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Murphy reportedly agrees to join Team USA for WBC

Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy has reportedly agreed to join Team USA for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, making him the first of the team’s position players to commit to the international tournament. Murphy would join right-hander Max Scherzer, who previously accepted an invitation from Team USA manager Jim Leyland, who managed him with the Tigers. The only other Nationals player committed to play in

Battle already brewing for Nats’ final reserve outfield spot

One of the more interesting positional battles to watch when spring training convenes in six weeks at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla., will be the second reserve outfielder’s spot on the 25-man roster. Barring an injury, it’s a pretty good bet that Chris Heisey will be on the roster as a pinch-hitter and a backup to left fielder Jayson

When will Nationals extend Dusty Baker?

Dusty Baker has been the manager of the Nationals for roughly 14 months, so it’s a little hard to fathom how he could already be a lame duck skipper. But he is. The two-year deal that he signed in November 2015 runs through 2017, meaning that Baker has now entered a period of limbo that’s treated other Nationals managers rather poorly. Remember the end of

Notes on Wieters, Barrett and draft position

Rumors are both a blessing and a curse to baseball’s offseason. A blessing because a good rumor can stoke the fires of the hot stove, keeping baseball talk alive during the coldest and longest days of the winter. A curse because a rumor, when unchecked, can take on a life of its own. Don’t believe me? Then look at the interest the Nationals reportedly have

Bulkier Cole hopes success late in season will be springboard

Like most young pitchers, all it took for right-hander A.J. Cole to feel a little more sure of himself at the major league level was a modicum of success. In the eight starts Cole made for the Nationals last season - all after Aug. 22 following the elbow injury that short-circuited Stephen Strasburg’s season - the 24-year-old went at least five innings five times. Those

Before looking ahead to 2017, looking back on an eventful 2016

First of all, a public service announcement: I’m heading out of town (actually, out of the country) for the next week. Byron Kerr and Pete Kerzel will have you covered, though, so be sure to keep checking the site for any Nationals news over the holidays. Since you won’t be hearing from me again until 2017, this seems like an appropriate time to take a

Nationals still being held out of Sunday night spotlight

If you missed it yesterday, ESPN announced its “Sunday Night Baseball” schedule for most of the first half of the 2017 season. It includes one game involving the Nationals: April 23 against the Mets at Citi Field. And that’s the only game involving the Nationals so far on ESPN’s slate. That could change, of course, because only 12 of the 26 scheduled Sunday night tilts

Why isn’t Shawn Kelley in the mix to be the Nationals’ closer?

Any and all talk of the as-yet-undetermined identity of the Nationals’ 2017 closer has boiled down to two conclusions: Either the Nats need to acquire an experienced reliever who has a track record of success pitching the ninth inning, or they should give one of their young, in-house relievers (most notably Koda Glover) the opportunity to seize the job. Along the way, though, we seem

Who is the Nationals’ sixth starting pitcher at this point?

We conduct a poll every spring, asking Nationals beat reporters to make a bunch of predictions for the upcoming season, and the results are always fun to track throughout the year. One of the most interesting predictions, I think, is guessing who the Nats’ sixth different starting pitcher will be in a given season. Basically, it’s trying to predict when one member of their opening

After “disappointing” season, Taylor has new outlook on 2017

After so much time spent wondering who the Nationals would acquire this winter to become their new center fielder in 2017, it’s easy to forget the organization thought it knew the answer to that question a year ago. The Nationals had a promising, young center fielder with all kinds of skills. And had Michael A. Taylor put those skills together the way many hoped, this

What Nats development do you wish could be granted?

It’s the time of year for wishful thinking, right? If ever you were hoping for something big, something you desperately want even if it seems unreasonable, now’s the time to ask for it. You never know, a certain somebody from the North Pole might decide you’ve been nice enough to deserve it. So why not extend some of that wishful thinking to your favorite ballclub?

Another closer out of the picture after Ziegler signs with Miami

Another potential late-inning relief option for the Nationals is now off the board after Brad Ziegler reportedly signed a two-year contract Friday night with the Marlins. Ziegler, 37, will earn a guaranteed $16 million during the course of the deal, according to reports, plus incentives. It’s unclear whether the Nationals ever made an offer to the veteran right-hander, but he was one of the few

Friday morning Q&A

We last held one of these Q&As during the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and considering how much has happened to the Nationals since then, this feels like a good time to hold another one. The Winter Meetings have come and gone, as has Nats Winterfest. Adam Eaton is the new center fielder. Derek Norris is the new catcher. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are

Nats still seeking candidates to fill bench vacancies

For all the attention paid - and rightfully so - to the Nationals’ ongoing search for a new closer, that’s not the only significant roster hole they still need to fill. Saturday night’s trade of Danny Espinosa created an opening on their bench, one that they probably prefer to address from outside the organization rather than from within. Had Espinosa remained with the club -

How do 2017 Nationals avoid another odd-year regression?

No matter what happens from this point forward, the Nationals will enter the 2017 season with lofty expectations, both internally and externally. A 95-win team from the previous year will be expected to win again, considered among the favorites to come out of the National League. Whether they can live up to those expectations remains to be seen, but if the last half-decade is a

Nationals sign Burriss, three pitchers to minor league deals

The Nationals added some pitching depth to the organization Tuesday - and brought a local favorite back to the franchise, as well - during a series of minor league signings. Right-handers Jacob Turner and Michael Broadway, left-hander Tim Collins and infielder Emmanuel Burriss all agreed to minor league deals with invitations to big league spring training. None would appear at this point to be strong

Where do the Nationals turn now in search for a closer?

First Mark Melancon signed with the Giants. Then Aroldis Chapman signed with the Yankees. Then the Cubs acquired Wade Davis from the Royals. And then yesterday, the Dodgers managed to retain free agent Kenley Jansen with a reported five-year, $80 million offer. All of which leaves the Nationals right back where they started at the beginning of the offseason, still needing a closer, now with

Scherzer on his Cy Young, pitching in WBC and Rizzo’s trades

When last we saw Max Scherzer, he was on a boat in the British Virgin Islands, watching the National League Cy Young Award announcement on his iPad, doused with champagne by friends upon learning he had won the hardware. It was truly a unique way to celebrate such an occasion, and it made for a wonderful visual for anyone watching from the boring comforts of

Mike Rizzo: “I have no beef ... with Danny Espinosa”

Mike Rizzo said he had been working on a trade that would send Danny Espinosa to the Angels for the last week and that the deal that was finally consummated Saturday night wasn’t a response to anything the infielder had said or demanded about his role with the Nationals in 2017. Espinosa was in position to lose his starting shortstop job after the Nationals traded

Zimmerman on rebounding from poor year, new additions, Nats’ window

Ryan Zimmerman has been around baseball long enough to know that there’s only one thing a player can do after a disappointing season: turn the page, committing himself to do better in the coming year. That’s just what the Nationals first baseman is doing after posting a career-low slash line of .218/.272/.370 in 115 games during a season interrupted by stints on the disabled list

Strasburg believes fewer sliders will mean more starts in 2017

Stephen Strasburg desperately wanted to be part of the Nationals’ postseason staff, so much so that he kept throwing off the bullpen mound every other day while his teammates faced the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The hope, at least in the right-hander’s mind, was that his elbow would have been healthy enough and his arm strength built up enough to contribute if

Trade means Trea Turner finally has a defined position

In a little more than a year, Trea Turner has gone from being a Padres prospect to a Nationals star, with an excruciating period of limbo in the middle as a player to be named. He went from a strong-armed shortstop to a center fielder learning the position on a fly, with a little time at second base in between. He went from a greenhorn

Espinosa traded to Angels for two minor league pitchers

Danny Espinosa’s long and often tumultuous tenure with the Nationals came to end Saturday night when the veteran infielder was traded to the Angels for a pair of minor league pitchers. Coming to Washington’s farm system are 25-year-old right-handers Kyle McGowin and Austin Adams. McGowin, who was 9-14 with a 5.83 ERA in 27 combined starts between the Angels’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, was rated

Norris confident in bounceback from “awful” 2016

Once he sensed the Padres were likely to trade him this winter, Derek Norris started thinking about potential destinations. One of them was Washington, a notion the 27-year-old catcher tried not to get too excited about, given the fact the Nationals had traded him away five years ago, that transaction coming 4 1/2 years after they originally drafted him. But when the call actually came

Koda Glover battling back from torn labrum in hip

When hard-throwing Koda Glover burst onto the scene last summer, his unshakable demeanor and plus stuff immediately had people talking about him as a future Nationals closer. Never mind that he went from Single-A to the majors in less than a full season. Glover had a 2.63 ERA through his first 12 relief appearances before he hit a significant bump in the road. The eighth-round

“Flattered” by trade, Adam Eaton has enjoyed whirlwind week

Adam Eaton knows the Nationals gave up a lot to acquire him. The club’s new center fielder tried not to pay too much attention to the specifics of the blockbuster trade this week that brought him here and sent three elite prospects to the White Sox, but he knows the Nats thought highly enough of him to take the criticism that came with the deal.

Murphy aims to prevent recurrence of leg problems

The slow-to-heal upper left leg injury that limited Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy to three regular season at-bats after Sept. 17 - often referred to as a glute strain and possibly traced to a hamstring problem earlier in the season - may have been more serious than Murphy let on. Though he slashed .438/.545/.438 in the National League Division Series loss to the Dodgers, Murphy

New and familiar faces expected at Nationals Winterfest

The Winter Meetings were our first opportunity this week to get a much-needed baseball fix in December. Now comes the second opportunity: Nationals Winterfest. The club’s annual fan festival takes place today and tomorrow at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and it will feature a few nice morsels of Nats winter cheer to fill you up before pitchers and catchers report for spring training

Baker has options with tweaked starting lineup

Barring unforeseen developments - which is always a great caveat - we now know who should be in the Nationals’ starting lineup come opening day. Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton and Jayson Werth are the outfielders. Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman go around the horn in the infield. Derek Norris is the new catcher, though with Jose Lobaton and Pedro Severino also

Jansen, Colome, Robertson all on Nats’ radar in closer search

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Winter Meetings officially ended around 9:30 a.m. when the always-dramatic Rule 5 Draft came to a close, leading to a mass exodus of baseball executives from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center and a long line waiting for cabs to Reagan National Airport. But the end of the Winter Meetings is by no means the end of the hot

Blue Jays snag reliever Philip Walby off Harrisburg roster in Triple-A Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Nationals neither made a pick nor lost a player in the major league phase of this morning’s Rule 5 draft, the final order of business at the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, the Nationals lost right-hander Philip Walby, who was selected by the Blue Jays off

Nats’ remaining closer options; Boras on Harper and Strasburg

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The news late yesterday afternoon of the Nationals sending Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning to the White Sox for Adam Eaton sent more than a few shockwaves through the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. It also pushed aside a bunch of other interesting tidbits of the day related to the Nationals. Better late than never, though, so here

Breaking down what the Nationals surrendered in Eaton deal - and why

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Lucas Giolito didn’t waste any time in embracing his new team after being traded to the White Sox in a deal that netted the Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton. Fans, media and baseball executives were still processing this afternoon’s trade - right-handers Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning for Eaton - when Giolito changed his team affiliation on his Twitter account and

Rizzo on trade: “We certainly got what we wanted in Adam Eaton”

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Nationals knew all along the price tag to acquire the kind of impact players they were seeking in trades would be steep. And so when the opportunity arose this week to acquire one of their primary outfield targets, Adam Eaton, they knew they’d have to make the tough call to deal away not one, not two, but three of their

Nationals acquire Eaton for Giolito, Lopez, Dunning

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Nationals are about to acquire their much-desired new outfielder in a trade, but it’s not the guy who has drawn most of the headlines over the last week. The Nats and White Sox have agreed to a deal that would bring Adam Eaton to Washington in exchange for pitching prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning, according to a

Nats’ lack of experienced closer right now doesn’t faze Baker

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Fans and media may be wondering who will close for the Nationals in 2017. So is manager Dusty Baker, though he didn’t sound too concerned Tuesday during his media session at the Winter Meetings. Speaking in a ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Baker said he was disappointed that the Nationals weren’t able to re-sign incumbent Mark Melancon,

Morning notes on Ramos, Davis, former closers and McCutchen

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Day Three of the Winter Meetings has arrived, and the Nationals roster ... well, it hasn’t changed at all since this event officially kicked off Monday morning. Which isn’t to say the roster won’t change before the event officially ends after Thursday morning’s Rule 5 draft. And even if it doesn’t, there’s no reason to believe it won’t change as the

Rizzo on Sale: “We reached as far as we were going to reach”

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - As talks with the White Sox about a potential Chris Sale trade progressed over the last week, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo found himself willing to part ways with some of the kind of elite prospects he normally would deem untouchable. The availability of Sale, a five-time All-Star left-hander under contract for the next three years at an affordable price, led

Red Sox top Nationals’ offer, land Sale in blockbuster trade

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Nationals finished runners-up in the Mark Melancon sweepstakes on Monday. And it appears they’ve now finished runners-up in the Chris Sale sweepstakes today. The White Sox have struck a deal to send Sale to the Red Sox for elite prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, plus two other minor-leaguers, according to multiple reports here at the Winter Meetings. It’s a

Looking at the ninth-inning market beyond the big-name free agents

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Mark Melancon is gone, lured to San Francisco by a four-year, $62 million free agent deal. He was a great fit in the Nationals clubhouse and his 147 saves over the past four years and significant postseason experience will help the Giants solve the bullpen problems that derailed their second half of 2016. It’s no surprise that Melancon was the first

Nationals hopeful they’re closing in on trade for lefty Sale

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Nothing is done until it’s done. And nothing is done in this case. But the Nationals front office went to bed late Monday night hopeful they were closing in on a blockbuster trade for White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, one that would likely cost them at least two of their top four prospects. Club officials spent a good part of Day

Nationals remain unwilling to include top prospects in trades

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Nationals came to the Winter Meetings having already begun trade talks with the Pirates for outfielder Andrew McCutchen and the White Sox for left-hander Chris Sale. They’ve continued those talks since arriving at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, getting a better sense of what those two clubs are seeking in a deal. The end result as of early

Rizzo addresses report of “balking” at Harper’s contract demands

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Just when you thought all the chatter about the Nationals at the Winter Meetings was going to be focused on Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale and closers, an even bigger name got thrown into the fire this afternoon and nearly drowned out everything else: Bryce Harper. A report by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale suggesting the Nationals are “balking” at Harper’s demands for

Nats need a new closer: Melancon signs with Giants

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Nationals have employed four different experienced closers in the last four years, and it appears they’ll have to employ a fifth one next season. Mark Melancon, whom the Nationals acquired in July to fortify a tenuous position at the back end of their bullpen, has agreed to a deal with the Giants, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. And if that

With meetings officially underway, can Nats land a big prize?

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Winter Meetings officially open for business this morning - no, anything you saw or read about yesterday at the Gaylord National Resort didn’t officially happen - and so the rumors will begin to fly fast and furious through the lobby here. Whether the Nationals make official news these next four days or just continue to find themselves the subject of

Selig, Schuerholz elected to Hall of Fame; Johnson falls short

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Former Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and longtime Royals and Braves general manager John Schuerholz were elected to the Hall of Fame this evening, emerging as the only two inductees from a list of candidates selected by the newly altered version of the Veterans’ Committee that included former Nationals manager Davey Johnson. Johnson received fewer than five votes from the

In Nats’ blockbuster trade talks, how much is too much?

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Front office personnel and media members are streaming into the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center for baseball’s Winter Meetings. There’s a significant presence of curious Nationals fans, too, which is good to see. Well done, NatsTown! Even before early arrivals to the Winter Meetings - which don’t officially kick off until Monday, save for the occasional big and unexpected Sunday

Nats could be center of attention at local Winter Meetings

For the next four days, Washington will be the center of the baseball universe. The question around here is whether the Nationals will be the center of attention at the Winter Meetings being held in their backyard. Few teams around the sport have the potential to be in the spotlight as much as the Nationals do this week at baseball’s annual offseason event, held for

More thoughts on yesterday’s moves and non-moves

Friday turned out to be a busy day for the Nationals, but not for the reason many were expecting. There was no trade with the Pirates for Andrew McCutchen, not yet at least. But there was a trade with the Padres for Derek Norris. And there was the non-tendering of Ben Revere, coinciding with the tendering of Danny Espinosa. What does it all mean in

Nats non-tender Revere, retain others (including Espinosa)

Ben Revere’s tenure with the Nationals has ended after one disappointing season. Danny Espinosa’s tumultuous tenure with the organization will extend into its ninth year. The Nationals elected not to tender a contract to Revere before tonight’s 8 p.m. deadline, cutting the outfielder loose and making him a free agent. Four players who are eligible for arbitration - Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Tanner

Nats face tender decisions before deadline tonight

So much of what the Nationals do this winter is dependent on something else they do. They won’t know if Trea Turner is their center fielder or shortstop until they either acquire another outfielder or not. They won’t know if Danny Espinosa is still their shortstop until they know if Turner is switching positions. There are dominoes lined up all over the place, but most

Nationals sign Lobaton to one-year deal, avoid arbitration

The Nationals announced a player transaction this afternoon, but not the transaction many have been on pins and needles on while they wait for it to be completed. Pushing a proposed trade with the Pirates for star outfielder Andrew McCutchen aside for at least a moment, the Nationals agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Jose Lobaton, avoiding arbitration with the popular veteran catcher.

Sources: Nats, Pirates engaged in McCutchen trade talks

The Nationals and Pirates have progressed in talks about a trade that would bring star outfielder Andrew McCutchen to D.C., but the two sides haven’t yet agreed on the full package of players the deal would require, and the cost figures to be extensive. Two names that have come up, according to sources familiar with the discussions, are Reynaldo Lopez and Victor Robles, two of

New CBA underscores the strong state of baseball today

The last time Major League Baseball games were seriously in danger of being canceled due to a work stoppage was on Aug. 30, 2002. After playing the first five months of the season with an expired collective bargaining agreement, the Players’ Association voted to go on strike if a new deal couldn’t be reached by that day. The specter of a work stoppage was all

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