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Nats acquire Gomes for Rodriguez, two others (updated)

The Nationals finalized a trade tonight that will bring All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to Washington in exchange for right-hander Jefry Rodriguez, minor league outfielder Daniel Johnson and a player to be named, completing a dramatic, 11-day overhaul of their catching corps. Having just signed veteran Kurt Suzuki to a two-year, $10 million deal last week, the Nationals went out and acquired another experienced catcher in

Nats agree to terms with Solís, tender contracts to six others

The Nationals aren’t ready to part ways with Sammy Solís just yet. Faced with an 8 p.m. EST deadline to tender a contract to the injury plagued and erratic reliever, the Nationals elected not only to bring Solís back in 2019 and give him another chance to right his ship following an especially frustrating season but to sign him right now. The two sides agreed

It’s tender (or non-tender) decision day for the Nationals

It’s the final day of November, which means it’s another deadline day in baseball’s offseason, this one for tendering contracts. By 8 p.m. EST, all clubs must inform players who are eligible for arbitration (those with more than three and fewer than six years of big league service time, plus the top 22 percent of those with two years-plus service time) whether they will be

How do the Nationals get better defensively in 2019?

There are any number of ways the Nationals need to get better on an individual basis, addressing specific needs at specific positions. But there’s also a broader way the Nats need to get better, something that encompasses the entire roster. They need to be a better defensive ballclub. There’s really no disputing this fact. Even though they boast an elite third baseman in Anthony Rendon,

Nats facing plenty of competition for frontline starters

The Nationals have been aggressive in addressing some of their needs early this offseason, more aggressive than most teams. They acquired two relievers (Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal) before the calendar even reached November. They signed a catcher (Kurt Suzuki) before any of the other top free agents at the position found a new home. Those were important moves, and all should help the Nationals

Suzuki signing was smart - if Nats sign another catcher, too

It never fails. The Nationals go weeks without making any news, and then the moment I go on vacation they suddenly create headlines. So I can’t say I was shocked when - just as I was packing my bags and preparing to head to the airport eight days ago - the first report of the Nats signing Kurt Suzuki emerged. Yes, it happened again. Thanks,

What to make of radio silence in the Harper talks

Earlier this month, during the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., news surfaced that the Nationals had extended an offer worth $300 million over 10 years to free agent-to-be Bryce Harper late in the regular season. The offer reportedly contained no opt-outs for the slugger, and was summarily dismissed by Harper and his agent, Scott Boras. Since then, there’s been a ton of chatter about where

Some thoughts on Realmuto, Grandal and Ramos

If Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wants a difference-maker behind the plate, Kurt Suzuki is going to be a backup catcher in 2019. Oh, Suzuki may still get to strap on the gear and catch 50 or 60 games, but banking on a 35-year-old to handle the game’s most physically demanding position for 110 or more games is asking for a lot. So buckle up,

Looking at Nationals’ non-tender candidates

Having passed Tuesday’s deadline for adding players to the 40-man roster to protect them from being exposed to the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas next month, it’s now time to take a look a possible non-tender candidates. For the uninitiated, major league clubs can choose to not offer a contract to an arbitration-eligible player - non-tender him - if they

At a career crossroads, does Taylor have a future with Nats?

Hindsight being 50/50, the time for the Nationals to have dealt outfielder Michael A. Taylor was probably last winter, when he was coming off his breakthrough 2017 campaign in the major leagues. Taylor slashed .271/.320/.486 with 19 homers, 43 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. He posted a .333/.444/.733 line in the National League Division Series against the Cubs and was a finalist for a Gold

Nationals add righty reliever James Bourque to 40-man roster

The Nationals this afternoon selected the contract of right-hander James Borque, adding the reliever to the 40-man roster to protect him from being exposed to the Rule 5 draft at next month’s Winter Meetings. Bourque, 25, was 4-2 with six saves and a 1.70 ERA in 41 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2018. He led all Nationals minor leaguers (with a minimum

Do the Nats have the prospects to pull off a winter blockbuster?

We’ve talked a lot so far this offseason about the options available to the Nationals via free agency, whether the big-name starting pitchers, the veteran catchers or the left-handed first basemen and relievers currently out there for the taking. There is, of course, another method for acquiring big league players who can make an immediate impact: a trade. Mike Rizzo certainly hasn’t been averse to

Carter Kieboom wraps up strong AFL season

If the Nationals wanted to use the Arizona Fall League to determine how close Carter Kieboom is to playing in Washington, they likely emerged feeling pretty good about their top infield prospect’s development. Kieboom wrapped up a strong AFL season Saturday by contributing to both of the Salt River Rafters’ runs during their heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Peoria Javelinas in the league’s championship game.

Soto caps off season with impressive series in Japan

Whether in the minors in April and May, the majors from June to September or Japan in November, Juan Soto never stopped hitting this year. Soto capped off his remarkable rookie season by excelling at the plate over the last week as a member of the Major League Baseball All-Star Series team that traveled across the Pacific Ocean to face the Japanese national club in

Friday morning Nats Q&A

Has it really been seven weeks since the Nationals’ season ended? Yep, it has. We are well into the offseason now, with players having become free agents, a few having already signed and all the big awards having been handed out. It’s still relatively early as far as the Hot Stove League goes. That usually doesn’t pick up until December, and it certainly will begin

Scherzer, Rendon finish 10th, 11th in MVP voting (plus my ballot)

Though neither was a serious candidate for National League MVP, it was always going to be interesting (and telling) where Max Scherzer and Anthony Rendon ranked on the ballot. Would Scherzer improve on his previous 10th-place finishes? Would Rendon crack the top five for the second time in his career? Tonight we got our answers. While Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich ran away with the MVP

Return to top of NL East is only getting tougher for Nats

If you’ve been following this week’s Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards announcements, you’ve perhaps noticed two developments: 1) The Nationals only had a finalist in two of the four award categories, and had no winners, and 2) The rest of the National League East has been front and center in these proceedings. The Nats had taken home at least one BBWAA award in each

Scherzer finishes second to deGrom for Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer’s league-leading stats in most pitching categories weren’t enough to retain the Cy Young Award against the guy who led the majors in the most important category: ERA. Jacob deGrom was revealed tonight as the National League’s top pitcher in 2018 in a lopsided vote over Scherzer, who was trying to join elite company with his fourth career and third consecutive Cy Young Award.

Previewing tonight’s Cy Young Award announcement

Max Scherzer tonight could become only the fifth pitcher in history to win his fourth Cy Young Award, only the third in history to win three in a row. But don’t get your hopes up too much, because the odds are heavily stacked against the Nationals right-hander. Even though Scherzer arguably was better in 2018 than he was when he won the National League Cy

The Soto-Acuña rivalry is just getting started

Ronald Acuña Jr. had the higher batting average (barely) and slugging percentage (by a lot). Juan Soto had the higher on-base percentage (by a lot) and OPS (barely). Soto was the more consistent hitter throughout his rookie season, never posting an OPS lower than .800 in any single month. Acuña was the more explosive hitter during stretches of his rookie season, producing a brilliant August

Soto finishes runner-up to Acuña for NL Rookie of Year

Juan Soto’s remarkable season, though historic for a teenager, wasn’t quite good enough to merit Rookie of the Year honors. Soto finished runner-up to the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr., who tonight was revealed the winner of the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year Award in a race that was awfully close on paper but wound up more lopsided in actual balloting. Acuña received 27

Harper, as expected, declines Nationals’ qualifying offer

Bryce Harper has declined the qualifying offer extended to him 10 days ago, an expected move that now ensures the Nationals will get draft-pick compensation if the star outfielder signs with another club this winter. The Nationals extended the offer - one year for $17.9 million, a figure predetermined by Major League Baseball - as required Nov. 2, then technically had to wait 10 days

“Harper’s Bazaar” already proceeding as expected

Bryce Harper hasn’t yet decided where he’s going to play in 2019, and as far as we know, he hasn’t even really begun talking to potential suitors in order to decide where he’s going to play in 2019. Yet it feels like he’s been a free agent far longer than the two weeks he’s actually been on the open market because there’s been a steady

Nats again will be seeking a backup first baseman

It has become something of an annual tradition for the Nationals: find a left-handed bat who can back up Ryan Zimmerman at first base and take over on a regular basis if (and when) the veteran starter gets hurt. Clint Robinson held that job in 2015-16. Adam Lind did it in 2017. Matt Adams became the guy in 2018. And now the Nats find themselves

Looking at the market for lefty relievers

The Nationals have acquired two players so far this offseason, and both were right-handed relievers: Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough. In doing so, they began to address one of their areas of need, restocking a bullpen that was turned over by trades this summer and free agency once the season ended. The Nats’ bullpen makeover isn’t complete yet, though. They may still be in the

Not many quality catchers available this winter

If there’s only one move the Nationals are 100 percent guaranteed to make this winter, it’s the acquisition of a catcher. You can argue they can get by with in-house options at other positions, but you can’t argue they can do it behind the plate. The only catchers currently on the organization’s 40-man roster are Spencer Kieboom, Pedro Severino and Raudy Read. None is a

If Nats want to upgrade second base, plenty of options

Do the Nationals need to acquire a starting second baseman? The answer depends on your view of several players. Do you believe Howie Kendrick will come back strong from a ruptured Achilles tendon and be able to play second base at a big league level at 35? Do you believe Wilmer Difo can develop into a more consistent offensive and defensive threat? Do you believe

Free agent starting pitchers who could interest Nats

We’ve spent most of the offseason to date looking at players who already were on the Nationals’ roster this year and could return next year. But now that free agency has begun, we’d be remiss if we didn’t start looking at players from other clubs who could find their way to Washington in 2019. The Nationals have several needs - starting pitching, catcher, second baseman,

How much money do the Nats have to spend this winter?

How much money do the Nationals have to spend this winter? It seems like a simple question, but the answer isn’t even close to simple. Major League Baseball payroll calculations have become far more complicated than they used to be, thanks to the luxury tax (officially known as the competitive-balance tax), deferred salaries and bonus clauses that are cropping up more and more in players’

Soto, Scherzer are finalists for Rookie of Year, Cy Young awards

We won’t know for another week if either won, but now we do know both Max Scherzer and Juan Soto were among the top three vote-getters for the National League Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards. Finalists for the four major Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year) were revealed this evening, setting

After “smooth” rehab, Rosenthal excited to join Nationals

As much as doctors, trainers and pitching coordinators have fine-tuned the rehab process from Tommy John surgery to the point some just believe it’s now routine, there are always a few surprises along the way. A hiccup, or even a setback. Maybe a few moments of trepidation from a pitcher who begins to doubt he’ll be able to make it all the way back. Trevor

Busy day ahead as offseason gets going

October was relatively quiet, at least for teams like the Nationals that didn’t make the postseason and didn’t make any managerial or coaching changes. The calendar shift to November, though, has already brought a few bits of news, and things will continue to ramp up this week. Today promises to be a newsy day in itself for the Nats, with at least three items on

Rendon loses Gold Glove Award to Arenado again

Anthony Rendon is widely regarded as one of the best third basemen in the sport. But for now, he continues to be regarded as a notch below Nolan Arenado. For the third consecutive year, Rendon finished behind Arenado for the Gold Glove Award at third base. The awards, presented annually by Rawlings, were handed out this evening. Rendon has been a finalist (i.e., one of

After season of struggles, Solís’ future with Nats is tenuous

As our offseason coverage kicks into high gear, we’re going to review each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Sammy Solís, who could not take advantage of his many opportunities out of the bullpen. PLAYER REVIEW: SAMMY SOLÍS Age on opening day 2019: 30 How acquired: Second-round pick, 2010 draft MLB service time: 3 years, 52 days 2018 salary: $560,300 Contract

Rosenthal passes physical, signing announced

Trevor Rosenthal’s signing with the Nationals became official this morning after the right-hander passed a physical, giving the club its first free agent addition of the offseason. Rosenthal, the Cardinals’ former All-Star closer who missed all of the 2018 season following Tommy John surgery, agreed on Wednesday to a one-year contract with the Nats that guarantees him $7 million (a $6 million salary in 2019,

After climbing ladder in organization, Suero was solid as rookie

As our offseason coverage kicks into high gear, we’re going to review each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Wander Suero, who made his major league debut this year. PLAYER REVIEW: WANDER SUERO Age on opening day 2019: 27 How acquired: Signed as international free agent, February 2010 MLB service time: 121 days 2018 salary: $545,000 Contract status: Under club control

With qualifying offer to Harper, Nats’ comp pick is set (updated)

The Nationals will submit a qualifying offer to Bryce Harper before today’s 5 p.m., a club source confirmed, the latest of several procedural steps that are set to be taken as the star outfielder enters free agency. The qualifying offer - a one-year contract worth $17.9 million - is required if the Nationals want to receive draft-pick compensation should Harper ultimately sign with another club,

Glover returned healthy, but can he now be effective?

As our offseason coverage kicks into high gear, we’re going to review each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Koda Glover, who after a long rehab from a shoulder injury returned during the second half and had an eventful few months. PLAYER REVIEW: KODA GLOVER Age on opening day 2019: 25 How acquired: Eighth-round pick, 2015 draft MLB service time: 2

Solano elects free agency after clearing outright waivers

Catcher Jhonatan Solano, who has spent the better part of the last decade in the Nationals organization, has elected to become a free agent after he cleared outright waivers in a transaction that opened up a spot on the club’s 40-man roster. Solano was supposed to open this season at Triple-A Syracuse, but he quickly was promoted to Washington in early April after Matt Wieters

Is Grace a matchup lefty or a long reliever?

As our offseason coverage kicks into high gear, we’re going to review each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Matt Grace, who has become a stalwart in the bullpen. PLAYER REVIEW: MATT GRACE Age on opening day 2019: 30 How acquired: Eighth-round pick, 2010 draft MLB service time: 2 years, 65 days 2018 salary: $557,000 Contract status: Under team control in

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