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Thames signs with Japanese club for 2021

Eric Thames went to Asia to resurrect his career once before. He’ll attempt to do it again after signing with a Japanese club Wednesday following his disappointing season with the Nationals. Thames signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball. He’ll earn roughly $1.2 million, according to Sports Hochi. That’s a bit of a fall from grace for Thames, who one

Why Yadiel Hernández isn’t in the mix for the outfield job

The Nationals need a corner outfielder. This is not news to anyone who has paid even scant attention this winter. This to-be-determined outfielder most likely will come from outside the organization, acquired either via free agency or trade. Unless the front office decides to gamble and stay in-house with Andrew Stevenson, who looked awfully impressive when given a chance to play in September but has

Cubs’ teardown is a cautionary tale for Nationals

It’s a common practice to look at a team in the moments after it wins a championship and wonder if it’s good enough to come back the next year and win another. And rarely in recent baseball history has that sentiment been more prevalent than in the moments after the Cubs won the 2016 World Series. Yes, they broke the Billy Goat Curse with their

Monday morning Nats Q&A

Good morning, everyone. Hope you all had a safe and healthy holiday weekend. And hope you had a little time to read about the Nationals’ trade for Josh Bell and the subsequent reaction and analysis that followed. After an awfully quiet start to the offseason, the Nats have now acquired a much-needed big bat. The question is, will they attempt to go get another significant

Is there still room for Zimmerman on 2021 roster?

It was a throwaway line at the end of his opening statement introducing Josh Bell on Saturday afternoon, but a four-word phrase from Mike Rizzo might have carried more weight than he realized at the time. Rizzo referred to Bell as “our new first baseman.” That’s not something the Nationals general manager has said in some time. The last time Rizzo acquired a first baseman

Nationals believe Bell is “a big upgrade for us”

In searching for the big bat his club was missing this season and he had openly identified as his No. 1 goal of this offseason, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had no shortage of options to consider. He could’ve gone big in the free agent market and tried to sign one of the pre-eminent (but pricey) players available. He could’ve gone after a second-tier (and

How the Nationals’ 2021 lineup looks for now

The Christmas Eve acquisition of Josh Bell gives the Nationals a much-needed, middle-of-the-order bat. General manager Mike Rizzo said that was his No. 1 priority of the winter, and the general manager even dropped a hint last week it could come in the form of a first baseman. But where exactly does Bell - who is tentatively scheduled to speak to reporters this afternoon, by

Bell trade can’t be Nats’ only big move of the winter

The initial reaction to the Josh Bell trade was overwhelmingly positive. A Nationals club that desperately needed to acquire a big bat did so without spending gobs of money and without dealing away top prospects. What’s not to like about that? Well, as with all trades, it’s best not to jump to any conclusions just yet. Let’s see how this plays out. There’s a good

Nats get big bat for Christmas, acquire Josh Bell from Bucs

General manager Mike Rizzo found a much-desired big bat to stuff into the Nationals’ stocking just hours before the sun sets on Christmas Eve: Josh Bell. The Nats have acquired Bell, an All-Star first baseman in 2019, from the Pirates in exchange for pitching prospects Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean in a rare (but not unprecedented) Dec. 24 move announced by the club this afternoon.

Kendrick’s immeasurable impact on the Nationals

Ask someone to create a list of the best players in Nationals history, and you’re going to find plenty of consensus. Max Scherzer is on there, probably at the top, with Stephen Strasburg right behind him. Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and Bryce Harper most likely round out the top five, in one order or another. Ryan Zimmerman certainly deserves a spot. Then you’ll start getting

Nationals finished with seventh-highest payroll in 2020

The Nationals finished the 2020 season with the seventh-largest payroll in Major League Baseball, down three slots from their position during their World Series run the previous year but still leaving them among the sport’s biggest spenders. The Nats paid out a grand total of $76.2 million to all players on their 40-man roster this season, according to figures obtained and published by the Associated

Rizzo makes pitch for scouts to return to ballparks in 2021

As Aug. 31 arrived earlier this year, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo faced a dilemma he never wanted to face. Rizzo’s team had just completed an abysmal month of baseball, albeit during the unprecedented circumstances of the 2020 season. Now, as trade deadline day arrived, the Nats were 12-19, three games out of the final wild card position in the National League and staring up

What do Nats expect from Kieboom and García in 2021?

Had you asked anyone affiliated with the Nationals on opening day which rookie would garner the most big league plate appearances in 2020, the answer would’ve been Carter Kieboom every single time. Luis García? Well, perhaps the 20-year-old would make his debut at some point, but he wouldn’t see significant action. Certainly not more than Kieboom, who had been touted as the club’s everyday third

Nats prepping for on-time spring, but know there will be hurdles

On this cold, wet mid-December morning, here’s a warm thought to boost your spirits: Exactly two months from today, Nationals pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report for spring training. Emphasis, of course, on the “are scheduled to” portion of that statement. Anyone who definitively says spring training will begin as scheduled is merely hoping that comes true. “We’re planning for an on-time spring training,

Nationals plan for Gomes to catch majority of games in 2021

Mike Rizzo notoriously doesn’t tip his hand when it comes to offseason targets, but if you’re willing to take him at his word, it appears the Nationals general manager intends to go into the 2021 season with Yan Gomes catching more than 50 percent of his team’s games and a still-to-be-acquired veteran backing him up. During Tuesday’s Zoom session with reporters, his first since late

Rizzo: Big bat is No. 1 priority, owners willing to pay for it

The Nationals have a clear No. 1 priority this winter: Acquire a big bat to complement Trea Turner and Juan Soto in the heart of their lineup. And Mike Rizzo says ownership has assured him he’ll have the resources to acquire that kind of big-ticket item. “It’s no secret we’re a pitching-oriented team,” the Nats general manager said during a Zoom session with reporters today,

Nats take a shot on veteran lefty Avilan with minor league deal

If Major League Baseball reverses course and puts an end to the three-batter-minimum rule it instituted for pitchers this season, Luis Avilan might prove to be a savvy addition for the Nationals in 2021. There’s been no indication MLB intends to do that, however, so the challenge for Avilan to be a successful reliever for the Nats will be immense. The Nationals signed the 31-year-old

Monday morning Nats Q&A

Well, we’ve reached the third week of December, and the hot stove remains pretty cold from the Nationals’ perspective. All of the significant roster holes they knew they had a month ago remain significant roster holes. They’ve made a handful of fringe transactions, but nothing all that consequential yet. Perhaps that will change before this week is over. If nothing else, we’re finally going to

Thinning market for catchers leaves Nats with few options

The Nationals need another catcher. The number of appealing catchers available on the free agent market this winter was minimal all along. And now one of the few who might’ve fit that description is off the board after signing a surprisingly lucrative deal with a division rival. James McCann, widely regarded as the second-best available catcher behind star J.T. Realmuto, reportedly agreed Saturday to a

Updating Robles’ winter ball performance

The most prominent National currently playing winter ball is getting plenty of opportunities to refine his game. And to bat at the top of his lineup. Victor Robles, who is spending the early portion of this winter playing in his native Dominican Republic, has been leading off for Águilas Cibaeñas. And so far, he’s doing the two things most clubs want out of their leadoff

Nats’ 2019 roster could be a distant memory come 2021

Nothing lasts forever in baseball. Change is inevitable. No roster, good or bad, stays intact from year to year. So this isn’t unusual. But it’s still somewhat striking when you pause to think about it: More than half of the Nationals’ 2019 World Series roster isn’t going to be part of their 2021 roster. At the moment, only 11 of the 25 players who were

Rule 5 draft success stories are few and far between (updated)

The first virtual Rule 5 draft is set to be held today at noon Eastern, and who isn’t excited about that? Well, hardly anyone’s excited about it. Unless you work for a major league club’s player development unit, are a rabid follower of third-tier minor league prospects or are one of the players whose livelihood is actually at stake today, you really have no good

Juan Soto honored as All-MLB first-team outfielder

Had there been a 2020 All-Star Game, Juan Soto and Trea Turner almost certainly would’ve found their way to Dodger Stadium to join the rest of baseball’s best for a couple of days. But with no Midsummer Classic during a 60-game season that didn’t even begin until late July, Soto and Turner are left to be honored in a different fashion for their standout performances

What should Nats prioritize in search for new corner outfielder?

We’ve talked for weeks about the Nationals’ need for a new corner outfielder, and that need officially became official Tuesday when Adam Eaton (surprisingly?) returned to the White Sox four years after they traded him to Washington in one of the most significant trades in club history. The Nats, of course, could’ve retained Eaton had they picked up his $10.5 million option for 2021. They

Eaton reportedly returning to White Sox on one-year deal

Adam Eaton’s tenure with the Nationals officially ended today when the free agent outfielder decided to return to the organization that sent him to D.C. in a blockbuster four years ago. Eaton has signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the White Sox that also includes an $8.5 million club option for 2022, according to NBC Sports Chicago. The deal is pending a physical. It’s

On the importance of rotation depth

The Nationals’ acquisition Monday of Rogelio Armenteros didn’t generate much buzz, nor should it have. A 26-year-old right-hander with five games of big league experience claimed off waivers? That’s not exactly blockbuster material. But the move did offer up a reminder of an important but oft-overlooked area of concern for the Nationals and all clubs: rotation depth. Armenteros isn’t going to make the Nats rotation

Nats claim righty Armenteros, adding starter with options

Seeking more rotation depth, especially those with minor league options, the Nationals have claimed right-hander Rogelio Armenteros off waivers from the Diamondbacks. Armenteros, 26, has only five games of major league experience (with the Astros in 2019) but has been a starter with potential throughout his professional career. He missed the 2020 season while recovering from surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow.

Lack of Winter Meetings reminds us things aren’t normal yet

The baseball world should be gathering this morning in Dallas for the Winter Meetings. Thousands of club executives, managers, agents, minor league front office staffers, equipment manufacturers, job seekers and media members should be spending the next four days participating in what essentially amounts to an annual convention for professional baseball. Except it’s not happening. There are no Winter Meetings in 2020. The coronavirus has

Choice to quickly re-sign with Nats was easy for Harrison

Josh Harrison had dealt with the downside of free agency, twice. After waiting by his phone the entire winter of 2018-19, the veteran utility man finally got an offer from the Tigers after players had already reported to Lakeland, Fla., for spring training. Then, following an injury-plagued season in Detroit, he was left with little choice but to accept a minor league offer from the

Ross doesn’t regret opt-out decision, ready to return in 2021

As March turned to April, then May, then June and finally July, Joe Ross anxiously watched Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association negotiate a plan for the sport to play the 2020 season under unprecedented circumstances. Ross, like so many of his fellow players, acknowledged there were financial issues that needed to be sorted out before the season could commence. But he was

New additions won’t matter if returning Nats don’t improve

What do the Nationals need in order to become a contender again in 2021? At this point, surely you can rattle off the list of needs. A power bat to join Juan Soto and Trea Turner in the heart of the lineup. A No. 4 starter to replace Aníbal Sánchez. A catcher. A left-handed reliever. Those are the obvious needs, and they all need to

Some non-tendered outfielders who might interest Nats

As expected, the Nationals tendered their only two remaining arbitration-eligible players (Juan Soto and Trea Turner) before Wednesday’s 8 p.m. deadline. And as expected, a whole bunch of notable names were non-tendered by other clubs and became instant free agents. All told, 59 players were non-tendered, joining an already large list of free agents looking for work during what’s expected to be a rough winter

Nationals tender 2021 contracts to Soto, Turner

The Nationals tonight tendered contracts to Juan Soto and Trea Turner, their only remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players, in a couple of entirely expected-but-required transactions. All Major League Baseball clubs had until 8 p.m. Eastern time to either offer 2021 contracts to their players who are eligible for arbitration this winter (generally those with more than three but fewer than six years of big league service

With easy tender decisions, Nats will be watching other clubs

The Nationals typically go into baseball’s non-tender deadline day with some decisions to make. One year ago, they chose not to offer a contract to Javy Guerra (who later re-signed on a minor league deal), were prepared to do the same with Koda Glover before the oft-injured reliever instead announced his retirement, and after some internal discussion chose to retain Roenis Elías, Hunter Strickland and

Ross agrees to $1.5 million salary, avoiding arbitration

Joe Ross and the Nationals agreed to terms today on a one-year, $1.5 million contract, avoiding arbitration, a source familiar with the deal confirmed. With one day remaining before clubs are required to tender contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players, the Nats managed to work out a deal with Ross that establishes his 2021 salary right now, though it was a fairly straightforward process.

Stats don’t tell story of Nats fans’ adoration for Taylor

The day will come, perhaps in 10 years or 20 years or even more, when someone will mention Michael A. Taylor’s name fondly and someone else will look up the outfielder’s stats during his time with the Nationals and ask an understandable question. Why was this part-time player with the .237 average, .291 on-base percentage and more than 10 times as many strikeouts as home

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