Washington Nationals – MLB Trade Rumors https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:23:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nationals Place Brian Goodwin On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-kahnle-drury-shoemaker-goodwin-rendon-burnette.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-kahnle-drury-shoemaker-goodwin-rendon-burnette.html#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2018 02:20:18 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120272
  • The Nationals have made another DL placement as the organization continues to deal with a barrage of position-player injuries. As Byron Kerr of MASNsports.com reports, Brian Goodwin’s sore wrist has forced him onto the shelf. The expectation, though, is that it’ll be a short stint. Andrew Stevenson will replace him for the time being. In more hopeful news, skipper Dave Martinez says that third baseman Anthony Rendon is making steady progress from a toe injury suffered on a foul tip. That’s certainly good news for the Nats, who are currently going without several of their best players.
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    Victor Robles Will Not Require Surgery For Arm Injury https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/victor-robles-will-not-require-surgery-for-arm-injury.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/victor-robles-will-not-require-surgery-for-arm-injury.html#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2018 03:18:45 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120202 Top Nationals prospect Victor Robles has avoided the worst-case scenario after recently suffering a worrisome arm injury, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post was among those to report on Twitter. While details remain scant, skipper Dave Martinez suggested that the team anticipates Robles will avoid surgery and be back at some point in the current season.

    It seems that the Nats had largely resigned themselves to losing one of the game’s very best prospects for all of the 2018 season — which would have removed a key security blanket for a club that has endured an underwhelming opening to the new campaign. While he had been cleared of any fractures, the club evidently anticipated that an MRI would reveal some damage to Robles’s elbow, which was injured when his glove was trapped on a diving attempt at a catch in the outfield. The belief now appears to be that Robles will still need to spend a few months rehabbing, but will be able to get back into playing form this year after being cleared of any torn ligaments.

    Though Robles obviously wasn’t on the MLB roster to open the year, this still registers as significant news for the Nationals’ near-term plans. With Michael Taylor limping to a .193/.233/.246 slash line out of the gates and Adam Eaton landing on the DL on the heels of a lengthy rehab, it’s certainly possible Robles would already have been called upon had he not been hurt.

    Even if the plan called for him to stay at Triple-A for a while — he had skipped the level last year when he made a late-season debut in D.C. — Robles has long seemed to be a key potential mid-season addition. It’s arguable he could function as a major trade chip, too, though that always has felt unlikely given the organization’s near-term outfield needs, its unwillingness to deal Robles in the past, and his readiness to make his own contribution to a postseason push.

    While the Nationals still need to get back to full health and find some improvements from within the current active roster, it’s something of a relief for the team to know that Robles could conceivably still be a factor at the MLB level this year. Even if that does not come to pass, the organization ought to be able to get some comfort with Robles’s status heading into the offseason, when some highly consequential decisions will be made on the future of the outfield.

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    Nationals Select Contract Of Jeremy Hellickson https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-select-contract-of-jeremy-hellickson.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-select-contract-of-jeremy-hellickson.html#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2018 20:08:13 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120175 The Nationals announced that they’ve selected the contract of veteran right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and transferred catcher Jhonatan Solano to the 60-day disabled list (bone chips in right elbow) to create a spot on the 40-man roster. The Nats opened an active roster spot for Hellickson, who’ll start tonight’s game, by optioning righty Trevor Gott to Triple-A Syracuse.

    Hellickson, 31, will step into the fifth spot of the Nats’ rotation in place of struggling right-hander A.J. Cole, who has been tagged for a dozen runs on 13 hits (four homers) and five walks through his first nine innings of the season. Cole couldn’t be sent to the minors to clear space for Hellickson due to the fact that he’s out of minor league options and would’ve first needed to be exposed to waivers. As such, he’ll head to the bullpen for now.

    Hellickson will be eyeing a rebound from a disastrous 2017 season that saw him struggle with the Phillies before completely coming unglued following a trade to the Orioles. In 51 2/3 innings with the O’s down the stretch, the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year allowed an average of 2.26 home runs per nine innings pitched while notching just 5.40 strikeouts against 2.96 walks per nine frames. The resulting 6.97 ERA and overall body of Hellickson’s struggles were concerning enough that he had to settle for a minor league contract with an invite to MLB camp with the Nats in free agency this winter.

    Of course, Hellickson isn’t far removed from a full season of work as a quality big league starter. Pitching for the division-rival Phillies in 2016, Hellickson parlayed 189 innings of 3.71 ERA ball with 7.33 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9 and a 40.7 percent grounder rate into a $17.2MM qualifying offer. He accepted that QO rather than testing the open market but wasn’t able to further build his stock and cash in on a multi-year pact as he likely hoped.

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    NL Notes: Blackmon, Gyorko, Gregerson, Glasnow, Hellickson https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-notes-blackmon-gyorko-gregerson-glasnow-hellickson.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-notes-blackmon-gyorko-gregerson-glasnow-hellickson.html#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2018 00:28:16 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120108 Though recently-extended Rockies slugger Charlie Blackmon is a star outfielder, he spent his early career trying to make it as a pitcher. Kyle Newman of the Denver Post details Blackmon’s story, beginning with his high school tenure in Atlanta. After struggling to gain any significant attention early on, Blackmon began experiencing arm troubles in his junior year at Georgia Tech. The following season, however, saw him excel as a hitter en route to being drafted by the Rockies. He’s now set to earn nine figures throughout the course of his MLB career. There are some insightful quotes and tidbits in Newman’s article, including this quote from manager Walt Weiss: “I didn’t foresee the power — he’s made some adjustments, and there’s lightning in the bat now because his power numbers are pretty amazing considering the type of player he was when he broke in.”

    More from around the National League…

    • The Cardinals have a pair of players set to return soon in Jedd Gyorko and Luke Gregerson, as Joe Trezza of MLB.com reminds us. In fact, both could come off the DL as early as this coming week. Trezza adds that Gyorko’s situation will complicate the infield alignment in St. Louis, as he could sap some playing time from either Kolten Wong or Matt Carpenter (both of whom are currently ice cold at the plate). Gregerson has thrown four scoreless rehab appearances; he began the season on the DL with a hamstring strain.
    • Tyler Glasnow’s first season in relief has yielded good results so far for the Pirates, writes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The fireballing righty has allowed just a run across six innings in his first three appearances, in part due to an increase in his spin rate. Brink notes that he’s averaged 2,859 revolutions per minute on his curveball, a mark that’s presently 12th in all of MLB. Glasnow’s also increased his average fastball velocity to 96 MPH. “He’s a little bit more free at ease out there on the mound and being himself,” said Ray Searage, renowned pitching coach for the Pirates. “When you have confidence in yourself and try to execute at the best of your ability, you’re going to be more free and easy.”
    • Jeremy Hellickson will officially start for the Nationals tomorrow, Dan Kolko of MASN reports on Twitter. That falls in line with earlier reports that suggested the possibility. Nats fans are surely glad to see anyone but A.J. Cole, who sports a 12.00 ERA through two starts so far this season. There’s a $2MM salary to gain for Hellickson if he sticks in the rotation, as the terms of his minors pact with the club dictate.
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    Jeremy Hellickson Could Start For Nationals On Monday https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/east-notes-sox-ohtani-g-torres-hellickson-realmuto-mets.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/east-notes-sox-ohtani-g-torres-hellickson-realmuto-mets.html#comments Sun, 15 Apr 2018 19:33:36 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120082
  • Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson could take the ball for the Nationals on Monday when they open a series against the division-rival Mets, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com suggests. Righty A.J. Cole is penciled in at the moment, though signs are pointing to Hellickson making his Nats debut, Zuckerman explains. Promoting Hellickson, whom Washington signed to a minors deal before the season, would require the team to add him to its 40-man roster and jettison someone else. That wouldn’t be the out-of-options Cole, per Zuckerman, who expects him to move to the bullpen in the event of a Hellickson call-up. The 31-year-old Hellickson, a veteran of 197 starts, will earn a $2MM salary if he lands a spot with the Nats.
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    Nats Notes: Murphy, Rendon https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-notes-harvey-forsythe-nats-braves.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-notes-harvey-forsythe-nats-braves.html#comments Sun, 15 Apr 2018 15:43:28 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120040
  • Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy will begin extended spring training action Monday, manager Davey Martinez told Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com and other reporters Sunday (Twitter links). Martinez noted that the Nats aren’t going to rush Murphy, who’s working back from offseason surgery on his right knee. Meanwhile, third baseman Anthony Rendon is unlikely to require a DL stint, Martinez revealed. Rendon’s dealing with a sore left big toe that kept him out of the lineup Saturday. He’ll rest again Sunday.
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    Anthony Rendon Misses Game Due To Toe Injury https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-east-notes-rendon-acuna-hunter.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-east-notes-rendon-acuna-hunter.html#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2018 21:14:28 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120002
  • Anthony Rendon left last night’s game after fouling a ball off his left big toe, and he wasn’t in today’s Nationals lineup. X-rays on the toe were negative, and manager Dave Martinez told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and other reporters that there had yet to be any discussion of a possible DL stint for the star third baseman. Washington is already short Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton from their first-choice starting lineup, and a Rendon absence would give Bryce Harper even less protection.
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    Nationals Sign Tuffy Gosewisch, Release Miguel Montero https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/minor-mlb-transactions-41418.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/minor-mlb-transactions-41418.html#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2018 20:49:35 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119991
  • The Nationals have officially released Miguel Montero, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  The veteran catcher was designated for assignment earlier this week. He signed a minor league contract with the Nats over the offseason and ended up appearing in four games with the team, filling in as Washington dealt with some catching injuries.
    • The Nationals have officially released Miguel Montero, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  The veteran catcher was designated for assignment earlier this week. He signed a minor league contract with the Nats over the offseason and ended up appearing in four games with the team, filling in as Washington dealt with some catching injuries.
    • With Montero now gone, the Nationals added some minor league catching depth by inking Tuffy Gosewisch to a minors deal, as per the team’s MLB.com transactions page. Gosewisch was released by the Mariners in early April after re-signing with the organization on a new minor league deal over the offseason. Gosewisch appeared in just 11 big league games with Seattle last season, but received 369 PA as a backup catcher with the D’Backs from 2014-16.
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    Pirates Claim Enny Romero From Nationals https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/pirates-claim-enny-romero-from-nationals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/pirates-claim-enny-romero-from-nationals.html#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2018 18:51:55 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120007 The Pirates have claimed left-hander Enny Romero off waivers from the Nationals, as per a Pittsburgh media release.  Romero will claim an open spot on the Bucs’ 40-man roster, and the release stated that he’ll join the Major League roster once a corresponding move is made.

    Washington designated Romero for assignment last week in the wake of a tough start to the season that saw the lefty allow three runs over two innings pitched.  Romero was something of the victim of a roster crunch, as the Nats chose to subtract from their eight-man bullpen to add extra bench depth in the form of utilityman Matt Reynolds.  In 2017, Romero posted a 3.56 ERA, 10.5 K/9, and a 2.83 K/BB rate over 55 2/3 IP for the Nationals.

    Romero will join closer Felipe Vazquez as the only other left-handed reliever on the Pirates’ 25-man roster, with Steven Brault (in the rotation) and Josh Smoker (at Triple-A) representing the only other southpaws on Pittsburgh’s 40-man.  Romero isn’t an ideal candidate, however, to provide balance to the Pirates bullpen since he has been a reverse-splits pitcher over his 138 career innings. Left-handed batters have a healthy .317/.398/.467 slash line against him while right-handed batters have hit just .232/.317/.371.

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    Could Nationals Target Lucroy Next Winter? https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/heymans-latest-arrieta-lucroy-tigers-puig-gordon-k-rod-acuna.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/heymans-latest-arrieta-lucroy-tigers-puig-gordon-k-rod-acuna.html#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2018 14:59:13 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119967
  • The Nationals could potentially be contenders to sign Jonathan Lucroy next offseason.  Matt Wieters is in his last year under contract, and Washington had some interest in Lucroy this winter despite Wieters still being on the hook for $10.5MM this season.  Of course, quite a bit could happen to affect this interest between now and next winter, particularly since Lucroy is looking to rebound with the Athletics after a very inconsistent 2017 season.  If Lucroy does bounce back and the A’s are out of contention this year, I would think it possible that the Nats could even target Lucroy at the trade deadline.

    [SOURCE LINK]
    • The Nationals could potentially be contenders to sign Jonathan Lucroy next offseason.  Matt Wieters is in his last year under contract, and Washington had some interest in Lucroy this winter despite Wieters still being on the hook for $10.5MM this season.  Of course, quite a bit could happen to affect this interest between now and next winter, particularly since Lucroy is looking to rebound with the Athletics after a very inconsistent 2017 season.  If Lucroy does bounce back and the A’s are out of contention this year, I would think it possible that the Nats could even target Lucroy at the trade deadline.
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    Glover Throwing From 75 Feet; Benoit Not Cleared To Throw https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/braves-aaron-blair-shoulder-injury-marlins-wei-yin-chen-throwing.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/braves-aaron-blair-shoulder-injury-marlins-wei-yin-chen-throwing.html#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2018 17:04:04 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119885
  • MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr tweets that Nationals reliever Koda Glover is making some progress in his return from shoulder troubles. Glover, who was briefly the team’s closer in a 2017 season marred by back and hip injuries, opened the year on the 60-day DL after a spring MRI revealed inflammation in his right shoulder. He’s now throwing from 75 feet though, which is at least a step in the right direction for a young power arm for whom the organization has quite a bit of hope. The outlook on Joaquin Benoit is less optimistic, as Kerr notes that the veteran has yet to begin throwing. Washington added Benoit late this spring — not long after Glover’s MRI, in fact — but he quickly went down with a forearm strain and opened the season on the DL himself.
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    Nationals To Sign Mark Reynolds https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-to-sign-mark-reynolds.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-to-sign-mark-reynolds.html#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2018 00:06:35 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119844 The Nationals have agreed to terms with veteran first baseman Mark Reynolds, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). It’ll be a minor-league deal if Reynolds passes his physical, per Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (Twitter link).

    Reynolds, 34, had gone unsigned all winter despite reportedly having some contact with the Rockies. He had been the team’s regular first baseman for all of the 2017 season, turning in a useful (albeit Coors Field-aided) .267/.352/.487 batting line with thirty home runs over 593 plate appearances.

    Now, Reynolds will head to an organization that does not appear to have much of an opening at the MLB level. Ryan Zimmerman — who played with Reynolds at the University of Virginia — is firmly ensconced atop the depth chart, with the left-handed-hitting Matt Adams supplementing him on the roster.

    To be sure, Reynolds has spent time at other positions. The bulk of his time in the majors has come at third base and he has also appeared a few times in the corner outfield and even (quite briefly) at second. But it has been quite some time since Reynolds lined up at the hot corner, so it’s doubtful he’ll be considered more than a depth piece for the Nats for the time being.

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    Nationals Designate Miguel Montero https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-designate-miguel-montero.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-designate-miguel-montero.html#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2018 14:27:09 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119723 The Nationals have designated catcher Miguel Montero for assignment, per a club announcement. That’ll open an active roster spot for the activation of backstop Matt Wieters and clear a 40-man place for Moises Sierra, whose contract was selected with fellow outfielder Adam Eaton hitting the DL.

    [RELATED: Updated Nationals Depth Chart]

    Montero, 34, received the nod as the reserve catcher to open the season after signing a minors deal over the winter. His contract included a $1.3MM salary in the majors, though according to Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com (Twitter link) it was not fully guaranteed.

    While he was once a solid regular behind the dish, Montero has trailed off in recent seasons. He still knows how to draw a walk, but is just a .211/.316/.343 hitter since the start of the 2016 season and didn’t quite reach that standard in his Grapefruit League action this spring. On the defensive side, Montero’s once-sparkling framing numbers dropped in 2017 and he had marked difficulty controlling opposing runners on the bases.

    Of course, some of those same sorts of questions are still also facing Wieters, who is coming off of a forgettable 2017 season in D.C. He’ll look to get back on track now that he has recovered from a minor oblique injury, though it’s possible he will increasingly need to share time with the younger Pedro Severino, who bypassed Montero after Wieters went down. It’s questionable at best whether Severino will hit consistently in the majors, but at this point the Nats have good cause to give him an opportunity to show he can. On the whole, the catching situation remains a major source of uncertainty for the D.C. organization.

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    Nationals Place Adam Eaton On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-likely-to-place-adam-eaton-on-10-day-dl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-likely-to-place-adam-eaton-on-10-day-dl.html#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2018 13:33:01 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119716 The Nationals have placed outfielder Adam Eaton on the 10-day DL, as Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reported was likely to occur. Eaton will be replaced by outfielder Moises Sierra, whose promotion required some other roster machinations.

    Eaton is not dealing with any new problems in his surgically-repaired left knee, but rather has been diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left ankle. That joint was also damaged last year, though it seems the new problem is not expected to pose any major new obstacles. Just how long he’ll be out remains to be seen and will likely be dictated both by how he responds to treatment and by how the roster shakes out in the meantime.

    While it unquestionably hurts the Nats to see Eaton go back on the shelf, the veteran noted there are some silver linings here. “[W]e’re really going to concentrate on strength and the process of getting it better,” he said of his left leg. “And get my quad correct and everything. And work on things we kind of ran out of time in spring training so this might be a little blessing in disguise.”

    As for Sierra, the 29-year-old hasn’t tasted the majors since back in 2014. But he has performed well since joining the Nationals on a minors deal, turning in a strong spring performance and opening the season well at Triple-A. In all likelihood, Brian Goodwin will take the bulk of the time in left, with Sierra supplementing him as needed. The club could have turned to Andrew Stevenson, who is already on the 40-man, but he has scuffled early at Syracuse after a reasonably promising spring.

    Of course, the open spot might have gone to top prospect Victor Robles, who could well have commanded a MLB job to open the season had it not been for the full mix of outfielders already ahead of him. But Robles left a recent game after a cringe-inducing effort at a diving catch.

    Fortunately, x-rays on Robles’s arm were negative, as Castillo reports (Twitter links). He has only been diagnosed to this point with a hyperextended elbow, though ligament or other damage has yet to be ruled out since a complete examination will not be possible until the swelling in the joint has subsided. The Nats organization, which no doubt views the much-hyped Robles as an excellent insurance policy and potential mid-season roster addition, is undoubtedly hoping that he has escaped a significant injury.

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    Matt Wieters Nearing Return https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-rizzo-kiermaier-mariners-wieters-odor-morales-martinez.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-rizzo-kiermaier-mariners-wieters-odor-morales-martinez.html#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2018 16:29:51 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119636
  • Likewise, the Nationals are nearing the activation of catcher Matt Wieters, as Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports. The veteran will take at least a brief rehab assignment but will likely be ready to go shortly thereafter. With Pedro Severino showing well in the chances he has received early on, it’s quite possible he’ll remain on the roster even when Wieters is back. Skipper Dave Martinez says “there’s a good possibility we keep three catchers” for a stretch, with Miguel Montero rounding out the anticipated trio.
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    Nationals Designate Enny Romero, Select Jhonatan Solano’s Contract https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-designate-enny-romero-select-jhonatan-solanos-contract.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-designate-enny-romero-select-jhonatan-solanos-contract.html#comments Sat, 07 Apr 2018 13:57:54 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119437 The Nationals have designated left-hander Enny Romero for assignment, as per a team announcement.  In corresponding moves, the club has selected the contract of catcher Jhonatan Solano from Triple-A and also called up utilityman Matt Reynolds, while catcher Miguel Montero has been placed on the paternity list.

    Romero posted a 3.56 ERA, 10.5 K/9, and 2.83 K/BB rate over 55 2/3 innings out of Washington’s bullpen last season, with those solid results powered by a fastball that averaged 98 mph.  He did allow runs in both of his outings so far in 2018, however, which seems to have made him the odd man out of the eight-man Nats pen, especially since the team needed some extra bench depth with Adam Eaton hampered by a minor ankle issue.  (Manager Dave Martinez told the Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo and other reporters that Eaton is available today and is expected to start tomorrow, quelling fears about Eaton’s status.)

    Reynolds was a second-round pick for the Mets  in the 2012 draft, though after 226 PA (and a .228/.300/.351 slash line) for the team in 2016-17, New York dealt Reynolds to Washington last February after designating him for assignment.  Reynolds has spent the bulk of his pro career as a shortstop, though he has also seen plenty of action as a second baseman, third baseman, and left fielder.  The 27-year-old has hit .279/.346/.396 over 2152 career plate appearances in the minors.

    Solano’s stint in the big leagues may be a short one while Montero is temporarily absent, though appearing in a game would mark Solano’s first MLB action since 2015.  Solano played in 43 games for the Nationals and Marlins over the 2012, 2013, and 2015 seasons, and the 32-year-old has since played for the Nats’ Triple-A affiliate.

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    Offseason In Review: Washington Nationals https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/offseason-in-review-washington-nationals-8.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/offseason-in-review-washington-nationals-8.html#comments Sat, 07 Apr 2018 05:04:04 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119423 This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    Major League Signings

    Trades & Claims

    Option Decisions

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    Nationals 25-Man Roster & Minor League Depth ChartNationals Payroll Overview

    Needs Addressed

    Another great regular season, another postseason disappointment. The refrain is familiar at this point for the Nationals, though it’s also far from clear that there was any reason to waver from an approach that has delivered a steady stream of MLB talent since the organization’s breakout 2012 season.

    The latest NLDS calamity did not lead to a roster shake-up, unsurprisingly, but it did result in wholesale change in the field leadership. A largely unexpected decision not to pursue a new contract with skipper Dusty Baker left the organization searching for a new manager and coaching staff. The Nationals ultimately settled on Davey Martinez — who, like several other recent hires, he has never before held that role. Among the rookie skippers, though, Martinez stands out for his ample experience on MLB coaching staffs — particularly, a long run alongside current Cubs and former Rays manager Joe Maddon.

    Once Martinez was installed, the Nats did not have a lot of work to do over the winter. Veteran outfielder Jayson Werth wrapped up his contract, but there was no need to find a replacement with Adam Eaton returning from the knee injury that cost him most of the 2017 season, Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin coming off of productive campaigns, and top prospect Victor Robles waiting in the wings after briefly ascending to the bigs late last year.

    Otherwise, the club saw a few role players hit the open market. The resulting openings were steadily addressed by free agent signings throughout the course of the winter.

    The two most significant players to depart — mid-season acquisitions Brandon Kintzler and Howie Kendrick — were both brought back, in fact, after successful showings in D.C. Kintzler, who makes up for his lack of strikeout prowess with loads of groundballs, will rejoin Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson in a late-inning unit that the club lined up entirely via trade last summer. The price tag seems fairly appealing in comparison to the slightly loftier deals given to similarly useful relievers. Kendrick, too, was picked up for a low-AAV, two-year agreement. The sturdy veteran will help the team cover for the early-season absence of Daniel Murphy at second before sliding into a utility role.

    Beyond those two spots, the most glaring holes were a lefty bench bat to replace Adam Lind and a second backstop to go with Matt Wieters, who exercised his player option after a poor first season in Washington.The club elected not to pursue a reunion with Lind, instead adding the younger Matt Adams. Much like his predecessor, Adams has never figured out left-handed pitching, but won’t be asked to do so in D.C. as he fulfills a supporting role to Ryan Zimmerman at first. Behind the dish, the Nationals picked up veteran Miguel Montero on a minors deal rather than striking a more significant acquisition.

    Pitching depth was the last piece of the puzzle, with Matt Albers, Joe Blanton, and Oliver Perez all departing and the final rotation spot still up in the air. While there were whispers all along that the Nationals could use their remaining openings to fit a more significant acquisition — Jake Arrieta, Greg Holland, and any number of hypothetical trade candidates seemed intriguing — that never came to pass. Rather, the organization took something of a volume approach. Jeremy Hellickson signed a minors deal and will likely get a shot as the fifth starter if A.J. Cole stumbles. The aging but hard-throwing Joaquin Benoit got a small guarantee to fill out the pen, but will open the year on the DL. Plenty of other former MLB arms will populate the upper minors, including former Nats Edwin Jackson and Tom Milone along with Carlos Torres, Cesar Vargas, and Tim Collins.

    But the Nats saved perhaps their most significant move for last. Just days into the 2018 season, the organization announced a long-anticipated new contract with president of baseball operations and GM Mike Rizzo. The agreement puts an end to any speculation that the ownership group might turn elsewhere. Despite Rizzo’s success in turning out a contending product, the organization’s handling of its managers had created a bit of uncertainty in Rizzo’s status. While it’s resolved for the time being, the deal only promises two more seasons, so questions could start up again sooner than later.

    Questions Remaining

    Ultimately, Rizzo took a fairly straightforward approach to filling out the roster this offseason. On the one hand, that’s largely to be expected given the state of affairs at its outset. On the other, perhaps it’s somewhat surprising that we weren’t surprised. Rizzo, after all, has engineered a string of moves over the years — including a variety of offseason signings (Werth, Jackson, Rafael Soriano, and Scherzer) and trades (Doug Fister, Trea Turner & Joe Ross, Eaton) — that were largely unanticipated before coming to fruition.

    Given that history, and the run of playoff woes, a splash of some kind felt likely. While there’s still evidently no resolution to the team’s long-running TV rights fees dispute with the neighboring Orioles, that hasn’t stopped the organization from running one of the game’s highest payrolls. The Nationals are over the luxury tax line again (so there was no soft cap on spending) but are only slightly over the threshold at this point, so wouldn’t have incurred a huge tax bill with a major salary addition.

    Though there’s ample talent on hand, the roster certainly isn’t without its question marks. Two key position players, Eaton and Murphy, are returning from significant leg surgeries. Zimmerman had a great bounceback 2017 effort but can’t be counted on to repeat it given that he’s now 33 and had struggled a fair bit (both with injuries and on the field) over the three prior campaigns. Turner wasn’t nearly as exciting in his sophomore effort, while some regression might be anticipated for Anthony Rendon after an MVP-caliber ’17 campaign. And it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see Taylor and/or Goodwin stumble a bit — both have more than a little swing and miss in their games — though that’s the one place that there’s an obvious potential replacement (Robles) to be called upon.

    That said, there really wasn’t much cause for the Nats to go out looking for upgrades in any of these situations. Behind the plate, though, it’s quite another matter. Matt Wieters struggled badly last year and ultimately opted in for another season at an unappealing rate of pay. Pedro Severino has long been considered ready defensively but has not made strides with the bat at Triple-A. While the organization brought in another veteran in Montero, there are obviously reasons — inability to control the running game and an awful second half at the plate — that he was available on a minors pact.

    That unit seems unlikely to be terribly productive. While youngster Raudy Read touched the majors last year and might have become an option, he’s sitting out the first half of the year for a PED suspension. The Nats ultimately watched as a string of receivers — Welington Castillo, Chris Iannetta, Alex Avila, and Jonathan Lucroy among them — sign for less than they’re paying Wieters. There was an effort to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins, who made all kinds of sense for the Nats, though it seems the Fish held to their lofty asking price and nothing got done.

    The result is sub-optimal and could set the stage for a mid-season acquisition. Of course, it also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Nats end up pursuing a relief arm over the summer, as that has become an annual rite in D.C. and is fairly common for any contending team. The Nationals pen doesn’t seem to be a particularly compelling group, though there is a fair amount of depth and the three-man high-leverage unit is at least settled to open the year. An argument could have been made to pursue further relief additions, though the team chose a defensible course. It’ll have a few months to evaluate some of the interesting but inconsistent or not-yet-established arms in the stable.

    Speaking of evaluating arms, that’ll also be the team’s preferred method of dealing with its fifth starter’s slot. Cole is first up, and he’ll need to make real strides after a putrid first outing on the year. If he doesn’t show quite a lot in short order, Hellickson will take the helm once he’s at full speed. With prospect Erick Fedde and some veteran depth options still also in the mix, the Nats ought to be able to get by well enough.

    The overall rotation mix is still strong, led by two outstanding starters in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Then there’s Tanner Roark, who is a quality hurler. And let’s not look past Gio Gonzalez, whose volatile reputation is belied by his steady effectiveness. Last year’s 200-inning, sub-3.00 ERA output won’t likely be repeated, but Gonzalez has somewhat quietly been one of the game’s best starters for quite some time and is a solid bet to provide good innings.

    Still, it feels as if there may have been an opportunity missed here. True, the Nats can still go get a premium starter at the deadline if they feel there’s a need. Like the catching position, though, the best time to find an upgrade might have been during the course of a strange free-agent market that left quite a few significant players earning less than had been anticipated. Waiting until the deadline is also something of a luxury reserved for teams that don’t face real competition within their division. After bringing in some veterans and enjoying good health all spring, the Mets seem to be revived and may well put up a greater fight than had been expected.

    Overview

    Adding quality veteran bench assets was both predictable and sensible. Those moves should help the Nats fill in for any major absences and help ensure that the team’s regulars get plenty of rest without a drop-off in play. But the winter effort somehow feels a bit incomplete.

    After all, this is the club’s last season of control over star outfielder Bryce Harper. Unless there’s a well-guarded extension effort underway — as there was, successfully, for Strasburg — he’ll hit the open market at season’s end. While the Nats will be among the likeliest suitors for Harper, it’s far from certain he’ll be back.

    It’s somewhat surprising, then, that the team didn’t find a way to make another big addition, whether in the rotation or, especially, behind the plate. Having already pushed past the luxury tax line, spending a big more wouldn’t have had any impact on future spending plans. And this organization has already shed a fair bit of young talent in recent years — pitchers, especially — while trying to build around its core. Spending cash seems generally preferable to coughing up trade capital over the summer, but the latter will be required if an impact move is needed.

    How would you grade the Nationals’ offseason efforts? (Link for app users.)

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Nationals Extend Mike Rizzo Through 2020 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-extend-mike-rizzo-through-2020.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nationals-extend-mike-rizzo-through-2020.html#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2018 15:40:18 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119274 10:39am: Rizzo will earn $4MM in each of the two years of the contract, Janes tweets.

    9:42am: While salary terms remain unknown, Rizzo intimated that — much like some recent free-agent players — he was able to achieve an appealing salary despite settling for a shorter commitment. “The years are important to me, but the AAV of the deal is right where I wanted it to be,”on Twitter said Rizzo (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com, ).

    7:26am: The Nationals have agreed to a new contract with president of baseball operations and GM Mike Rizzo, as the club announced and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Rizzo’s contract will now run through 2020.

    Rizzo, who took over the organization’s baseball operations department in advance of the 2009 season, had been working on a deal that expired at the end of the current campaign. Though both he and the club’s ownership had expressed confidence that a new arrangement would be reached, it took somewhat longer than expected — and, perhaps, will not be for as lengthy a term as might have been anticipated. (Salary terms are not yet known.)

    Compared to his peers, the 57-year-old Rizzo will continue to operate with relatively little job security. Numerous other top operations officials with similarly impressive track records have achieved much lengthier terms on their most recent contracts. Most recently, Pirates GM Neal Huntington signed on for another four campaigns while Yankees GM Brian Cashman secured a five-year deal that’s reportedly worth more than $25MM.

    Of course, the lack of long-term arrangements has not prevented Rizzo from securing a long run at the helm in D.C. already. As Janes notes, he has run the baseball ops department for longer than all but four of his peers. Rizzo originally joined the Nationals as an assistant GM after running the Diamondbacks’ scouting department.

    It also does not seem to bother Rizzo. In an appearance today with 106.7 The Fan’s The Sports Junkies, via Janes on Twitter, Rizzo cited his longstanding relationship with an ownership group that is led by the Lerner family. “The trust level I’ve built up with the Lerners has been great,” he said. “There’ s a bond between us [that] I think is stronger than anything else.”

    There have obviously been some disappointments for the Nationals, who have somehow not yet managed to advance past the divisional round of the postseason in four recent attempts. But it’s difficult to lay those failures — which have come in one tightly-contested series after the next — entirely at the feet of the front office. After all, Rizzo has consistently put competitive rosters on the field over a tenure that has otherwise been a resounding success.

    In the first season following Rizzo’s ascension to the GM seat — initially, on an interim basis — the club won just 59 games, matching its ugly total from the prior campaign. But the Nats added ten and then eleven wins in each of the next two seasons, setting the stage for a breakout 2012 unit.

    Nationals fans will not soon forget that season, when the Nationals shocked the baseball world by posting 98 wins and claiming their first NL East crown and postseason berth. The core of the team was developed from within, with major contributions from then-recent top draft picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

    While there were hiccups along the way — specifically, second-place finishes in 2013 and 2015, the latter in humiliating fashion — the Nats have been perennial contenders ever since, winning more total games than any team but the Dodgers. A payroll that now ranks among the highest in the game has certainly helped, but Rizzo’s shrewd dealings have kept the roster stocked with high-end talent.

    As with any executive, Rizzo has had his hits and misses. The regrettable but unforgettable acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon certainly rates among the most notable in the latter category. Foibles with managers are by now a worn joke with regard to the Nationals, though perhaps only Rizzo’s hand-picked hiring of Matt Williams is his responsibility moreso than ownership’s. Many would rate the decision to shut down Strasburg in 2012 as a blemish, though the critics have always seemed to ignore that the organization had arrived at its decision before the start of the season and declined to waver from it, despite obvious temptation, to protect a young player who had shown signs of wearing down.

    By and large, though he has been remarkably successful at structuring trades and overseeing a drafting and development effort that has consistently produced quality young players. To be sure, Strasburg and Harper largely fell into the Nats’ lap, both carrying unquestionable 1-1 talent in the drafts where the club was choosing first. But Rizzo also scored value in later drafts — especially in nabbing Anthony Rendon in 2011. Over the years, Rizzo brought in key contributors such as Wilson Ramos, Tanner Roark, Felipe Rivero, and Trea Turner in high-value trades.

    Even as the Nationals face a future that may not include Harper, they seems primed to continue competing with a core group that could soon include Victor Robles, Juan Soto, and Carter Kieboom. Accomplishing that transition — or, instead, finding a way to keep Harper around without crippling the team’s ability to spend on other talent — may be the biggest challenge yet for Rizzo.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Nats Place Matt Wieters On Disabled List https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-musgrove-mercer-wieters-cruz-realmuto-yankees.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-musgrove-mercer-wieters-cruz-realmuto-yankees.html#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2018 20:10:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119027
  • The Nationals recalled catcher Pedro Severino from Triple-A and placed Matt Wieters on the disabled list with a “mild left oblique strain.” Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post first reported today that Wieters was dealing with some type of injury and that Severino was headed to Atlanta in the event that Wieters needed a DL stint (Twitter links). Janes noted that Wieters didn’t take batting practice yesterday on his off day and “looked uncomfortable” throwing the ball back to the mound when catching warm-up pitches between innings for Nats starters. Both Wieters and Severino are coming off down seasons in 2017, as is Washington’s current backup, Miguel Montero.
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    Nationals Sign Carlos Torres https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-sign-carlos-torres.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-sign-carlos-torres.html#comments Wed, 28 Mar 2018 16:29:27 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118573 March 31st: Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports tweets that Torres will earn $1.5MM if called up to the majors, with $1MM available in incentives. Beginning May 15th, Torres can request his release every 15 days if he is not on the Nats roster.

    March 28th: The Nationals have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The deal includes multiple opt-out dates for Torres, Cotillo adds.

    [RELATED: Nationals Depth Chart]

    The 35-year-old Torres only spent a few days on the open market after Cleveland released him Saturday. Torres joined the Tribe on a minors pact in the offseason, and he then yielded seven earned runs on 14 hits and six walks (with nine strikeouts) in 10 1/3 spring innings. That subpar performance, not to mention the Indians’ impressive cast of relievers, sealed his fate with them.

    While Torres struggled during his brief stint with the Indians, he has been a useful major leaguer during his career. Since debuting in 2009, Torres has seen action with four teams (the White Sox, Rockies, Mets and Brewers) and pitched to a 4.00 ERA/4.17 ERA across 491 innings. Torres has been quite durable along the way, having logged at least 70 innings in four of the previous five seasons. He racked up 72 2/3 frames of 4.21 ERA/4.89 FIP pitching last year in Milwaukee, where he notched 6.94 K/9, 4.09 BB/9 and a 45.7 percent groundball rate.

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    Nationals Select Montero's Contract; Place Murphy, Benoit, Glover On DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/injury-updates-kinsler-hughes-nationals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/injury-updates-kinsler-hughes-nationals.html#comments Wed, 28 Mar 2018 01:24:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118449
  • The Nationals made a series of expected DL placements today, announcing that Daniel Murphy and Joaquin Benoit will begin the season on the 10-day disabled list.  Right-hander Koda Glover will be placed on the 60-day DL, thus opening a roster spot for Miguel Montero, whose contract was officially selected.  Montero was already told over the weekend that he would be breaking camp as the Nats’ backup catcher, and in making the 25-man roster will now earn $1.3MM for the season as per the terms of his minor league contract with the team.  Murphy is still recovering from knee surgery last fall, Benoit has a forearm strain and Glover has been bothered by shoulder issues.
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    Nationals Sign Alejandro De Aza https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/minor-mlb-transactions-32618.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/minor-mlb-transactions-32618.html#comments Tue, 27 Mar 2018 02:58:50 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118366
  • The Nationals have brought back Alejandro De Aza on a minor-league deal after releasing him to avoid the necessity of a $100K retention bonus, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Soon to turn 34, De Aza is at this point mostly an organizational depth piece, though he has at times in the not-so-distant past been a significant contributor at the MLB level. Indeed, he carries an approximately league-average overall offensive line through nearly three thousand major-league plate appearances, most of which have come since the start of the 2012 season. De Aza played only briefly in the majors last year with the Nats and hit .280/.368/.403 in his 212 Triple-A plate appearances.
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    Nationals Re-Sign Jeremy Hellickson To New Minors Deal https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-re-sign-jeremy-hellickson-to-new-minors-deal.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-re-sign-jeremy-hellickson-to-new-minors-deal.html#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2018 05:32:52 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118220 The Nationals have made a pair of on-paper transactions involving Jeremy Hellickson, as they released the right-hander from his original minor league deal and then re-signed him to a new contract with the same terms, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  The move was made to avoid paying Hellickson a $100K retention bonus that was due to him as an Article XX(B) free agent.  Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reported on Saturday that the two sides had previously agreed to this arrangement.

    Hellickson has only been in camp with the Nats for a little over a week, and has thrown only four innings of work this spring.  Beyond just saving the $100K, then, the Nationals obviously wanted more time to stretch Hellickson out and properly gauge whether he could be a factor in their rotation plans.  A.J. Cole is slated to work as Washington’s fifth starter for now, though the club has amassed some young and veteran depth options (Hellickson, Erick Fedde, Austin Voth, Edwin Jackson, Tommy Milone) in the minors and as non-roster invitees to Spring Training.  There has been some speculation that Cole will eventually be moved into a long relief or spot starter role once Hellickson is fully ramped up.

    As per the terms of both the old contract and the new, Hellickson will earn $2MM if he makes the big league roster, and he can earn up to $4MM more in incentives.  The deal gives Hellickson an opt-out clause on May 1 if he hasn’t already made the Nats’ 25-man roster, and he will receive further opt-out opportunities every 15 days thereafter.

    Hellickson, who turns 31 on April 8, is looking to rebound from a rough 2017 season that saw him post a 5.43 ERA, 5.3 K/9, and an ugly 1.9 HR/9 over 164 innings with the Phillies and Orioles.  While homers had always been something of an issue for Hellickson throughout his career, he had never allowed more than 25 in a single season before surrendering 35 long balls last year.  Never a big strikeout pitcher, Hellickson’s swinging-strike rate dropped to only 8.3% in 2017, and he also saw spikes in his contact rates and a drop in his ground-ball rate.  Still, Hellickson put up solid numbers as recently as 2016, so there’s still hope that he could revive his fortunes with a change of scenery.

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    A.J. Cole Earns Last Spot In Nats' Rotation https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-yanks-bird-mets-nationals-orioles.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-yanks-bird-mets-nationals-orioles.html#comments Sat, 24 Mar 2018 23:41:19 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118017
  • Righty A.J. Cole will begin the season as the Nationals’ fifth starter, manager Dave Martinez announced Sunday (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). That’s not surprising, as fellow righty Jeremy Hellickson isn’t adequately stretched out yet after recently signing with the Nats on a minor league deal. Cole will join Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark in Washington’s season-opening rotation.
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    Nationals Release Reid Brignac, Alejandro De Aza https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-release-reid-brignac-alejandro-de-aza.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-release-reid-brignac-alejandro-de-aza.html#comments Sat, 24 Mar 2018 23:17:53 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118022 Along with the previously reported Ryan Raburn, the Nationals have released infielder Reid Brignac and outfielder Alejandro De Aza, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Both Brignac and De Aza signed minor league contracts with the organization during the offseason.

    The 32-year-old Brignac hasn’t even cracked the 100-plate appearance plateau at the game’s highest level since 2011, when he was a member of the Rays. He has since seen limited action with the Yankees, Rockies, Phillies, Marlins and Braves. Brignac has batted a paltry .219/.264/.309 in 951 major league PAs, thus offsetting his ability to line up at second, third and shortstop. He perhaps could have been an early season factor in Washington, which will open the year without injured second baseman David Murphy, but the team will instead roll with Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo.

    De Aza, 33, is a more accomplished major leaguer than Brignac, though he hit a meager .194/.223/.222 in 70 PAs with the Nationals last year. While De Aza fared well with their Triple-A affiliate (.280/.368/.403 in 212 PAs), he faced long odds of landing a spot with the Nats to begin the 2018 season. They’re loaded in the outfield, after all, with starters Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton and Michael A. Taylor, not to mention reserves Brian Goodwin and Matt Adams.

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    Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Saturday https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/article-xxb-free-agents-update-saturday.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/article-xxb-free-agents-update-saturday.html#comments Sat, 24 Mar 2018 20:02:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117941 Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team’s 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

    Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

    The deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

    1. Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
    2. Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.
    3. Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.

    We’ll use this post to keep track of the Article XX(B) free agents whose respective teams have elected option one or two; in other words, players who won’t be released for the time being. The most recent updates are on top.

    • Miguel Montero has been informed that he’ll make the Nationals as the club’s backup catcher, according to Jamal Collier of MLB.com. He’ll earn a $1.3MM base salary, as outlined in the details of the pact he signed with the club on February 1st. Montero beat out young backstop Pedro Severino in a camp battle for the role.

    Earlier…

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    Nationals Release Ryan Raburn https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-release-ryan-raburn.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-release-ryan-raburn.html#comments Sat, 24 Mar 2018 16:22:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117966 According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington PostRyan Raburn was seen shaking hands with teammates and walking out of the clubhouse with a duffel bag. This likely means that the Nationals have elected to release him rather than add him to the major league roster or pay him a $100K retention bonus.

    Washington re-signed Raburn to a minor-league pact after he hit .262/.304/.431 last year across 69 plate appearances. He logged just 69 plate appearances due to a strained trapezius in his age-36 season while playing average defense in the outfield.

    Used largely in a platoon capacity as a lefty-crusher over the past six seasons, Raburn has managed a wRC+ as high as 153 (with the Indians in 2015) while being mostly shielded against right-handers. Raburn had told his teammates he was likely to retire if he didn’t make the team, so a .080/.179/.259 showing in camp has likely put a fork in a career as a slugger that struck fear in the hearts of opposing left-handed pitchers.

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    Joaquin Benoit Diagnosed With Forearm Strain https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/joaquin-benoit-diagnosed-with-forearm-strain.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/joaquin-benoit-diagnosed-with-forearm-strain.html#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2018 16:27:34 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117600 Veteran Nationals reliever Joaquin Benoit will not be ready for the start of the season owing to a forearm strain, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports (Twitter links). His timeline is not yet known, but he is not throwing for the time being.

    The Nats had added Benoit on a one-year, $1MM deal at the start of camp, hoping that he’d deepen a relief unit that has a fair bit of uncertainty behind its late-inning trio of Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler. The results weren’t there for Benoit in 2017, but he still brought a mid-nineties heater and generated plenty of swings and misses.

    If Benoit is to engineer a bounceback in his age-40 campaign, it’ll have to come after he works back to health. He had been knocked around a bit in his first three spring outings, allowing three earned runs on five hits before going on the shelf with the arm ailment.

    On the one hand, the news adds to the questions facing the Nats as they seek to avoid a repeat of their bullpen problems from the first half of the 2017 campaign. Shawn Kelley is, like Benoit, an established hurler who is trying to recover from an off year. The out-of-options A.J. Cole will be on the roster and could factor in the bullpen, at least once Jeremy Hellickson is ready to take over the fifth starter’s job.

    On the other hand, the extra Opening Day roster spot could help the organization deal with a pile-up of possibilities. Beyond the prospective five-man unit of players noted above — i.e., Doolittle, Madson, Kintzler, Kelley, and Cole — there are loads of options and an ongoing lack of clarity.

    In terms of righties, the Nats likely can’t count on anything from Koda Glover, who is still not at full health. Trevor Gott has produced nine blank frames this spring, so he could step into Benoit’s shoes. Otherwise, Austin Adams and Wander Suero also represent 40-man relief options (with the latter already having been optioned). Edwin Jackson and Cesar Vargas were both brought in on minors pacts, though the former is perhaps likelier to serve as rotation depth and the latter has already been sent out of camp.

    There are yet more possibilities on the southpaw side of the equation. The hard-throwing Enny Romero has been markedly ineffective in Grapefruit League action. While Matt Grace has allowed only three earned runs, he has also coughed up 16 hits in his 10 2/3 spring frames. Both are out of options. Sammy Solis can be optioned, but he has also racked up 11 strikeouts against just one walk in his eight innings of action in camp. Veteran non-roster players Tommy Milone and Tim Collins could conceivably also be considered after showing well in their opportunities thus far.

    It’s certainly still possible to imagine the Nats looking at outside  options, though Greg Holland is perhaps the only free agent who’d represent a clear upgrade and the team hasn’t shown much evident inclination to pursue him. (Holland would obviously also represent a fairly expensive target.) The trick in looking at players from other organizations is in managing the 40-man roster. That’s the same general quandary the Nationals will already face in balancing the numerous non-roster and out-of-options players under consideration for just a few open jobs.

    Regardless of the precise decisions made, it seems as if the club will end up making quite a few reliever transactions late in camp — if not also throughout the season. While the bulk of the rest of the roster is settled, and the Nats can always weigh mid-season trade acquisitions as needed, the bullpen again appears to be an area of potential intrigue for the defending NL East champs.

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    Nationals Option Victor Robles To Triple-A https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-east-notes-robles-walker-swanson.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-east-notes-robles-walker-swanson.html#comments Tue, 20 Mar 2018 22:33:09 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117515
  • The Nationals optioned outfielder Victor Robles to Triple-A today, a move that came as little surprise given that the club didn’t want to keep Robles on the big league bench rather than gaining valuable everyday experience in the minors.  Robles, a consensus top-six prospect in baseball, bypassed Triple-A entirely last season when he was called up by the Nats for 13 September games (plus a spot on the NLDS roster).  Washington is already set in the outfield with Bryce Harper, Michael Taylor, and Adam Eaton, leaving Robles without a clear path to playing time.  He’ll begin 2018 getting his first taste of Triple-A ball and one would expect he’ll again return to the Nats roster this season, though the exact timing could be in question depending on if the Nationals want to manage Robles’ service time.
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    A.J. Cole Will Make Nationals' Roster https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-notes-diamondbacks-nats-mets.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-notes-diamondbacks-nats-mets.html#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2018 20:11:35 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117394
  • It’s up in the air whether right-hander A.J. Cole will earn the final spot in the Nationals’ rotation. Regardless, the out-of-options 26-year-old is “going to make the team,” general manager Mike Rizzo told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post and other reporters Monday. Rizzo added that veteran Jeremy Hellickson, also a contender for the No. 5 job, is “way behind” right now – which seems to bode well for Cole’s chances of starting. Given that Hellickson only just signed with the Nationals, they could elect to keep him in Florida for extended spring training so he’s better equipped to succeed if he does get a regular-season opportunity, per Rizzo (via Jamal Collier of MLB.com). Rizzo noted that a couple of the Nats’ signings last year, catcher Matt Wieters and reliever Joe Blanton, struggled mightily because neither had a full spring training. He doesn’t want to go down that same road with Hellickson.
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    Nationals Notes: Murphy, Collins https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-east-notes-nationals-murphy-phillies-rupp.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-east-notes-nationals-murphy-phillies-rupp.html#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2018 13:01:28 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117380 There is “virtually no chance” Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy will be ready for Opening Day, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com writes. Murphy, who’s working his way back from the microfracture knee surgery he underwent last October, still hasn’t seen any game action this spring, notes Zuckerman, who expects Howie Kendrick to begin the season at the keystone for Washington. Wilmer Difo will back up Kendrick, and Zuckerman adds that Murphy’s unavailability could open the door for one of Matt Reynolds, Adrian Sanchez, Reid Brignac, Chris Dominguez, Andrew Stevenson, Moises Sierra or Ryan Raburn to be part of the Nats’ early season bench.

    • Back to the Nationals, with whom reliever Tim Collins is attempting to revive his career. Formerly an effective cog in Kansas City, Collins underwent back-to-back Tommy John surgeries in recent years, thus derailing his career. Now, he’s making a case to earn an Opening Day bullpen spot for the Nats, according to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Both Collins and general manager Mike Rizzo have been pleased with the left-hander’s work, though he still hasn’t pitched back-to-back days since returning last season. Collins had a rough go in 2017 at the Double-A level, albeit over a mere 8 2/3 innings, as he allowed 14 earned runs on 12 hits and 10 walks, with eight strikeouts. He regarded the year as “a failure” at one point because he didn’t make it back to the majors, but a talk with team officials over the winter helped, which Castillo details in his piece.
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    Boswell On The Lack Of A Mike Rizzo Extension https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/quick-hits-extensions-rizzo-cardinals-kelly.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/quick-hits-extensions-rizzo-cardinals-kelly.html#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2018 04:58:43 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117370
  • Mike Rizzo has built the Nationals into a contender and wants to remain as the team’s general manager, so the Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell isn’t sure why ownership doesn’t seem to be in a rush to extend Rizzo’s contract.  Rizzo is entering the last year of his deal, and though he said last month that he was “confident” a new agreement would be settled, there hasn’t been any news on that front in the interim.  Boswell wonders if the Lerner family has held off on an extension since they could be considering letting Rizzo leave if the team again falls short in the postseason — if this isn’t the case, however, it makes little sense to put Rizzo and the franchise itself through an awkward lame-duck period.
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    Nationals Sign Jeremy Hellickson To Minor-League Deal https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-to-sign-jeremy-hellickson.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nationals-to-sign-jeremy-hellickson.html#comments Sun, 18 Mar 2018 17:13:36 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117145 SUNDAY: The contract comes with a $2MM salary in the majors and up to $4MM in incentives, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. It also features several opt-out chances. Beginning May 1, Hellickson will have an opportunity to exit the deal every 15 days.

    SATURDAY: The club has made the signing official.

    FRIDAY: The Nationals have agreed to a minor-league deal with righty Jeremy Hellickson, per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). He’ll receive an invitation to join the MLB side of camp.

    Presumably, Hellickson will have a strong shot at earning the fifth starter’s job with the Nats. The organization has been cited all winter as a possible pursuer of a rotation upgrade, though to this point it had not made a significant move. Washington had indicated it would like to see A.J. Cole, who is out of options, command a starting role. But he has not evidently not run away with things in camp, leaving the team open to adding another arm. The other top candidates for the job are prospect Erick Fedde and non-roster invitees Edwin Jackson and Tommy Milone.

    Hellickson, who’ll soon turn 31, has had a quiet winter after taking a $17.2MM qualifying offer from the Phillies for the 2017 season. He struggled all year long, ending with a 5.43 ERA over 164 innings. Despite holding opponents to a .246 batting average on balls in play, Hellickson coughed up home runs at a rate of 1.9 per nine innings and saw his swinging-strike rate drop to 8.3% after sitting above ten percent in each of the prior three campaigns.

    Of course, the former Rookie of the Year has had better days in prior seasons. He has never returned to the top-level output of his earliest seasons with the Rays, but Hellickson did turn in a quality 2016 effort with Philadelphia. He tallied 189 innings of 3.71 ERA ball in his 32 starts while recording 7.3 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9.

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    Nationals Were First Team To Call Jeremy Hellickson https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/pitching-notes-e-santana-hellickson-mariners-red-sox-rangers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/pitching-notes-e-santana-hellickson-mariners-red-sox-rangers.html#comments Sun, 18 Mar 2018 16:07:25 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117280
  • Righty Jeremy Hellickson languished on the open market from November until Friday, when he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals. Interest was otherwise hard to come by for Hellickson, even though he has enjoyed a decent career to this point and is fairly young (soon to be 31). “They were actually the first team that called,” Hellickson said of Washington (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). “When Scott (Boras) told me the Nationals, I thought: ‘That’s a perfect situation.’“ Hellickson, who had been working out with other Boras clients before signing, noted that his first trip to free agency “wasn’t fun.”  Now, he’s “excited” about his new team and hoping to win the fifth spot in its rotation.
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    Latest On Greg Holland https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/greg-holland-rumors-diamondbacks-braves-nationals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/greg-holland-rumors-diamondbacks-braves-nationals.html#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2018 18:08:26 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117060 The market for Greg Holland has seemingly been tepid, at best, in recent months. Two teams that have at least considered him as of late, per FanRag’s Jon Heyman, are the Braves and the D-backs. Atlanta has “checked in” on Holland, while Arizona has considered a run at him as well. One oft-connected team that doesn’t seem likely is the Nationals, as Heyman adds that the they’re “not planning” to pursue him at this juncture of the offseason. (That aligns with comments GM Mike Rizzo made to the media early this afternoon.)

    The Diamondbacks already have a plethora of arms vying for bullpen spots, though as the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro recently pointed out, there are potentially as many as three spots up for grabs. Archie Bradley is considered to be among the ninth-inning favorites in D-backs camp, with Brad Boxberger and Yoshihisa Hirano also vying for saves, but Holland would give them a more established arm and deepen the overall bullpen mix in a year Arizona plans to contend. Payroll, of course, could be an issue for the D-backs, though it wasn’t long ago that they were trying to find creative ways to fit J.D. Martinez onto the books.

    As for the Braves, their late-inning mix is also murky. Arodys Vizcaino figures to open the year in the ninth inning, with Jose Ramirez, A.J. Minter and Sam Freeman among the setup options helping form the bridge from the rotation to Vizcaino. There’s obviously strong incentive for the Braves to forgo signing Holland. As a rebuilding club that may not yet be ready to contend, the Braves surely don’t relish the idea of surrendering draft picks to sign a player who rejected a qualifying offer.

    I’d add that at the same time, the Braves needn’t fret much over the international forfeitures they’d face, as they’ll he handcuffed in that regard anyhow following the November scandal that prompted John Coppolella to resign as GM. Beyond that, high-end bullpen arms are always in demand at the deadline, and it’s not outlandish to think the Braves could receive a better prospect than the one they’d acquire with the third round pick they’d be forced to punt. (Losing the slot value of that pick in their draft pool, however, would limit their ability to get creative, though.)

    Finding teams that make sense as an on-paper fit for Holland is hardly a problem. Virtually any club in the league could stand to improve by pushing its seventh-best reliever to the minors and adding Holland to the bullpen mix. However, we’ve already seen a significant portion of the league largely sit out the free agent market, and at this stage of the offseason, more teams are up against payroll limits and reluctant to forfeit a draft/international considerations. There’s still enough time in spring that Holland could potentially make a handful of appearances before Opening Day, but the longer he waits, the more his early-season availability will be called into question.

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    Nationals Notes: Glover, Bullpen, Robles https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-walker-reed-nationals-orioles-rays.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-walker-reed-nationals-orioles-rays.html#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:54:39 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117053
  • Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged to reporters today that right-hander Koda Glover’s shoulder is taking longer to heal than the team anticipated (Twitter link via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). Glover’s uncertain status notwithstanding, Rizzo doesn’t feel the team needs to go outside the organization for additional bullpen help, Janes notes. The GM said he likes what he’s seen from right-handers Trevor Gott and Austin Adams this spring, and the Nats of course have deepened their bullpen over the past nine months with the acquisitions of Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle, Brandon Kintzler and, earlier this spring, Joaquin Benoit.
  • Janes also tweets that Rizzo was adamant that the Nationals “would never” keep top outfield prospect Victor Robles in a bench role. While many Nats fans may be hoping that the ballyhooed 20-year-old can make the roster in a reserve capacity, Rizzo’s comments further reinforce the idea that the Nats will keep Robles in a regular role with Triple-A Syracuse until an everyday opening presents itself at the big league level.
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    NL East Notes: Phillies, Conforto, AGon, Robles https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-east-notes-phillies-conforto-agon-robles.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-east-notes-phillies-conforto-agon-robles.html#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2018 16:16:24 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116920 As the Phillies introduce Jake Arrieta today, the organization is now much more clearly in a competitive posture than it was at the outset of the winter. But the pedal won’t be fully pressed down, it seems, despite the presence of a few other notable free agents who’d improve the near-term outlook in Philadelphia. GM Matt Klentak says that he does not anticipate any further additions before the start of the season, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki tweets.

    More from the NL East:

    • The Mets continue to have cause for optimism on outfielder Michael Conforto, whose scary shoulder injury made for quite an offseason concern. He’s now nearing game readiness, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets, and anticipates getting into a spring game next week. That doesn’t mean that Conforto will be on the Opening Day roster, but certainly suggests he’s on track to return relatively early in the season. In other injury news, via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter links), the Mets say that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has a sore wrist. Though there’s no indication at present that it’s a worrying injury, he has undergone an x-ray and is waiting for the results. Meanwhile, veteran third baseman David Wright is no closer to a return; rather, he’ll hold off on baseball activities for at least eight weeks after being examined recently.
    • New Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez discussed his fresh start and unusual offseason with Mike Puma of the New York Post. Notably, Gonzalez says he was initially resistant to the Dodgers’ request that he waive his no-trade protection to go to the Braves in a contract-swapping move that ultimately left him landing in New York. But Los Angeles “sweetened the deal every single time” he met with the team, says the veteran, who acknowledged there was compensation involved.
    • Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com examines the Nationals’ decision-making process with top prospect Victor Robles, who is impressing in camp despite a middling stat line in Grapefruit League action. The 20-year-old is ready for the majors, by all accounts, though the organization certainly has plenty of good reasons not to carry him out of camp. First and foremost, the organization has a solid center field combo already lined up in Michael Taylor and the out-of-options Brian Goodwin; in that sense, then, promoting Robles would mean parting with depth. Service-time considerations are also a factor; since Robles picked up 25 days of service last year, he’s just 147 days away from a full year of service. If the Nats wish to delay Robles’s eventual entry onto the open market, they’ll need to keep him down until early May; keeping him from potential Super Two status would likely mean waiting to bring him back up until the middle of the summer.
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    Reaction To The Phillies/Jake Arrieta Agreement https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/reaction-to-the-philliesjake-arrieta-agreement.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/reaction-to-the-philliesjake-arrieta-agreement.html#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2018 04:23:39 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116800 One of the offseason’s major free agents finally came off the board today, as Jake Arrieta agreed to a three-year, $75MM contract with the Phillies that will become official once the right-hander passes a physical.  Here is some of the early reaction to the deal…

    • “For the Phillies, this was as close to a no-brainer as $25 million per season gets,” David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.  Murphy argues that the Phillies were simply in such dire need for starting pitching that a quality arm like Arrieta was too good to pass up, even at a significant price for a still-rebuilding team.  Though Arrieta’s performance dipped in 2017, Murphy notes that even Arrieta’s down year still more or less equaled Aaron Nola’s numbers, so “in essence, the Phillies will have added another Nola even if Arrieta’s 2017 is his new normal.”  Even if Arrieta declines further, the three-year length of the deal means that he won’t be much of a long-term burden on the Phils’ spending abilities.
    • The threat of such a decline, however, makes this signing “a strange one” for the Phillies, in the opinion of ESPN.com’s Keith Law (subscription required).  Arrieta’s peripherals and velocity were both down in 2017, and Law wonders if “this is a Tim Lincecum situation where there’s no actual injury but he’s just wearing down after a great peak.”  Even if Arrieta stabilizes his performance or regains some of his old form, Law questions the wisdom of a contract that will likely deliver most of its value before the Phillies are truly ready to contend.
    • “The Padres had more than passing interest in Jake Arrieta”, Dennis Lin of the Athletic tweets, but the $25MM average annual value of Arrieta’s contract was too high for San Diego’s liking.  The club was known to have been at least considering the idea of going after the right-hander, who could’ve joined Eric Hosmer as the second major Scott Boras client to (surprisingly) sign with the Padres this winter.  Lin feels the Padres are likely to stick with their current rotation mix rather than add another starting pitcher, though “there are fans of Alex Cobb in the organization.”
    • The Nationals had been mentioned as a speculative landing spot for Arrieta for much of the offseason, due to both the Nats’ possible need for another starter and Boras’ well-documented relationship with the Lerner family.  As Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com notes, however, “Nats folks insisted from the beginning Boras was trying to make them more interested in Arrieta than they were.”  Even if Washington was more likely to engage in Arrieta’s market if the price dropped, it seemingly never got low enough for the Nationals to make a strong bid.
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    Latest On Adam Eaton's Recovery https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-notes-reds-nats-brewers-braves-cubs.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-notes-reds-nats-brewers-braves-cubs.html#comments Sun, 11 Mar 2018 20:25:35 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116748
  • Nationals left fielder Adam Eaton is “very close” to participating in major league spring training games, manager Dave Martinez told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post and other reporters Sunday (Twitter link). Eaton, who’s coming back from the torn left ACL he suffered last April, has been playing in minor league games recently. The Nationals expect him to be ready for Opening Day, Jamal Collier of MLB.com relays.
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    Latest On Daniel Murphy https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/quick-hits-cba-moustakas-boras-braun-nats.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/quick-hits-cba-moustakas-boras-braun-nats.html#comments Sun, 11 Mar 2018 05:20:54 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116697
  • Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy is progressing in his recovery from October knee surgery, though it’s not yet clear whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day, per Jamal Collier of MLB.com. Murphy took batting practice for the first time this year on Saturday, after which he said he didn’t experience any discomfort. The 32-year-old also fielded 15 to 20 ground balls Saturday, but “he has not graduated to lateral movements,” Collier writes, and has only run on a treadmill to this point. Overall, though, Murphy believes he’s “responding really well.”
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    East Notes: Pomeranz, Glover, Freicer https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-pomeranz-glover-freicer.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-pomeranz-glover-freicer.html#comments Sat, 10 Mar 2018 20:29:13 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116637 Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz could attempt to throw two innings of live batting practice next week, writes Scott Lauber of ESPN. That would be a notable progression in his rehab back from a flexor strain, though it’s not yet clear whether he’ll be ready to take the mound for his first start of the season (Lauber notes that this would be either April 1st or April 2nd). Pomeranz is set to become a free agent following this season, and he’ll certainly want to avoid any injury-related question marks as he hits free agency amidst a  free agent pitching class that could potentially include Clayton Kershaw and fellow Red Sox left-hander David Price.

    Elsewhere along the Atlantic shoreline…

    • There’s no timetable for Koda Glover to begin throwing again, Jamal Collier writes in his latest inbox column for MLB.com. Collier adds that all signs point to Glover being out of the bullpen mix to start the 2018 season. The 24-year-old right-hander was expected by many to emerge as a closer option for the Nationals last season, but injuries cut his season short, and his 5.12 ERA across 19 1/3 innings doesn’t look pretty. However, his 4.25 K/BB ratio stands out as excellent; the Nats are surely hoping he can return soon to deliver on his potential.
    • Frecier Perez, the Yankees’ No. 9 prospect, is now represented by The Legacy Agency, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports tweets. The towering 6’8″ right-hander has risen rapidly across the Bombers’ prospect list thanks to his projectable frame and ability to consistently throw 100 MPH. Perez is 21 years old and was signed in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic for just $10K. Current Yankees scout Dan Giese spoke highly of Perez earlier this winter, citing his ability to throw strikes and feel for his change-up as reasons for optimism. He spent most of last season at Low-A Charleston.
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    Athletics Expect To Land Veteran Catcher https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/athletics-expect-to-land-veteran-catcher.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/athletics-expect-to-land-veteran-catcher.html#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2018 21:14:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116594 3:28pm: The Athletics are nearing agreement with Lucroy, per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter).

    3:14pm: The Athletics are pursuing a veteran catcher and expect to acquire one, per MLB.com’s Jane Lee (via Twitter). Specifically, the club anticipates either signing Jonathan Lucroy or acquiring Matt Wieters from the Nationals.

    Lucroy remains one of the top remaining un-signed free agents. He entered the winter as the top-rated catcher available.

    Needless to say, the latter possibility hints at the potential for lots of creative trade scenarios — especially given the long trade history between these organizations’ current front office leadership. The Nats owe Wieters a hefty $10.5MM salary after his poor 2017 season. At the same time, the team would surely only move him (and as much of the salary as it can) if it has an upgrade lined up.

    Of course, it could be that the Nats would see Lucroy himself as a preferable option to Wieters, adding yet another potential dimension to the situation. Lucroy entered the winter emphasizing his desire to play for a competitor, after all. Washington has also long been tied to quality young Marlins receive J.T. Realmuto, though it’s not clear whether there has been any recent movement on that front.

    At this point, though, the trade possibilities are all speculation.

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    East Notes: Rays, Wright, Goodwin, Orioles https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-rays-wright-goodwin-orioles.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-rays-wright-goodwin-orioles.html#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2018 19:22:15 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116440 The Rays are preparing to utilize a four-man rotation for the entirety of the coming season, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, with the expectation being that the club will load up the bullpen with multi-inning-capable arms. Topkin covers a wide range of possibilities for the relief corps and details the club’s thinking behind the unusual move. The plan is to utilize a string of relievers to work the fifth rotation spot, rather than designating a single pitcher to take that job. That approach seems designed both to take advantage of the organization’s options and to incorporate some analytical lessons on platoons and pitchers facing an order multiple times.

    More from the east:

    • Joel Sherman of the New York Post checks in on Mets third baseman David Wright, who is still plugging away in a comeback effort that seems unlikely to succeed. He says he wants to give it everything he can so that his “head can hit the pillow and I know I made every effort to play.” But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for the 33-year-old to be a part of a team that’s likely never to put him back on the field. “The mental part of coming in and knowing you bring nothing to the table as far as helping the team get ready for the season and helping the team win, for me, is the hardest part,” says Wright, “as hard as physical part of the rehab process.” Wright’s devastating combination of injuries is well-documented, of course. Remarkably, he was still capable of productive hitting when he briefly appeared on the field in 2015 and 2016, but Wright was only able to suit up for three High-A contests last year.
    • The Nationals don’t have a particularly clear role for outfielder Brian Goodwin, but as Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com writes, new skipper Davey Martinez intends to find ways to utilize Goodwin. The 27-year-old doesn’t exactly sound like he’s excited by the organization’s plans after he turned in a solid 2017 campaign. “I don’t think my role is defined, or ever has been since I’ve been in camp,” Goodwin said. “I come into camp and I feel like I’m trying to earn a spot, trying to find somewhere – a home, where I can play every day, start 162 games and play every day for somebody whether it’s here or anywhere.”
    • Speaking of lefty hitting outfielders, the Orioles came into the offseason badly needing one. The club erred in its approach to filling that need, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com argues. Baltimore ended up drawing Colby Rasmus back out of retirement with a deal that could actually exceed the one that Jon Jay just signed with the Royals. The issue, says Connolly, is that Jay suits the O’s needs much more than does Rasmus — and also was the desired target of team leaders Adam Jones and Manny Machado. It’s an interesting look at the team’s decisionmaking process.
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    Adams Prioritized Contending Over Playing Time In Free Agency https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-adams-jdm-marlins-eovaldi-orioles.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/east-notes-adams-jdm-marlins-eovaldi-orioles.html#comments Mon, 05 Mar 2018 18:55:51 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116295 Matt Adams signed with the Nationals fairly early in the offseason knowing full well that regular at-bats were going to be difficult to come by, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Adams prioritized playing for a contending club with a good clubhouse culture — he consulted his friend Chris Heisey about the organization before signing — over holding out for an opportunity for an everyday or near-everyday role. Castillo speaks to Adams himself, manager Dave Martinez and hitting coach Kevin Long about the slugger’s role with the club and the value he can bring off the bench. The Nationals, it should be noted, are giving Adams some looks in the outfield once again this spring and could play him in left field from time to time in 2017 — as the Cardinals and Braves both did in 2017.

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    Nationals Looking For Another Catcher https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-east-notes-nationals-kingery-braves.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-east-notes-nationals-kingery-braves.html#comments Sun, 04 Mar 2018 21:09:47 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116214
  • The Nationals would still like to add another Major League catcher to their roster, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports.  Catcher is the only true weak spot on Washington’s depth chart, due to Matt Wieters’ rough 2017 season and Pedro Severino’s lack of hitting at the MLB level (or even in the minors).  Miguel Montero is also in camp on a non-roster invite but is also coming off a poor 2017.  The Nats are known to have explored trade talks with the Marlins about J.T. Realmuto, and if Realmuto or another catcher can’t be obtained in a trade, D.C. could consider signing a catcher who becomes available in late-Spring Training roster shuffling, or perhaps a bigger-name free agent like the still-available Jonathan Lucroy.
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