Entries Listing

Friday morning Nats Q&A

Good morning, everybody. We are now a mere 12 days from pitchers and catchers reporting to West Palm Beach and the beginning of the Nationals’ defense of their 2019 World Series championship. It’s still hard to believe, isn’t it? At this point, we have a pretty good idea what the Nats roster is going to look like. Ryan Zimmerman was the last key piece of

As Baker joins Astros, Nats get ready to enter Bizarro World

The first time the Nationals take the field as defending World Series champions, they’ll be facing the same Astros team they beat in Game 7 four months earlier, with one small exception: Houston’s manager will be Dusty Baker. No, we haven’t been transported to a parallel universe, folks. We’re still living right here on good old Earth 1. Even if it feels like this place

Nats acquire reliever Harper from Twins for recent draft pick

The Nationals added another major league arm to their bullpen today, acquiring right-hander Ryne Harper from the Twins for 2019 draft pick Hunter McMahon. Harper, 30, spent eight seasons in the minors with the Braves, Mariners and Twins before finally making his big league debut last year. He wound up becoming a prominent member of Minnesota’s bullpen, going 4-2 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.178

Zimmerman speaks out against Astros, Nats sign Bonifacio

The Nationals beat the Astros in the 2019 World Series, and because that is true they will never have to look back at those nine days in late October with any sense of anger or feelings of “What if?” the way members of the 2017 and 2018 Dodgers will for the rest of their lives. Dodgers players and executives have been careful with their public

Zimmerman embraces reduced salary, role in 16th season

As the weeks went by and the Nationals signed or re-signed eight other members of their World Series-winning roster, Ryan Zimmerman sat at home in Northern Virginia, technically a free agent but never for a moment worried he wouldn’t join that list and re-join the Nats for a 16th season. “I don’t think there was ever really any doubt,” he said. Zimmerman, a free agent

Fans’ guide to spring training, Part 2: The town

So you want to go to Nationals spring training. You know they train in West Palm Beach, Fla. And if you read yesterday’s article, you know what to expect when you arrive at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. But you may not know what to do or where to go the rest of your time in town. Well, you’re in luck. Because today we

Fans’ guide to spring training, Part 1: The complex

It’s Super Bowl Week, which means a lot to a lot of people but to baseball fans means something particularly meaningful: Spring training is fast approaching. Yes, once the Chiefs or the 49ers hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, baseball season officially will be right around the corner. Nationals pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12, a mere 16 days from now. And there’s

Top prospect lists still lacking Nationals pitchers

The Nationals won the World Series last year with the oldest roster in baseball, so it’s not surprising they went out this winter and either signed or re-signed a bunch of veterans who will help keep the team’s average age near the top of the sport again. Nothing wrong with that philosophy, especially when it worked so well in 2019. But it’s worth noting that

The ramifications of Zimmerman’s new contract

If you went to bed early last night, the Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman finally worked out a new deal. Zimmerman will return on a one-year contract that guarantees him $2 million plus the potential to earn another $3 million in incentives, according to two sources familiar with the terms. The deal will become official once he passes a physical. There are plenty of ramifications and

Sources: Zimmerman agrees to return on one-year deal

The only person to play in at least one game for each of the Nationals’ 15 years of existence is coming back for a 16th year. Ryan Zimmerman and the Nats have agreed to terms on a new one-year contract that will pay the veteran first baseman a guaranteed $2 million plus incentives that could push the total value up to $5 million, according to

Nats sign veteran catcher Castillo to minor league deal

The Nationals have signed catcher Welington Castillo to a minor league deal, giving themselves another veteran behind the plate, where their depth was a bit thin. Castillo, whose signing was confirmed by a source familiar with the deal, has been a big league regular since 2013 with the Cubs, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Orioles and White Sox. The 32-year-old is a career .254 hitter with 98 homers,

Better, worse or the same in 2020: Pitchers

Yesterday we looked at Nationals position players and tried to project whether the club will be better, worse or the same at each position. Today we’ll attempt the same exercise for their pitching staff. Keep in mind, this is broken down into roles on the pitching staff (i.e. No. 1 starter, setup men). In some cases where there hasn’t been a change, it’s essentially a

Better, worse or the same in 2020: position players

Though there are still a handful of moves that could be made - Hello, Ryan Zimmerman? Hello? Anybody there? - the Nationals have a pretty good idea at this point what their roster will look like when pitchers and catchers report to West Palm Beach in a mere 20 days. And that roster, for the most part, looks a lot like the roster that won

Wednesday morning Nats and Hall of Fame Q&A

Hey, did you know pitchers and catchers report for spring training three weeks from today? Wow, time flies when you’re having fun (and when your previous season doesn’t end until the day before Halloween). The Nationals have made plenty of news this winter, whether re-signing free agents off their World Series roster, adding a few strategically placed newcomers or losing one of the best players

My 2020 Hall of Fame ballot

After a string of 20 new electees in the last six years, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 was always destined to be small. But not so small that there wasn’t room for two electees. Derek Jeter, the obvious choice in his first year of eligibility, will be joined on the stage in Cooperstown this summer by Larry Walker, who narrowly earned election

Previewing tonight’s Hall of Fame election reveal

It’s been a rough week for baseball, unless you’re of the opinion that bad publicity is better than no publicity. Regardless, the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal - and the still-falling domino effects of it - has shown us some of the worst baseball has to offer. Which makes today a good day, because we’re going to get to experience some of the very best baseball has

Returning coaches embrace change of roles

The Nationals return all but one of the members of their World Series-winning coaching staff this season, with only assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon (who got the lead hitting coach’s position in Philadelphia) departing. But there are some significant changes to the roles some of the returning coaches will hold in 2020. Manager Davey Martinez decided to rotate three key members of his staff -

Martinez on his No. 3 hitter, Zimmerman, Doolittle and the Astros

The most newsworthy thing Nationals manager Davey Martinez said Friday following his taping of an hour-long special with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd at SiriusXM’s local headquarters was that Carter Kieboom will have an opportunity to win the starting third baseman’s job this spring. But it wasn’t the only newsworthy thing Martinez said while talking to reporters for the first time since the Winter

Martinez: Kieboom will get chance to win third base job

Who’s going to replace Anthony Rendon at third base for the Nationals? Davey Martinez intends to give top prospect Carter Kieboom every opportunity to seize that all-important job this spring. Martinez, in his first public comments since Rendon signed a $245 million contract with the Angels on the final evening of last month’s Winter Meetings, said Friday that Kieboom will come to camp as the

Nats’ primary goal needs to be a return to top of NL East

The Nationals’ primary goal for the better part of a decade now has been simple: Win the division. They’ve done that four times in the last eight years, though of course they immediately were eliminated in the National League Division Series each time. And of course the one time they reached the postseason via the wild card, they went on to win the World Series.

After day on ice, time for Zimmerman to get back in Nats uniform

Ryan Zimmerman worked out Wednesday with a professional sports team. He put on a uniform, emerged from a locker room and went through drills with fellow elite athletes, then answered questions from reporters after he was done. All of this took place, of course, at a hockey rink. Zimmerman, making good on a long-ago promise to Nicklas Backstrom, laced up his skates and donned a

Nats don’t get Donaldson, but neither do Braves

As soon as Anthony Rendon signed with the Angels, the Nationals immediately shifted their attention to the only other free agent third baseman on the market who could come anywhere close to matching Rendon’s production: Josh Donaldson. The Nats then spent the next month waiting for Donaldson to make up his mind, which he finally did Tuesday night. And where did the slugger choose to

Astros scandal is more reason to be grateful Nats won title

What if Howie Kendrick’s hit landed just foul? What if the Nationals still trailed in the eighth and ninth innings of Game 7 of the World Series and sat and watched the Astros mob each other in the center of the diamond as the sellout crowd in Houston roared? How would everyone around here have felt about Monday’s announcement by Commissioner Rob Manfred that general

Pitching prospect Fausto Segura dies in motorcycle accident

Nationals minor league reliever Fausto Segura died Sunday night in his native Dominican Republic, the club announced today. Segura, 23, was riding a motorcycle near Maria Montez International Airport in his hometown of Barahona when he was hit by a van, ESPN Deportes reported. “He was beloved by his teammates, coaches, coordinators and everyone he came in contact with throughout our organization,” the Nationals said

After shaky debut in 2019, Kieboom ready for another shot

The promotion lasted all of 11 days, during which time Carter Kieboom experienced the full gamut of emotions. He homered in his major league debut April 26 to earn a curtain call but struck out with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth later that night. He homered again two days later, then got just two hits in his next

Scherzer confident he’s fully healthy after back and neck issues

Max Scherzer understands why everyone was concerned, from club officials to doctors to media members to Nationals fans who watched the staff ace deal with strange and seemingly significant back and neck injuries last season, right up into the World Series. Yes, he got through it all and even pitched well in Game 7 to help put the Nats in position to win their first

Turner’s finger back to normal after November surgery

He did his best not to make a big deal about it during the season, but Trea Turner wasn’t ever 100 percent healthy after breaking his right index finger in early April. Yes, he returned to the Nationals lineup in late May and played nearly every day the rest of the way. And he still batted .298 with 61 extra-base hits and an .850 OPS

Rizzo content with current infield, met with Zimmerman this week

Though he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of acquiring a big-name player like Josh Donaldson, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo insisted today he’s more than comfortable with his team’s current options at third base. “We don’t see it as a hole. We see it as a strength,” Rizzo said during a 17-minute session with reporters at Winterfest. “We’ve got versatility. Of course, you’re not going

Doolittle impressed with additions to Nats bullpen

Like most of the Nationals, there was far more rest than post-postseason shenanigans for reliever Sean Doolittle. And considering how much Doolittle pitched down the stretch and how much the Nationals relied on him in the postseason, the left-handed definitely needed the mental floss in the formative weeks of the offseason. But as the calendar turned to December and the bulk of baseball’s roster machinations,

It’s Winterfest weekend at Nationals Park

Who’s up for some baseball on a mid-January weekend? Yes, it’s time for Nationals Winterfest, the annual offseason gathering of players, coaches, team executives and fans to whet everybody’s appetite for the upcoming season. Not that this upcoming season is going to be difficult to get excited about. The date of this year’s event was pushed back (it was Dec. 1-2 last year), but the

Turner, Elías, Ross sign deals to avoid arbitration (updated)

The Nationals worked out 2020 contracts with Trea Turner, Roenis Elías and Joe Ross before today’s deadline, avoiding arbitration with all of their eligible players. Those three were the Nats’ only remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players entering today, the deadline for all such players across the sport to either agree to contract terms or submit competing offers for arbitration. Turner earned by far the biggest raise

Three Nationals head into arbitration deadline day

This is going to be a busy day across baseball. A lot of news is going to come trickling out over the course of many hours as players from every club either agree to terms on 2020 salaries or file for arbitration. Hey, I only said it’s going to be busy. I never said it was going to be exciting. Truthfully, this is one of

Taylor avoids arbitration with $3.325 million deal

The Nationals avoided arbitration with Michael A. Taylor this evening, agreeing to a one-year contract that will pay the outfielder $3.325 million plus incentives in 2020. The deal was announced by the club; terms were confirmed by a source. Taylor was one of four Nationals who was unsigned heading into Friday’s deadline for all arbitration-eligible players and teams to either come to terms or submit

Joining Nationals’ enviable roster was “no-brainer” for Thames

There’s a recurring theme growing among those who have joined the Nationals this winter. All have played on winning teams before, so obviously they were drawn to sign with the team that just won the World Series. But it goes a step beyond that. The Nationals didn’t just win last season. They had fun doing it, and they did it as a unified group. And

Looking at potential lineup combinations

At the end, when they were playing for all the marbles in late October, the Nationals lineup was consistent. Consistently productive. And consistently featuring the same hitters in the same spots in the order. As things stand today, five weeks before pitchers and catchers report to West Palm Beach to begin their title defense, that lineup looks quite different. And if there’s one word to

After admiring them from afar, Castro thrilled to join Nats

Starlin Castro always wanted to play for the Nationals because of two men: Alfonso Soriano and Davey Martinez. Way back in 2006, when he was still an unsigned 16-year-old in his native Dominican Republic, Castro watched in awe as Soriano became only the fourth member of the 40-40 club in major league history during his one season in Washington. Castro and Soriano eventually became teammates

Remade bullpen looks promising, but is it enough?

The Nationals bullpen, way back on July 30, 2019, was a mess. Sean Doolittle was beginning to show signs of fatigue from his excessive (but necessary) workload through the season’s first four months. Fernando Rodney was his setup man and occasional fill-in closer. Wander Suero was pitching nearly every night. The rest of the unit included Tanner Rainey, Javy Guerra, Tony Sipp, Matt Grace and

Nats find new lefty first baseman in free agent Thames

The Nationals have found themselves this year’s left-handed first baseman. Eric Thames, who averaged 24 homers and an .848 OPS the last three seasons for the Brewers, has agreed to terms on a contract with the Nats that guarantees $4 million, a source familiar with the with deal confirmed. Thames, who must pass a physical before the deal is official, will earn a $3 million

Source: Hudson returning to Nats on two-year deal

Turns out last week’s signing of Will Harris didn’t prohibit the Nationals from bringing back Daniel Hudson. Hudson and the Nats are finalizing a new deal that would keep the veteran reliever in D.C. for two more seasons at the fairly reasonable price of $11 million (plus incentives), a source familiar with the terms confirmed this afternoon. Once completed, Hudson would rejoin a Nationals bullpen

Where does the Nationals’ payroll stand at this point?

With one really expensive re-signing of one of the staff aces along with several calculated re-signings or additions of role players to fill the holes in their roster, the Nationals have been one of the most active teams across baseball so far this winter. They’re not done, of course, because they still seek a replacement for Anthony Rendon at third base, they still need a

Could the Nats re-sign any more of their remaining free agents?

The Nationals had an usually large number of players become free agents off their championship roster: 12 in total, including those who either opted out of the rest of their contracts or had options declined by the club after the season. To their credit, they’ve managed to re-signed five of those free agents so far (Stephen Strasburg, Howie Kendrick, Yan Gomes, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Javy Guerra)

Nats have options, versatility around the infield

Here, 5 1/2 weeks before pitchers and catchers are due to report for spring training, is what the Nationals don’t have: a viable replacement for Anthony Rendon. Here, though, is what they do have: a whole lot of versatility and a whole lot of options across the infield. Friday’s signing of Starlin Castro to a two-year, $12 million deal (pending physical) created even more options

Source: Nats sign infielder Castro to two-year deal

The Nationals added another piece to their ever-changing infield puzzle this afternoon, signing the versatile Starlin Castro to a two-year, $12 million contract that doesn’t prevent them from continuing to pursue star third baseman Josh Donaldson. The deal, which is pending a physical, was confirmed by a source familiar with the terms after first being reported by The Athletic. Castro, 29, is a four-time All-Star

Harris doesn’t shy from role in Game 7, thrilled to join Nats

Will Harris could’ve let the memory of Game 7 linger, could’ve decided the best way to forget about the championship-changing home run he surrendered was to get as far away from the two teams that were involved in that moment. But that’s not Harris’ style. When the Nationals came calling this winter, and certainly when they offered a three-year, $24 million deal to the man

Three-year deal for Harris is worth the risk for Nationals

Try to forget for a moment the name of the reliever the Nationals just signed, who he previously pitched for and what happened the last time he took the mound. Instead, just look at his numbers over the last five seasons and how he ranks among the 119 big league relievers who have made at least 200 appearances during that time frame: * 2.36 ERA,

Source: Nats signing reliever Will Harris to three-year deal

In their quest to fix the most notable hole in an otherwise talented and deep roster, the Nationals have signed the veteran reliever who gave up the home run that propelled them to their first World Series title only nine weeks ago. Will Harris, the former Astros right-hander who threw the pitch that Howie Kendrick clanked off the foul pole at Minute Maid Park in

First 2020 Nationals Q&A

Happy new year! It’s a brand-new year, and even though we’re basking in the achievement of a World Series victory - and will be for some time - the Nationals are not too far from getting down to the business of baseball again. By mid-February, pitchers and catchers will report to FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla., for spring training.

« December 2019 | Main Index | Archives | February 2020 »