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Harper heading to Philly for 13 years, $330 million (updated)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Bryce Harper finally has selected his new home. He’s going to Philadelphia. For a really long time. Harper agreed to terms today with the Phillies on a 13-year, $330 million contract, according to a source familiar with the deal. The contract, which is pending a physical, includes no opt-out clauses and guarantees he’ll play in Philadelphia through the 2031 season, when

Adams leads offensive charge at Fenway South (Nats lose 13-5)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Max Scherzer wasn’t the only veteran who made the long trip across Alligator Alley for today’s game against the Red Sox. Matt Adams is here as well. And like Scherzer, he’s making the most of it. Batting cleanup and starting at first base, Adams launched a second-inning home run that cleared the stands down the right field line and departed jetBlue

Martinez on Robles and Taylor: “They’re both going to play”

FORT MYERS, Fla. - If there is a significant competition in Nationals camp this spring, it’s in center field, with top prospect Victor Robles trying to prove he’s ready for the starting job ahead of the erratic Michael A. Taylor. And though it’s too early for any hard decisions about the fate of that competition, manager Davey Martinez pointed out today what’s probably the understood

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Red Sox in Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Hello from jetBlue Park, aka “Fenway South.” And we’ve got a matchup today worthy of the real Fenway Park, with Max Scherzer going up against the Red Sox. It’s unconventional for a star pitcher like Scherzer to make such a long road trip (2 1/2 hours each way), but like Patrick Corbin earlier this week in Lake Buena Vista, Scherzer wanted

On Taylor’s swing, Martinez’s lineup and Ross’ pitch count

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - More thoughts and observations from Wednesday’s 14-8 thumping of the Astros to tide you over while I trek across the state for today’s game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers ... * Yes, it’s early. But the early returns on Michael A. Taylor’s revamped swing have been quite positive. Taylor added two more hits during Wednesday’s game, both of

Not rushed this year, Hellickson ready to extend himself for Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s forgotten a bit because of his strong performance last season, but Jeremy Hellickson didn’t sign with the Nationals until March 17. He made only one Grapefruit League start before the club broke camp and headed north for opening day. It admittedly took some time for Hellickson to feel like he was in regular-season form. That’s not the case this

Illness delays Zimmerman’s spring debut (Nats win 14-8)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It looks like today’s game will get started as scheduled after all. The forecast hasn’t completely cleared up, but it appears to have cleared up enough to allow the Nationals and Astros to get underway on time. Whether it will stay that way long enough to get the full game in remains to be seen. Even if the rain holds

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We’ve had a bit of a strange weather pattern here over the last 24 hours. It absolutely poured last night, for multiple hours, soaking everything in sight. But this morning the sky was bright blue and it looked like it would be a beautiful day. Except there’s another system heading this way, and it’s forecast to hit the area right

Sánchez shows off wide-ranging repertoire in scoreless debut

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Anyone who hadn’t seen Aníbal Sánchez pitch before Tuesday’s game saw everything they needed to see during this start against the Cardinals to understand exactly why the Nationals wanted him in the first place. Over the course of two efficient, scoreless innings of work, Sánchez showed off the repertoire and approach that made him so successful last season in Atlanta.

Rosenthal wows with triple-digit fastball in return from surgery

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Trevor Rosenthal sneaked a peek. How could he not? After throwing a couple of fastballs in the top of the fifth this afternoon at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Rosenthal decided things were going well enough to take a look at the scoreboard radar gun. “I did. I peeked,” he said with a sheepish grin. “After I threw the

Zimmerman scheduled to play Wednesday (Nats lose 6-1)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Ryan Zimmerman is the lone Nationals position player who has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game this spring, but it doesn’t appear he’ll hold that distinction much longer. Zimmerman is scheduled to make his 2019 debut Wednesday when the Nationals host the Astros here in West Palm Beach, manager Davey Martinez said. Zimmerman, who infamously played in only

Glover has forearm strain, has “no doubt” he’ll be ready

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An MRI of Koda Glover’s elbow revealed a forearm strain but no ligament damage, the reliever said this morning, though he will be shut down from throwing for now while the Nationals map out a plan to try to keep their oft-injured right-hander healthy at last. “Just a forearm strain,” Glover said. “Nothing crazy. UCL was great. That’s good news.

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals are back home today, facing the same Cardinals team they saw over the weekend in Jupiter. Though this time they’ll be going up against Adam Wainwright instead of Michael Wacha. The lineup includes several regulars, including a one-two combo of Trea Turner and Brian Dozier. Davey Martinez said he wants to try to play those two middle infielders

On Robles’ speed, C. Kieboom and Difo’s new position tryouts

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - It’s tough to draw many conclusions from spring training games, all the tougher to draw conclusions from long-distance road spring training games, when only a handful of big league regulars are in attendance and they play only a few innings before giving way to minor leaguers. So there wasn’t a whole lot to read into the Nationals’ 9-4 loss to

For Corbin, long road trip for spring debut worth the time

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - He could’ve stayed back in West Palm Beach, skipped the 2 1/2-hour drive up the turnpike and faced live hitters on a back field or something. Veteran pitchers, certainly those who just signed a $140 million contract, aren’t typically asked to make long road trips in spring training. Patrick Corbin, though, wanted to pitch against the Braves today. He wanted

Newcomer Corbin impressive in debut (Nats lose 9-4)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - If he was going to drive 2 1/2 hours to make his Nationals debut, Patrick Corbin might as well have made the most of the situation. And that’s exactly what the club’s new $140 million pitcher did this afternoon against the Braves. Working quickly, efficiently and showing off his full repertoire, Corbin retired six of the seven batters he faced,

Glover getting MRI on elbow today

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Koda Glover will get an MRI on his right elbow this afternoon, leaving the oft-injured reliever and the Nationals waiting anxiously for results that could determine whether this is a mere spring training bump or cause for the club to re-examine its bullpen plans. Glover had to depart from his Grapefruit League debut Sunday afternoon after walking three consecutive Cardinals

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals don’t make many long spring training trips anymore, not since relocating from remote Viera to more convenient West Palm Beach. But they do still get stuck with a few lengthy bus rides each year, and one of those comes today. It’s 2 1/2 hours each way to Walt Disney World, longtime spring home of the Braves - but

Bulked-up Fedde makes strong impression in first start

JUPITER, Fla. - Erick Fedde believes he’s ready to become a trusted member of the Nationals rotation. But he recognizes that, barring injury, there probably won’t be a spot for him in the rotation coming out of spring training. Such a realization might normally be enough to discourage a young right-hander who already has spent more time in the minors than he’d prefer. But Fedde

Glover departs with elbow tightness in spring debut

JUPITER, Fla. - If he had a track record of good health, the sight of Koda Glover walking off the mound at Roger Dean Stadium this afternoon with what he described as “elbow tightness” might not have been enough to send red flags up throughout the Nationals dugout and front office. Alas, Glover has an extensive track record of arm trouble, having been through Tommy

Efficient at-bats producing early runs (Nats win 12-2)

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals insist they want to be better fundamentally this season, and that includes more efficient at-bats with runners in scoring position. They’re living up to the mantra so far this afternoon against the Cardinals. The Nats jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings, with all four runs scoring on something other than a base hit. Adrian Sanchez drove home

Nats don’t plan to shift more, but plan to shift smarter

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals are emphasizing defensive improvement this spring, and they believe that can be achieved in multiple forms. There’s the obvious: upgrades in personnel. Brian Dozier will be better at second base than Daniel Murphy. Victor Robles and/or Michael A. Taylor will be better in center field than Bryce Harper. Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki should be better behind the plate than

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - It’s a quick turnaround for the Nationals from last night’s Grapefruit League opener to this afternoon’s road debut against the Cardinals. Most of the significant names that played last night aren’t making the trip to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, but Matt Adams and Adam Eaton will both be in the lineup (though Eaton will be the DH after starting in right field

With full squad behind him, Barrett has an emotional return

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There’s a generally accepted rule in spring training that veteran players need only stay in the dugout watching exhibition games until the mass substitutions start taking place, usually around the fourth inning or so during this first week of play. Ryan Zimmerman, though, spoke to his Nationals teammates before Saturday night’s Grapefruit League opener and made it clear no one

Scherzer “fundamentally against” MLB’s new pitch clock

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Max Scherzer hasn’t been holding back this spring in his criticism of the state of baseball and the various theories and proposals that have been put forth in an attempt to address problem areas. And you can now add the pitch clock to his list of grievances. Scherzer voiced strong opposition tonight to Major League Baseball’s latest change to improve

Scherzer serves up homer to first batter of spring (Nats win 7-6)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Max Scherzer served up a home run to the second batter he faced in Florida last spring, and everything worked out just fine for the Nationals ace by season’s end. He can only hope this season will play out in a similar fashion after he served up a homer to the very first batter he faced tonight in his spring

Zimmerman slated to debut early next week

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals are fielding a fairly representative lineup for tonight’s Grapefruit League opener, with Adam Eaton, Howie Kendrick, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, Matt Adams and Yan Gomes among the guys starting against the Astros. Those regulars who aren’t playing tonight will be seeing action within a matter of days, and that includes the guy who sat out most of spring

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Yes, there’s a ballgame being played tonight. At last. The Nationals host the Astros at their shared complex in the Grapefruit League opener for both teams, the first of six head-to-head matchups over the next month. They’re going to get to know each other very well. There is a slight difference in the two teams’ lineups for tonight’s opener. A.J.

Nats, pitch clock debut tonight in Grapefruit League opener

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s been a long, hard winter in Washington, especially for anyone associated with a Nationals club that has eagerly been waiting to put last season’s disappointment behind them and start over fresh in 2019. Well, there’s some good news to share: The Nationals are playing a ballgame tonight. Against another major league team. With a 20-second pitch clock making its

Final full-squad workout features situational drill, couple of close calls

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The final day of full-squad workouts before Grapefruit League play opens Saturday night saw the Nationals debut a new fundamentals drill that underscored their renewed emphasis on little things this spring. The entire team gathered on Field 3 for a situational defense and baserunning drill, one with a twist. Davey Martinez had mapped out 15 different game situations for everyone

Heeding advice from Scherzer, Glover healthy and motivated

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Modern pitchers have had it drilled into their heads from the moment they become professionals. Take days off. Don’t throw too much. Especially in the offseason. Give the arm time to recover before you ramp it up again. Koda Glover tried that, and all it got him was two mostly wasted seasons dealing with a rotator cuff injury. So this

Low-key Corbin blending right in despite massive contract

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The recipient of the largest contract given to a free agent pitcher this winter strolls through the Nationals clubhouse without drawing any attention. He’s just one of the guys. When reporters and fans cluster around the bullpen or one of the practice fields to watch this team’s big-name pitchers throw, they seek out Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg or even Sean

Kendrick, Taylor will start spring opener; Gomes sent home sick

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If there was any concern about the injuries Howie Kendrick and Michael A. Taylor spent the winter rehabbing from preventing them from participating fully in spring training, those fears should be quashed. Both Kendrick (returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon) and Taylor (who suffered hip and oblique injuries this winter in the Dominican Republic) will be in Saturday night’s starting

After injury-plagued winter, Taylor hopes new swing pays off

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Michael A. Taylor went to the Dominican Republic in early December, the rare major league veteran who was willing to go play winter ball for the Gigantes del Cibao and try to implement some significant changes he and Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long made to his swing at the end of the 2018 season. It should’ve been a great proving

Martinez challenges Turner to reach a lofty stolen base goal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback. “Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’” Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he

Day two of workouts: More live BP and Bobby Orr

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Day two of full-squad workouts at Nationals camp looked a lot like day one. Aside from the Hockey Hall of Famer in attendance this time. We’ll get to Bobby Orr in just a moment. But first, the actual baseball stuff. Just as they did Tuesday, the Nats emerged from their morning “Circle of Trust” meeting and fanned out across the

Involved Rendon wants to keep up contract talks with Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If he had his way, Anthony Rendon would never have to field a question about his pending free agency and ongoing talks with the Nationals about a long-term extension that would prevent him from ever becoming a free agent. But Rendon, as media-averse as anyone on the Nats roster, understands that won’t be the case this year. Just as it

Middle infielders’ get-to-know-you process starts now

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Brian Dozier and Trea Turner took their respective positions in the middle of the infield Tuesday morning and began the daily routine of fielding grounders. That soon morphed into double play turns, then drills that involved the entire Nationals infield, then the entire defense. Thus began the first step in building one of the most important relationships in baseball: second

After watching Soto, Robles seeks to realize his own potential

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It was both the greatest thing and the worst thing that could’ve happened from Victor Robles’ perspective. Juan Soto’s remarkable rookie season inspired his fellow Dominican outfielder, who knows he’s about to get the same opportunity the Nationals gave the 19-year-old last year. But Robles also knows Soto set the bar so high as a rookie that some might just

First full workout includes extra work in field, live BP showdown

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals’ first full-squad workout of 2019 featured some familiar sights (the daily “Circle of Trust” meeting, lots of defensive fundamental drills, live batting practice). It also featured some noticeable changes from last spring: Max Scherzer throwing two simulated “innings” to live hitters already, several instances when players were instructed to re-do a particular drill if it wasn’t done flawlessly

With Machado heading to San Diego, attention turns to Harper

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The first domino in the never-ending free agent stalemate of 2019 has finally fallen. Manny Machado has agreed to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres, according to multiple reports this afternoon. Which means Bryce Harper is now on the clock, and the bar for his eventual contract has been set by San Diego. The Machado news broke as

Nats full squad ready to take field for first time today

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Pitchers have each thrown at least two bullpen sessions. Catchers have begun to get acquainted with each of those pitchers and establish some rapport. Now it’s time for the rest of the Nationals roster to join them on the field. The Nats will hold their first official full-squad workout this morning, all position players having reported on time and all

After sensational rookie season, Soto ready for added pressure

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Juan Soto strode into the Nationals clubhouse this morning with all the swagger you expect from him. He gave hugs to teammates he hadn’t seen since September, shared offseason stories and confidently conducted a lengthy interview with reporters in English. He was, in every way, a major league ballplayer completely comfortable in his surroundings. Which was all the more remarkable

Kendrick “ready to go” on first day of spring training

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - When last we saw and heard from Howie Kendrick - 2 1/2 months ago at Winterfest - the rehabbing veteran said he “should” be ready for the start of spring training. At that point, he hadn’t really tested his repaired Achilles tendon much, aside from some running on an anti-gravity treadmill. Today, as Nationals position players officially reported for spring

Rizzo “satisfied” with Nationals’ roster as is

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As position players across baseball report for spring training and other teams continue to seek upgrades via the large pool of still unsigned free agents, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo suggested he’s perfectly content going into the season with the group he already has in place. “I really like the roster that we constructed so far,” Rizzo said Sunday evening

Manfred: Pitch clock this spring, free agency not broken

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Rob Manfred doesn’t know when you’ll see Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and the other still unsigned free agents report for spring training, but he expects it to happen soon. Major League Baseball’s commissioner does know when you’ll see a pitch clock ticking down during games: Next weekend, when the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues open play. During a 26-minute Q&A with

Zimmerman prepared to play much more this spring

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - He’s not about to start playing nine innings on Feb. 23 or make the five-hour round trip for a road game in Lake Buena Vista, but Ryan Zimmerman will see more game action this spring. Really, he has little choice but to make a change from his controversial preparation plan last spring, when he stayed almost exclusively on minor league

Former All-Star Álvarez hopes to complete journey back with Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Henderson Álvarez threw a no-hitter in the big leagues in 2013. He was a National League All-Star in 2014. He started on opening day for the Marlins in 2015. And he spent the 2018 season pitching for the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican League. It’s not exactly a conventional career path, and it wasn’t Álvarez’s preference. But given

Both catchers support timeshare plan, including pinch-hitting

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Nationals manager Davey Martinez intends to split playing time among his two new catchers, and those two new catchers are perfectly fine with that plan. Though Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki each have been regulars for much of their respective careers, and though each is coming off a strong 2018 season, each understands the 2019 Nationals may be better off

Observations from Saturday’s workout

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Max Scherzer didn’t outlast his pitching mates in the bullpen like he did Thursday morning, but the Nationals ace did put on another display of precise preparation during his throwing session this morning. Scherzer, who in his first official bullpen of the spring was on the mound an additional five to seven minutes beyond the other pitchers in his group,

Martinez plans for more consistent batting order this season

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals used 125 different lineups last season, some of that a byproduct of injuries and some of it a product of Davey Martinez’s tinkering and attempts to create advantageous daily matchups. If things go as he hopes, Martinez will be deploying far fewer batting orders this season. “What I want to do, honestly, this year, if these guys are

Plenty of former Nationals still looking for work

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There are tons of still-unsigned free agents out there, as everyone’s well aware at this point. And included on that long list are a whole bunch of former Nationals players, and we’re not just talking about Bryce Harper. Several key members of the 2018 Nats are still looking for jobs, even as pitchers and catchers have reported across Florida and

Barrett takes first step toward completing three-year journey back

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It was just a 15-minute bullpen session, and he was just one of four pitchers in the last of six groups to take the mound over the last two mornings at Nationals camp. This is the most routine and mundane of activities, and just about every pitcher who went through the drill treated it as such. None of those pitchers,

Martinez’s plan for catchers and No. 5 starters

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Most teams have to find ways to give their No. 1 catcher days off without losing too much in production. Davey Martinez is going to have to find ways to play two No. 1 catchers as much as possible this season. The Nationals’ winter acquisitions of Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki leave their manager in an enviable position. Few teams

Hellickson glad to be back, hopes to pitch deeper into games

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Jeremy Hellickson knew he pitched well for the Nationals last season. He knew he was sick of bouncing around from team to team every year. He knew the Nats wanted another accomplished starter for the back of their rotation. Hellickson’s return to Washington made all the sense in the world. But he, like so many other free agents during this

Scherzer speaks out on baseball’s growing free agency issue

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Max Scherzer had been through this before, four winters ago, and though his free agency saga still ended with a huge contract from a franchise he embraces, he also knew the process took longer and included more frustrating developments than he believed it should have included. So when the subject of Bryce Harper’s ongoing slog through free agency comes up,

The spring plan for Kendrick and Zimmerman

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals most definitely did not report for spring training last year with a fully healthy roster. Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy were still rehabbing from major knee surgeries. Joe Ross had only recently resumed throwing after Tommy John surgery. Koda Glover had to be shut down with shoulder soreness. The team that reports to camp this spring appears to

Highlights from today’s opening workout

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The first workout of the spring featured an extended “Circle of Trust,” some serious talk, some laughter, a moment of silence, a bunch of bullpen sessions, and plenty of grunts and curse words out of Max Scherzer. Suffice it to say, the Nationals ran through the full gamut during the nearly two-hour session outside FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches,

First workout schedule, plus uniform number changes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - After Wednesday’s soft landing start to spring training, camp really opens for business this morning. Pitchers and catchers reported for duty Wednesday, but all they did was take their physicals and in a few cases play some light catch in the rain just outside the clubhouse. That will change today when the entire group takes the field together and holds

After first winter in D.C., Strasburg hopes he’s found key to puzzle

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg stayed in Washington this winter for the first time in his career. Yes, as alluring as San Diego may be, Strasburg didn’t want to uproot his family for only a few months. “When you have a family and the kids start to get older, you want to establish roots,” said the father of two young girls. “It’s kind

With one eye on Harper, Eaton focused on healthy 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Adam Eaton could’ve dodged the question, insisted he’s not paying attention to the never-ending Bryce Harper saga. That would be disingenuous, though. Everyone knows Eaton’s status with the Nationals is directly tied to Harper’s status with the Nationals. So the veteran outfielder isn’t trying to pretend it’s no big deal. “It affects me, for sure,” he said this morning inside

Gott traded to Giants for cash considerations

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Trevor Gott already knew he wouldn’t be reporting to Nationals spring training this morning with the rest of the club’s pitchers. Now he knows he’ll be reporting to the other side of the country. The Nats traded Gott to the Giants for cash considerations today, officially ending the reliever’s disappointing stint with the organization five days after he was removed

Live from West Palm Beach, it’s reporting day

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - And a very pleasant good morning to you from the Sunshine State! Yes, the day has come at last. After a long, cold winter of discontent, the Nationals officially are reporting for spring training. Which means your trusty beat writer has reported as well. This is my third spring in West Palm Beach, which of course followed 12 springs in

Barrett, C. Kieboom, Garcia headline non-roster invitees to camp

The Nationals have announced 18 non-roster invitees to spring training, including two of their top infield prospects and a pitcher trying to return to the majors for the first time 2015 after a myriad of injuries. The two infield prospects - Luis Garcia, 18, and Carter Kieboom, 21 - both figure to get a lot of playing time around the diamond at various positions. Garcia,

Spring training storylines as Nats prepare to report

This is it, folks: It’s the final day of the offseason. After 4 1/2 months waiting for Bryce Harper to make his decision, the Nationals finally are ready to report for spring training, with Harper ... er, well, even though that decision still hasn’t been made, Nats pitchers and catchers still are going to report tomorrow morning in West Palm Beach, Fla. One of these

Despite lack of roster holes, Nats could add more players this spring

The Nationals are better positioned than most clubs as the countdown to spring training reaches its final days. Having addressed all of their major needs during the offseason - most of those coming early in the offseason, for that matter - they’ll gather in West Palm Beach with no gaping roster holes. But does that mean the Nats are going to sit idly by while

Is there a pre-spring favorite in the NL East?

There hasn’t been a legitimate, down-to-the-wire pennant race in the National League East more than a decade now, not since the Phillies hung on to top the Mets during the final weekend of the 2008 season. The division hasn’t been decided by fewer than seven games since 2012, when the Nationals finished four games ahead of the Braves (but were never seriously threatened in September).

Report: Nats under consideration for 2020 series in London

Could the Nationals be headed across the pond for one summer series in 2020? It appears to be a legitimate possibility. Major League Baseball is considering two potential matchups for its planned London Series in June 2020, either the Nationals vs. the Mets or the Cubs vs. the Cardinals, according to the Associated Press. The report, citing two people familiar with the discussions, suggested an

Gott designated for assignment to clear spot for Hellickson

The Nationals have designated reliever Trevor Gott for assignment, clearing a spot on their 40-man roster for Jeremy Hellickson, whose signing was officially announced by the club. Hellickson agreed earlier this week to terms on a one-year, $1.3 million contract that also includes up to $4 million in incentives. The deal was contingent on the right-hander passing a physical, which he has now done, and

Barraclough loses arbitration case

Kyle Barraclough lost his arbitration case against the Nationals, a panel of three independent judges ruling the recently acquired reliever will earn $1.725 million this season instead of the $2 million he sought. Barraclough and the Nationals presented their respective cases before the panel Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla., the second and final member of the roster to go to a hearing this month. Michael

Deep down, The Intimidator was really an Old Softie

He was The Intimidator, the fearsome presence who commanded a room the moment he walked in, the baseball icon who played and managed his entire career with a chip on his shoulder. That was the Frank Robinson most of the world knew, the version of himself he wanted most of the world to know. But he was also The Old Softie, the jovial uncle who

Frank Robinson, Hall of Famer and first Nats manager, dies

Frank Robinson, the talented and tenacious Hall of Fame outfielder who broke barriers as baseball’s first African-American manager and who led the Nationals through their first two seasons in Washington, has died. He was 83. Robinson died this morning at his home in California, surrounded by family and friends, Major League Baseball announced. He had reportedly been in failing health in recent weeks. After working

With or without Harper, Nats outfield has talent and star power

As spring training fast approaches, it’s time to break down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series concludes today with the outfield ... You would think that, with only six shopping days left until pitchers and catchers report, the Nationals would have long since known which three outfielders would be taking the field for opening day 2019. You, of course, would

Hellickson returning to Nats on major league deal

Given how effective he was for them last season - when healthy and when used strategically - Jeremy Hellickson always loomed as an enticing pitching option for the Nationals to bring back in 2019. Sure enough, the two sides have worked out a deal to reunite. And more than a month earlier than they worked out last year’s deal. Hellickson has agreed to terms on

Nats infield returns almost entirely intact, with one big change

As spring training fast approaches, it’s time to break down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series continues today with the infield ... Despite significant changes across just about every other part of the roster, the Nationals’ infield returns almost entirely intact in 2019 - with one notable exception at second base. Daniel Murphy, one of the best all-around hitters in

Nats hoping two new catchers will be better than one star

As spring training fast approaches, it’s time to break down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series continues today with the catching corps ... The Nationals didn’t get enough production from their catchers the last two seasons. Of this, no one can deny. Matt Wieters, well-liked as he was by members of the pitching staff and the rest of the clubhouse,

Beyond Doolittle, Nats bullpen is full of question marks

As spring training fast approaches, it’s time to break down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series continues today with the bullpen ... A position of instability and turbulence for years, the Nationals bullpen entered the 2018 season as a legitimately perceived strength. The three-headed “Law Firm” of late-inning relievers general manager Mike Rizzo acquired during the summer of 2017 all

Revamped rotation will need to return to elite form this year

As spring training fast approaches, it’s time to break down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series begins today with the starting rotation ... It’s no secret how the Nationals have attempted to build a championship-caliber roster over the last seven seasons: with a dominant rotation leading the way. Trouble is, the 2018 version of that rotation didn’t come close to

Backpacks now banned at Nats Park, ESPN picks up May 19 game

Citing a need to “enhance ballpark safety,” the Nationals announced Friday a new policy that prohibits fans from bringing backpacks into Nationals Park for the upcoming season. Fans previously had been allowed to enter the ballpark with backpacks, which, like other bags, were screened by security personnel at all gates. The team will no longer allow them, though, except in cases of backpack diaper bags

Taylor loses arbitration case, will earn $3.25 million this season

Michael A. Taylor lost his arbitration case against the Nationals, with a panel of three independent judges ruling the outfielder will earn $3.25 million this season instead of the $3.5 million he was seeking, a source familiar with the decision confirmed. Taylor and the Nationals presented their cases before the panel Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla., the first of 13 arbitration hearings between major league

What are we to make of Padres’ reported interest in Harper?

Here we are on the first day of February, various players around baseball are already starting to make their way to Florida and Arizona to get a jump start on spring training, and the news involving Bryce Harper isn’t that he has signed with anyone but that he’s meeting in Las Vegas with officials from the Padres. Yes, it’s been an awfully strange winter. And

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