Here’s the latest from the D.C. baseball world, on a day that saw the Nationals defeat the Marlins to record their first three-game win streak of the season…
- If the Nats can’t get back into the postseason race, Stephen Strasburg or Max Scherzer could potentially become trade candidates at the deadline depending on the team’s future direction, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in a subscriber-only piece. If the Nationals plan to reload for 2020, neither ace will be dealt, though a larger shakeup (and subsequent scaling-back of the team’s payroll) could see Strasburg or Scherzer on the block. Both starter has a hefty salary, however, that will present obstacles to a deal. Strasburg and Scherzer are each owed over $100MM on their contracts, both during the life of those deals and into the future, as per the Nationals’ deferral-heavy payment structure. In Strasburg’s case, he is under contract through 2023 but can also opt out after either this season or the 2020 season, so potential trade suitors could either balk at the remaining salary, or balk at giving up a lot of prospects for a pitcher who could leave as early as this offseason.
- Anibal Sanchez is set to throw a bullpen session tomorrow as he continues to rehab from a hamstring injury. While Sanchez could potentially be activated to start for the Nats on Wednesday, Martinez told reporters (including Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com) that no decision has been made about Wednesday’s starter, and Sanchez could still make a minor league rehab start. The veteran right-hander has gotten off to a tough start this year, posting a 5.10 ERA in his first 42 1/3 innings of 2019.
- Joe Ross was sent down to Triple-A on Saturday, where he will be stretched out once again as a starting pitcher, Martinez told the Washington Post’s Sam Fortier and other reporters. Injuries have limited Ross to just 285 Major League innings over four-plus seasons, and Washington deployed Ross as a reliever this season as he continues to recover from the Tommy John surgery that cost him virtually all of the 2018 campaign. Like many in the Nats bullpen, however, Ross struggled — he posted a 9.22 ERA over 13 2/3 innings, with 12 strikeouts against eight walks. “I think this gives him an opportunity to get comfortable, stretch him out, and hone in,” Martinez said, describing Ross’ shift back to starting pitching as a “longer term” move.
- In his latest video update for FOX Sports (Twitter link), Ken Rosenthal reports that Triple-A manager Randy Knorr is seen by some in the Nationals organization as a natural choice to take over the big league managerial job (at least with an interim tag) if the embattled Davey Martinez is fired. Knorr has worked in a variety of roles for the organization since 2005, including stints as the Nats’ bench coach and bullpen coach, and a manager at multiple levels of the farm system. Rosenthal notes that Knorr’s supporters see him as a potential Brian Snitker-like figure — a longtime organization man who has managed or coached almost everyone on Washington’s roster at one time or another, so a transition from yet another managerial change could be somewhat smoother if a familiar face like Knorr took over.