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Health in spring will determine Ross’ course with Nats

PLAYER REVIEW: JOE ROSS Age on opening day 2022: 28 How acquired: Traded with Trea Turner from Padres for Steven Souza Jr. and Travis Ott, who went to the Rays along with Jake Bauers, René Rivera and Burch Smith for Jose Castillo, Ryan Hanigan, Wil Myers and Gerardo Reyes, who went to the Padres, December 2014 MLB service time: 5 years, 18 days 2021 salary:

With surprise September, Rogers earned shot in 2022

PLAYER REVIEW: JOSH ROGERS Age on opening day 2022: 27 How acquired: Signed as minor league free agent, June 2021 MLB service time: 1 year, 1 day 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2024, free agent in 2027 2021 stats: 2-2, 3.28 ERA, 6 GS, 0 CG, 35 2/3 IP, 32 H, 13 R, 13 ER, 7 HR, 14 BB, 22

What role is best for Espino and Nationals in 2022?

PLAYER REVIEW: PAOLO ESPINO Age on opening day 2022: 35 How acquired: Signed as minor league free agent, November 2020 MLB service time: 1 year, 78 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2024, free agent in 2027 2021 stats: 5-5, 4.27 ERA, 35 G, 19 GS, 0 CG, 1 SV, 109 2/3 IP, 108 H, 53 R, 52 ER, 19

Source: Young will be Nats’ new first base coach

Eric Young Jr., the former Rockies and Mets outfielder who led the National League in stolen bases eight years ago, will be the Nationals’ new first base coach, a source familiar with the decision confirmed. Young, 36, hasn’t officially been named to manager Davey Martinez’s staff yet, but a formal announcement of the club’s full 2022 coaching staff is expected in the near future. His

Have Nats reached a crossroads with erratic Fedde?

PLAYER REVIEW: ERICK FEDDE Age on opening day 2022: 29 How acquired: First-round pick, 2014 draft MLB service time: 3 years, 99 days 2021 salary: $575,000 Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2022, free agent in 2025 2021 stats: 7-9, 5.47 ERA, 29 G, 27 GS, 0 CG, 133 1/3 IP, 144 H, 90 R, 81 ER, 23 HR, 48 BB, 128 SO, 4 HBP, 1.440 WHIP,

Nats can hope, but can’t count on Strasburg returning to form

PLAYER REVIEW: STEPHEN STRASBURG Age on opening day 2022: 33 How acquired: First-round pick, 2009 draft MLB service time: 11 years, 118 days 2021 salary: $35 million ($11.4 million deferred) Contract status: Signed for $35 million annually from 2022-26 ($11.4 million deferred each year), free agent in 2027 2021 stats: 1-2, 4.57 ERA, 5 GS, 0 CG, 21 2/3 IP, 16 H, 12 R, 11

After up-and-down rookie year, Gray looks to take next step

PLAYER REVIEW: JOSIAH GRAY Age on opening day 2022: 24 How acquired: Traded with Keibert Ruiz, Gerardo Carrillo and Donovan Casey from Dodgers for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, July 2021 MLB service time: 75 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2025, free agent in 2028 2021 stats (LA/WSH): 2-2, 5.48 ERA, 14 G, 13 GS, 0 CG, 70 2/3

Nats have no choice but to try to fix Corbin after awful season

PLAYER REVIEW: PATRICK CORBIN Age on opening day 2022: 32 How acquired: Signed as free agent, December 2018 MLB service time: 9 years, 105 days 2021 salary: $24 million Contract status: Signed for $23 million in 2022, $24 million in 2023, $35 million ($10 million deferred) in 2024 2021 stats: 9-16, 5.82 ERA, 31 GS, 0 CG, 171 2/3 IP, 192 H, 114 R, 111

Is there still an opportunity for Barrera to make Nats roster?

PLAYER REVIEW: TRES BARRERA Age on opening day 2022: 27 How acquired: Sixth-round pick, 2016 draft MLB service time: 88 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2025, free agent in 2028 2021 stats: 30 G, 107 PA, 91 AB, 8 R, 24 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 12 BB, 22 SO, .264

Stevenson struggles as regular, but thrives off the bench

PLAYER REVIEW: ANDREW STEVENSON Age on opening day 2022: 27 How acquired: Second-round pick, 2015 draft MLB service time: 2 years, 127 days 2021 salary: $579,100 Contract status: Possibly arbitration-eligible in 2022, free agent in 2026 2021 stats: 109 G, 213 PA, 192 AB, 22 R, 44 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS, 13 BB, 61 SO, .229

Is there one more shot for Robles or will Nats move on?

PLAYER REVIEW: VICTOR ROBLES Age on opening day 2022: 24 How acquired: Signed as international free agent, July 2013 MLB service time: 3 years, 32 days 2021 salary: $614,000 Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2022, free agent in 2025 2021 stats: 107 G, 369 PA, 315 AB, 37 R, 64 H, 21 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 8 SB, 6 CS, 33 BB, 85

Zimmerman can play another season, but does he want to?

PLAYER REVIEW: RYAN ZIMMERMAN Age on opening day 2022: 37 How acquired: First-round pick, 2005 draft MLB service time: 15 years, 32 days 2021 salary: $1.35 million (with incentives) Contract status: Free agent 2021 stats: 110 G, 273 PA, 255 AB, 27 R, 62 H, 16 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 46 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 16 BB, 77 SO, .243 AVG, .286 OBP,

Is 34-year-old Hernandez a left fielder, pinch-hitter or DH?

PLAYER REVIEW: YADIEL HERNANDEZ Age on opening day 2022: 34 How acquired: Signed as international free agent, October 2016 MLB service time: 1 year, 28 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2024, free agent in 2027 2021 stats: 112 G, 289 PA, 264 AB, 33 R, 72 H, 8 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 3 SB, 0 CS,

Thomas surprisingly put himself into Nats’ potential plan

PLAYER REVIEW: LANE THOMAS Age on opening day 2022: 26 How acquired: Traded from Cardinals for Jon Lester, July 2021 MLB service time: 2 years, 14 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2023, free agent in 2026 2021 stats (STL/WSH): 77 G, 264 PA, 226 AB, 35 R, 53 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 6 SB,

Coles’ mantra for Nats hitters: “Dominate the strike zone”

Over the course of more than 30 minutes answering questions from reporters over Zoom this afternoon, new Nationals hitting coach Darnell Coles espoused all kinds of thoughts on philosophy, approach, communication and everything else that goes into his job. It’s all quite interesting, and the Nats hope the 59-year-old is exactly what they need as they continue their rebuilding project with a partially remade coaching

After MVP-caliber season, Soto now faces contract question

PLAYER REVIEW: JUAN SOTO Age on opening day 2022: 23 How acquired: Signed as international free agent, July 2015 MLB service time: 3 years, 134 days 2021 salary: $8.5 million Contract status: Arbitration-eligible, free agent in 2025 2021 stats: 151 G, 654 PA, 502 AB, 111 R, 157 H, 20 2B, 2 3B, 29 HR, 95 RBI, 9 SB, 7 CS, 145 BB, 93 SO,

Is there a spot for versatile Mercer to return in 2022?

PLAYER REVIEW: JORDY MERCER Age on opening day 2022: 35 How acquired: Signed as minor league free agent, February 2021 MLB service time: 8 years, 156 days 2021 salary: $1 million Contract status: Free agent 2021 stats: 46 G, 127 PA 118 AB, 13 R, 30 H, 7 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 9 BB, 34 SO, .254 AVG,

Is Adams a backup catcher with pop, or could he be more?

PLAYER REVIEW: RILEY ADAMS Age on opening day 2022: 25 How acquired: Traded from Blue Jays for Brad Hand, July 2021 MLB service time: 92 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2025, free agent in 2028 2021 stats (TOR/WSH): 47 G, 120 PA, 99 AB, 13 R, 22 H, 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 0

Source: Nats moving toward hiring Coles as hitting coach

Though a deal is not yet finalized, the Nationals are making progress toward hiring Darnell Coles as their new hitting coach, a source familiar with the discussions confirmed. Details still have to be worked out, according to the source, but once completed Coles would take the position held the last four seasons by Kevin Long, who departed earlier this week to become the Phillies hitting

With strong finish, Ruiz showed he’s ready to be No. 1 catcher

PLAYER REVIEW: KEIBERT RUIZ Age on opening day 2022: 23 How acquired: Traded with Josiah Gray, Gerardo Carrillo and Donovan Casey from Dodgers for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, July 2021 MLB service time: 64 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2025, free agent in 2028 2021 stats (LA/WSH): 29 G, 96 PA, 88 AB, 10 R, 24 H, 3

After another down year, will Kieboom get another shot?

PLAYER REVIEW: CARTER KIEBOOM Age on opening day 2022: 24 How acquired: First-round pick, 2016 draft MLB service time: 1 year, 86 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2024, free agent in 2027 2021 stats: 62 G, 249 PA, 217 AB, 26 R, 45 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 25 BB, 62

Nolin, Baldonado, Fuentes dropped from 40-man roster

The Nationals removed three players off their 40-man roster this afternoon, assigning pitchers Alberto Baldonado, Steven Fuentes and Sean Nolin outright to Triple-A Rochester. Baldonado and Fuentes remain in the organization. Nolin, who previously in his career had been outrighted to the minor leagues, elected to become a free agent. Baldonado and Nolin ended the season in the Nats bullpen, while Fuentes spent much of

Can Escobar repeat success from surprising season?

PLAYER REVIEW: ALCIDES ESCOBAR Age on opening day 2022: 35 How acquired: Traded from Royals for cash considerations, July 2021 MLB service time: 10 years, 3 days 2021 salary: $1 million Contract status: Signed for $1 million in 2022, free agent in 2023 2021 stats: 75 G, 349 PA, 319 AB, 53 R, 92 H, 21 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB,

García showed promise, now needs to show consistency

PLAYER REVIEW: LUIS GARCÍA Age on opening day 2022: 21 How acquired: Signed as international free agent, July 2016 MLB service time: 1 year, 37 days 2021 salary: $570,500 Contract status: Under team control, arbitration-eligible in 2024, free agent in 2027 2021 stats: 70 G, 247 PA, 236 AB, 29 R, 57 H, 18 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 0 SB, 2 CS,

Long leaving Nationals to become Phillies hitting coach

The Nationals have another opening on their coaching staff to fill after learning hitting coach Kevin Long is leaving to take a position with the Phillies. Long, the club’s hitting coach since 2018, was invited to return in 2022 but was free to seek other employment because his contract was expiring. He chose to join Joe Girardi’s staff in Philadelphia, where he’ll be reunited with

After abysmal start, Bell proved to be hitter Nats expected

PLAYER REVIEW: JOSH BELL Age on opening day 2022: 29 How acquired: Traded from Pirates for RHP Wil Crowe and RHP Eddy Yean, December 2020 MLB service time: 5 years, 53 days 2021 salary: $6.35 million Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2022, free agent in 2023 2021 stats: 144 G, 568 PA, 498 AB, 75 R, 130 H, 24 2B, 1 3B, 27 HR, 88 RBI,

Henley, Knorr won’t return to MLB staff, will remain with Nats

Longtime Nationals coaches Bob Henley and Randy Knorr will not return to the major league staff next season, though both will remain in the organization in player development roles, a source familiar with the changes confirmed. Henley, the club’s third base coach for seven of the last eight seasons, and Knorr, the club’s first base coach this season after previous stints as bench coach and

Revisiting our 2021 season predictions

Predicting how a baseball season is going to play out is no easy task. We’ve been trying to do it around here for years, and though we sometimes get a few things right, we’re usually wrong with much more frequency. And never have we been more wrong than we were this season. Not that my colleagues on the Nationals beat were alone in that regard.

How should we feel about former Nats in the postseason?

The Nationals aren’t participating in the 2021 postseason. And yet, everywhere you look, you find folks with Nationals connections that stir up all kinds of emotions inside you. Really, they’re everywhere. There’s Kyle Schwarber hitting Schwarbombs for the Red Sox. Lucas Giolito dealing for the White Sox. Dusty Baker managing the Astros. Mike Maddux coaching the Cardinals pitching staff. Blake Treinen coming out of the

Nats must start turning draft picks into quality big leaguers

At the crux of the Nationals’ decision to trade away eight veterans and begin a franchise rebuilding project this summer was an acknowledgment by the front office that its farm system desperately needed to be restocked. Had their system been filled with more prospects who could step in and take over when veterans either got hurt or saw their skills fade, the Nats might well

Defensive drop-off after trade deadline hurt Nationals

The Nationals entered the 2021 season determined to be a better defensive club after ranking last in the majors in that department during the previous, pandemic-shortened season. And in late July, a quick glance at the sport’s defensive rankings showed they indeed had achieved that goal. On the morning of July 30, the Nationals as a team ranked sixth in Defensive Runs Saved, a massive

Even after sell-off, Nats lineup remained productive

A lot of things with the Nationals went wrong this season, horribly wrong. But not everything. And one thing that did work out in the end, surprisingly enough, was a lineup that was productive both prior to and after the massive trade-deadline sell-off. The Nats ended the season with the highest team batting average (.258) and on-base percentage (.337) in the National League. Their .754

Nationals bringing back Escobar on one-year deal

Alcides Escobar, who enjoyed a career renaissance after joining a Nationals club desperate for healthy infielders this summer, will return in 2022. The club re-signed the veteran shortstop to a one-year contract today, taking care of that pressing matter less than 48 hours after its season ended. Escobar became an unlikely regular for the Nats during the season’s second half, filling in admirably following the

Nats’ offseason plan must start with improved pitching

Since taking over as Nationals general manager in 2009, Mike Rizzo has believed in one path to success above all else: Elite pitching. And not just elite pitching, but elite starting pitching. It was the hallmark of the franchise’s eight-year run as a contender from 2012-19. Pick any year the Nats reached the postseason, and you’ll find a rotation that ranked among the majors’ best.

After a season that crumbled, Nats have a lot to do

The high point of the 2021 season for the Nationals, as it turned out, came June 30, probably right at the moment Trea Turner slid into third base to complete the third cycle of his career. The Nats were well on their way to a 15-6 romp over the Rays, completing a 19-9 month of June to raise their record to 42-40, standing in second

Crowd salutes Zimmerman, then Sox beat ‘pen (updated)

The outcome of the game was important - to the Red Sox. The Nationals wanted to respect that. And yet there were things the Nats felt they needed to do in this Game 162, whether putting a 23-year-old rookie on the mound for his major league debut, giving a retiring catcher a chance to take the field one last time or giving a potentially retiring

Rizzo: After low point this year, improvement expected in 2022

Mike Rizzo wasn’t about to put a timetable on the Nationals’ rebuilding project to become a contender again, but the longtime general manager seemed to make it clear today in an end-of-season session with reporters that he views this year as the low point in the process, with significant improvement expected in 2022. “Our goal is to win,” Rizzo said during a 25-minute session in

Game 162 lineups: Nats vs. Red Sox

Well, here we are. It’s Game 162, the end of a long and winding and eventful but ultimately disappointing baseball season in the nation’s capital. If someone told you on opening day everything that would transpire over the ensuing six months, would you have believed it? Probably not. There is, however, meaningful baseball to be played today on South Capitol Street. Perhaps not so meaningful

Martinez says Hickey will return, less definitive on other coaches

The Nationals pitching staff enters today’s season finale sporting a 4.79 ERA, seventh-worst in the majors. And that number has only gotten worse as the season has played out. Since the All-Star break, the Nats’ ERA is a gaudy 5.60, third-worst in the majors. So as they prepare to evaluate what went wrong this year, and what changes could be necessary to try to prevent

Nats drop wild game, Red Sox move closer to wild card (updated)

The closest the Nationals are going to get to meaningful October baseball occurred around 7 p.m. tonight on South Capitol Street, as the sun set behind the first base stands, the temperature inched down toward the 60s, and a sellout crowd of 41,465 watched in nervous anticipation as the most feared hitter in the sport stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the

Parra activated, García sits again, Adon could pitch Sunday

Gerardo Parra is getting one last shot to finish the season on the field, but it appears Luis García’s season may have already ended. Parra was activated off the 10-day injured list prior to this afternoon’s game against the Red Sox, with left-hander Josh Rogers placed on the IL with a right hamstring strain. It’s a fortuitous break for Parra, who last played Sept. 4

Game 161 lineups: Nats vs. Red Sox

The Nationals put up a fight Friday night against the Red Sox, but couldn’t convert a few golden opportunities with runners in scoring position and wound up losing 4-2. In the process, the Red Sox moved a step closer to clinching a spot in Tuesday night’s American League wild card game. Their magic number is at two entering the day, so they’re in with a

Fans thank Schwarber for memorable half-season in D.C.

Kyle Schwarber was meeting a friend of his on the Cubs coaching staff who was in town for the upcoming weekend series in D.C. at 10:30 p.m. on July 29 when his phone rang and Mike Rizzo’s name showed up as the caller. He didn’t need the Nationals general manager to tell him why he was calling, only to tell him the name of the

Rogers fades late, Nats can’t rally to beat Red Sox (updated)

It had been a while since Nationals Park experienced this kind of energy, provided by a crowd of 32,521 filled with fans with varied reasons to get amped up for the opener of the season’s final series. Some were excited to see Juan Soto’s last charge for a batting title and possible MVP honor. They perhaps took solace in the four walks he drew -

Soto headlines Nationals’ annual team award winners

Juan Soto has three more days to make his case to win National League MVP honors. He already locked up a slightly less significant honor today. Soto was named the Nationals’ 2021 Player of the Year, the second straight season the young star won the award given out annually in a vote of media members who regularly cover the team. Soto is joined by Kyle

Game 160 lineups: Nats vs. Red Sox

We have arrived at last at the final homestand of the season. Three more games to wrap up what undeniably has been a season most everyone around here wants to forget. But first, there are three games to play against a team that very much needs to win as many of these as it can. The Red Sox enter play tied with the red-hot Mariners

What’s in store for Zimmerman during final weekend?

At some point in each of the next three evenings, Ryan Zimmerman is going to step to the plate at Nationals Park and receive a massive ovation each time. It won’t matter what he does, whether he drives a ball off the wall for a double or strikes out on three pitches. The crowd will shower him with adulation whenever his name is mentioned, anytime

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