nationals extended to right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond last Friday expire at 5 p.m. today. Both players are expected to reject the one-year, $15.8 million deal and enter the free agent market for the first time in their careers. Reports from the general managers meetings had the Cubs beginning preliminary discussions with Zimmermann’s camp. The Giants, Red Sox and

Bryce Harper wins first Silver Slugger Award (with quotes)

Bryce Harper blitzed through his breakthrough season on a record-breaking assault of pitchers. Tonight, Harper was recognized for his offensive campaign with his first Silver Slugger Award as one of the National League’s best-hitting outfielders. Harper was honored by his peers on Monday evening with a Players Choice Award for being the NL’s Outstanding Player of 2015. As expected, Harper was named as a finalist

Ian Desmond talks free agency, Bryce Harper

Longtime Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond is expected to pass on the qualifying offer the team extended last Friday and fully jump into the free agent waters for the first time in his career. The one-year, $15.8 million offer expires at 5 p.m. tomorrow. If Desmond does decline and sign with another team, the Nationals will receive a first-round draft pick as compensation. Beloved by the

Boras: Strasburg had muscular growth surgically removed from back

Stephen Strasburg dealt with what he referred to as a “knot” in his back during the 2015 season. Now his agent says that the knot was really a non-cancerous “muscular” growth that was surgically removed from his back last month. After laboring through his first 10 starts with an uncharacteristic 3-5 record and 6.55 ERA, Strasburg landed on the disabled list for the first time

Is it possible to see Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen back with the Nats?

With the Nationals finally deciding on Dusty Baker as skipper last week, general manager Mike Rizzo can now devote most of his offseason attention to reinforcing a roster believed still to be on the postseason doorstep. Chief among Rizzo’s concerns is rebuilding the Nationals bullpen, which stumbled terribly down the stretch in 2015. It’s hard for Rizzo to design the assembly of his relievers until

Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos shut out of Gold Glove Awards

Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos were shut out from winning Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in the National League after being named finalists for the first time this year. A pair of Cardinals - right fielder Jason Heyward and catcher Yadier Molina - won the honors over Harper and Ramos. Harper’s historic season at the plate helped the slugger gain recognition earlier tonight by the Baseball

As expected, Bryce Harper named a finalist for NL MVP

In no shock, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America named Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper as a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Player award. Harper is the favorite to take home his first MVP when it’s announced on Nov. 19, but the young slugger faces stiff competition with Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in contention. After battling

Matt Williams returns to Arizona as third base coach

After losing his job as Nationals manager on Oct. 5, Matt Williams has landed on his feet, returning to Arizona as third base coach. Williams held the same position with the Diamondbacks from 2011-2013 prior to becoming skipper in Washington. The Nats went 96-66 in Williams’ first year in the nation’s capital, running away with the National League East before making an early exit in

Bryce Harper on Dusty Baker, coaches: “We finally have an all-star staff”

With the Nationals playoff chances hanging by a thread and rumors swirling about Matt Williams’ job security in mid-September, Bryce Harper was the lone player offering a vote of confidence for his now former skipper. Harper’s award season continued Monday night when his peers recognized the young slugger as the National League’s Outstanding Player of 2015. After receiving the honor during the MLB Players Choice

Peers recognize Bryce Harper as NL’s Outstanding Player for 2015

Bryce Harper was named the National League Outstanding Player of the Year at tonight’s Major League Baseball Players Choice Awards. Harper smashed 42 homers, tying Colorado’s Nolan Arenado for tops in the league. He led the NL in on-base percentage (.460) and slugging percentage (.649), while his .330 batting average was second best in the league to Miami’s Dee Gordon. “I’m definitely very fortunate to

Could Rizzo take a dip in Baltimore’s free agent waters for an offseason splash?

The highly publicized issue with the Nationals bullpen, especially in the second half of last season, figures to be the most pressing problem general manager Mike Rizzo faces this offseason. Whether or not closer Jonathan Papelbon and disgruntled former closer Drew Storen remain on the team is obviously the first order of business that must be sorted out. Besides the bullpen woes, the Nationals offense

Possible outfield targets for the Nationals in free agency

The Nationals decided against extending a qualifying offer to Denard Span on Friday afternoon, allowing the center fielder to hit the open market. While Span still could re-sign with the Nats, it’s likely the ballclub plans to move on with Michael A. Taylor in center. The 24-year-old was impressive filling in for Span in his first full season in the majors. But the Nationals could

Ted Lerner: “We’re excited for the Baker era to begin”

A few hours after attending a press conference introducing his ballclub’s new manager, Nationals managing principal owner Theodore Lerner offered some rare public comments. Lerner, 90, was honored with the Urban Land Institute’s lifetime achievement award at the National Building Museum on Thursday night. “When they originally told me I would be receiving this honor, they were kind enough to schedule the dinner for November,

Nats extend qualifying offers to Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond (plus Williams note)

The Nationals extended qualifying offers to right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond, but not center fielder Denard Span, prior to today’s 5 p.m. deadline. Neither Zimmermann nor Desmond, who have both played their entire careers for the Nationals, are expected to accept the qualifying offer worth $15.8 million for the 2016 season (the average of the top 125 salaries in the majors). Both have

Which Nationals receive qualifying offers before today’s deadline?

The time many Nationals fans have been dreading is nearing. Free agency officially begins after the clock strikes midnight, meaning beloved veterans Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond, Denard Span, Doug Fister, Matt Thornton and Dan Uggla have the right to sign elsewhere. Before then, the Nationals have until 5 p.m. today to extend a qualifying offer to any of their pending free agent players. The qualifying

Dusty Baker on managing Bryce Harper and getting past the fight

Dusty Baker is no stranger to playing with or managing superstar baseball players with larger- than-life personalities. The 66-year-old began his career in the majors playing in the Braves outfield with the legendary Hank Aaron and then went on to manage the likes of Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa and Joey Votto. Now Baker gets a chance to work with slugger Bryce Harper

How the Nationals ended up with Dusty Baker as manager and not Bud Black

Nationals president and general manager Mike Rizzo indicated today that reports last week naming Bud Black as the team’s next manager were premature and incorrect. “That was wrong,” Rizzo said. “We started off with nine candidates that we interviewed. Throughout the process, we went painstakingly through each candidate. We finally called back seven of them telling that they weren’t in consideration for the job and

Dusty Baker brings much-needed personality and leadership to Nats (updated)

Later this morning, the Nationals will officially usher in the Dusty Baker era with a press conference, which will be carried live on MASN at 11 a.m. Most of the questions - at least early on - figure to be dominated by searching for a clearer explanation on how the Nationals seemingly botched the hiring of Bud Black as manager only to turn back to

Dusty Baker: “Can’t wait to get started!”

The journey to find the next Nationals manager seemed like a smooth ride, but eventually ended with heavy turbulence and a bumpy landing. Did the process expose further problems that interfere with success inside the Nationals organization? Certainly, there are concerns. But did the Nats eventually come away with the exact man to change the culture and lead a return to the postseason? Without a

Questions face Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker as new Nats era begins

Following the disappointment of a year without playoff baseball in Washington, the Nationals’ offseason has gotten off to a rocky start. The team finally hired a manager, announcing a multi-year deal with Dusty Baker after contract talks with Bud Black fell apart, apparently over compensation. The embarrassing situation is the latest for the Nationals after dealing with Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper fighting in the

Nationals hire Dusty Baker as next manager (updated)

In a bizarre turn of events, the Nationals hired Dusty Baker as manager this morning, agreeing to terms on a multi-year contract. After a reported deal with Bud Black imploded, general manager Mike Rizzo turned back to Baker, who had seemingly lost out on the job six days ago. Baker’s 1,671-1,504 managerial record in the majors ranks him as the 17th-winningest skipper in baseball history.

Nats’ talks with Black reportedly hit snag; Baker back in play?

Though the Nationals were expected to announce this week that they had selected former Padres skipper Bud Black as their new manager, multiple reports tonight suggest that talks between the parties have hit a snag and that the team will move instead to hire Dusty Baker. According to John Heyman of CBSSports.com, the reported deal between the Nats and Black has not been finalized and

What does the future hold for Wilson Ramos?

Anyone else a little bit surprised to see Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos among the National League finalists for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award? Yes, Ramos effectively controls the opposition’s running game - gunning down 24 of 54 would-be base stealers last season - and has improved his game-calling ability. His .995 fielding percentage certainly looks impressive. But I don’t know anyone who doesn’t cringe when

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