Washington Nationals – MLB Trade Rumors https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Mon, 16 Jul 2018 04:23:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 Nationals Notes: Realmuto, Robles, Eovaldi https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nl-east-notes-realmuto-nationals-eovaldi-anthopoulos.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nl-east-notes-realmuto-nationals-eovaldi-anthopoulos.html#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2018 03:47:47 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127544 The Nationals could be willing to “revisit” talks with the Marlins about J.T. Realmuto, according to Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman.  The Nats have long been connected to Realmuto, though GM Mike Rizzo seemingly threw cold water on the potential of a trade a few weeks ago by saying that his team wasn’t willing to meet Miami’s very high asking price for the star catcher.  Now, there is some belief that Washington could be open to dealing star outfield prospect Victor Robles, though Heyman notes that this is unconfirmed.  The Nats were firmly against the idea of dealing Robles or Carter Kieboom to the Marlins for Realmuto, which is what brought talks to a halt in the first place.

DL Placements: Felix Hernandez, Sean Doolittle, Josh Tomlin https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/dl-placements-felix-hernandez-sean-doolittle-josh-tomlin.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/dl-placements-felix-hernandez-sean-doolittle-josh-tomlin.html#comments Tue, 10 Jul 2018 19:45:30 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127073 With several players hitting the disabled list this afternoon, we’ll round them up in this post:

  • The Mariners announced that starter Felix Hernandez will hit the DL owing to lower back tightness. It seems the idea is to afford him a longer rest by lining up the placement with the coming All-Star break, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. Reliever Nick Rumbelow and infielder Gordon Beckham will head onto the active roster, with outfielder John Andreoli being optioned out. Hopefully for the M’s, a bit of a respite will allow Hernandez to bounce back in the second half. It has been a frustrating season to this point, as he has allowed 5.13 earned runs per nine over 105 1/3 innings.
  • Likewise, the Nationals announced that closer Sean Doolittle is hitting the shelf with left toe inflammation. His placement is retroactive to July 7th, meaning he’ll be eligible to return immediately after the break. The roster will get two fresh arms in Wander Suero and Austin Voth, while fellow right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was optioned after his start yesterday. As for Doolittle, it had been hoped that he would be able to return to action, but the team can ill afford an un-utilized roster spot with a tired relief corps. The club has other capable late-inning arms to turn to, though obviously the fervent hope will be that this placement will stave off any more concerning health matters.
  • Indians righty Josh Tomlin is going to the DL with a right hamstring strain, per another announcement. He’ll be replaced by Adam Plutko, who has seen seven games (including six starts) of action in the majors this year. Tomlin has struggled both before and after being bumped from the rotation. Though he hasn’t been hit quite as hard in a relief capacity, he’s still allowing a .256/.294/.538 slash to opposing hitters while working from the bullpen. The 33-year-old owns a 6.98 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 — and an unhealthy 3.9 homers per nine — over 49 total innings this year.
Nationals Activate Matt Wieters https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-activate-matt-wieters-disabled-list.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-activate-matt-wieters-disabled-list.html#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2018 20:34:52 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127016 The Nationals announced Monday that they’ve activated Matt Wieters from the disabled list and optioned fellow catcher Pedro Severino to Triple-A Syracuse in order to open a spot on the active roster. Wieters has been out since mid-May following a hamstring injury that ultimately required surgery.

Wieters returns to the Nats at a time when the organization is widely reported to be in the market for an upgrade behind the dish. He’ll look to change the organization’s thinking in that regard over the next three weeks, though that may prove too difficult after a disastrous 2017 season in which Wieters batted just .225/.288/.344 with lackluster defensive contributions.

To his credit, Wieters was off to a much better start to the season before sustaining his injury. Through 76 plate appearances, he’d hit .231/.342/.385 with three homers. It’s a tiny sample, to be sure, but Wieters had boosted his walk rate by five percent while trimming roughly that same figure off his strikeout rate. Of course, a couple of his walks came while batting eighth early in the season, and his chase rate on pitches out of the zone had actually increased, while his swing rate at pitches in the zone had decreased.

Even with Wieters in the fold, it seems likely that the Nats will continue to explore the possibility of adding another option who’d likely push Wieters into a backup role. Wilson Ramos is the most frequently mentioned candidate connected with the Nationals as of late — especially following GM Mike Rizzo’s blunt comments about Miami’s asking price on J.T. Realmuto being too high. ESPN’s Buster Olney wondered yesterday, too, whether the Nationals would inquire on Martin Maldonado, should the Angels fall any further out of the race for a Wild Card spot in the American League (Twitter link).

Rays Scouting Nationals' Class-A Affiliate https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/cubs-trade-rumors-ja-happ-blue-jays.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/cubs-trade-rumors-ja-happ-blue-jays.html#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2018 16:49:48 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126992
  • The Rays had a pair of scouts watching the Nationals’ Class-A affiliate over the weekend, tweets Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. While most teams obviously send scouts to watch other clubs year-round, and other teams surely had scouts on hand at that game as well, it’s nonetheless notable at a time when rumors have been circulating that the Nationals could pursue a trade that would bring Tampa Bay catcher Wilson Ramos back to D.C.
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    Rays "Closely Watching" Nationals' Farm System https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/quick-hits-rays-eovaldi-ramos-nats-pirates-reds.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/quick-hits-rays-eovaldi-ramos-nats-pirates-reds.html#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2018 21:52:31 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126956
  • More on the Rays, who are “closely watching” the Nationals’ farm system as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline draws closer, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports. The Nationals are interested in Rays catcher Wilson Ramos, per Heyman, which jibes with an earlier report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “There’s no sign” the Nationals have made any progress in trying to pry elite catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins, Heyman writes, so Ramos may be the Nats’ best hope to upgrade behind the plate. Ramos spent 2010-16 in Washington and has landed back on the team’s radar amid what may be an All-Star season for the 30-year-old.
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    Nationals Interested In Wilson Ramos https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/cafardos-latest-abreu-astros-ramos-nats-as-treinen-orioles.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/cafardos-latest-abreu-astros-ramos-nats-as-treinen-orioles.html#comments Sat, 07 Jul 2018 22:50:41 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126829
  • The Nationals recently sent special assistant Dan Jennings to watch Rays catcher Wilson Ramos, Cafardo reports. The Nationals are already familiar with Ramos, who played with the team from 2010-16, and the pending free agent figures to end up with either them or another club by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After a mediocre 2017, the 30-year-old Ramos has rebuilt his stock with a .287/.338/.460 line in 293 PAs. Those numbers are far better than the production Nationals catchers have offered. Washington’s backstops have combined to hit a league-worst .185/.278/.265 in 338 trips to the plate, thus contributing to the team’s five-game deficit in the NL East.

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    Nationals Outright Tim Collins https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-outright-tim-collins-reds-release-max-wotell.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-outright-tim-collins-reds-release-max-wotell.html#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2018 23:37:25 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126643
  • Left-hander Tim Collins cleared waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Syracuse by the Nationals organization, reports Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post (Twitter link). The southpaw had enough service time to reject the assignment in favor of free agency, but Janes adds that Collins will indeed go to Syracuse. The 28-year-old returned to the Majors for the first time since 2014 this season, having missed significant time due to a pair of Tommy John surgeries. He posted a 2.77 ERA that looks strong at first glance but was accompanied by 14 hits allowed and six walks against just eight strikeouts through 13 innings.
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    Latest On MASN Dispute https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/al-east-notes-masn-happ-estrada-machado.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/al-east-notes-masn-happ-estrada-machado.html#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2018 19:50:54 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126535 While the ongoing television rights dispute between the Orioles and Nationals has been out of the news for some time, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any action behind the scenes. Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun recently provided a notable update on the situation. While the Baltimore organization has “grown weary of battling Major League Baseball over the [MASN] network” and has tried to work out a settlement, there’s still no resolution. At present, there’s no indication that the stalemate will be broken voluntarily; barring a change in that dynamic, the next big event on the calendar is a scheduled arbitration hearing in November.

    Nationals Designate Tim Collins https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-designate-tim-collins.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-designate-tim-collins.html#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2018 13:24:18 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126518 The Nationals have designated lefty Tim Collins for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot was needed for the activation of Matt Adams from the 10-day DL.

    With the Nats stuck in a brutal run of poor results, they’ll sacrifice some bullpen depth in order to increase their offensive options with the return of Adams. The first baseman had been on the shelf after suffering a minor finger fracture on a bunt attempt.

    Collins, 28, has worked to a 2.77 ERA in his 13 innings on the year — his first frames in the bigs since way back in 2014. Unfortunately, he has also managed only eight strikeouts while issuing six walks.

    There were some positive signs, too. Collins is working at 93.1 mph with his fastball, right near his career average, and has managed an 11.2% swinging-strike rate. He has been tagged by righties (.455 wOBA) but been equally dominant against lefties (.191 wOBA).

    For the Nats, there were simply more pressing needs than another lefty reliever. With Matt Grace on hand and Sammy Solis in reserve at Triple-A, there are other options. Plus, the club could conceivably mix and match in the late innings rather than using southpaw Sean Doolittle exclusively as a closer. Whether another team will value Collins as a MLB roster piece remains to be seen; if not, perhaps he could end up back at Triple-A in the D.C. organization.

    Latest On Matt Harvey, Raisel Iglesias https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-trade-rumors-reds-matt-harvey-raisel-iglesias.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-trade-rumors-reds-matt-harvey-raisel-iglesias.html#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2018 20:20:08 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126441 3:20pm: A source disputes the reporting from the Nationals’ perspective, per Chelsea Janes and Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (Twitter links). The Washington organization does not have interest in Harvey and “seems unlikely” to be a real bidder on Iglesias, according to the WaPo duo. The Nats are said to have shown some interest in Iglesias as a reliever, but that came before they acquired Kelvin Herrera.

    10:07am: The Nationals have been in touch with the Reds recently and are eyeing right-handers Matt Harvey and Raisel Iglesias, in particular, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). Perhaps most interestingly, Heyman notes that several clubs are intrigued by the idea of using Iglesias as a starter.

    Harvey, 29, has undeniably raised his stock since joining the Reds in a trade nearly two months ago in a trade that sent Devin Mesoraco to New York. Through 53 2/3 innings out of the Cincinnati rotation, he’s worked to a 3.86 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 1.17 HR/9 and a 43 percent ground-ball rate. More encouraging than the bottom-line numbers is the fact that Harvey has steadily improved his velocity over the course of his tenure in Cincinnati; he’s averaged nearly 95 mph on his fastball over his past five starts and is averaging 94.2 mph on his heater as a Red after averaging 92.6 mph as a Met.

    Harvey would be a pure rental for any team that acquires him, as he’s slated to hit free agency at season’s end. From the Nationals’ vantage point, though, it’s not clear he’d be a definitive upgrade over their in-house options. The Nats’ current top three of Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez is a strong trio, and while it’s not known exactly when Stephen Strasburg will rejoin the team, he did recently throw a bullpen session. If Strasburg’s absence proves to be lengthy, the need for a starter would be more pronounced. If he can return in the reasonably near future, though, it’s tougher to call Harvey a demonstrative upgrade over current fifth starter Jeremy Hellickson, who has turned in a perhaps surprisingly effective season to date (2.63 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 3.51 FIP, 3.55 xFIP through 48 innings).

    As for Iglesias, he stands out as a reasonable target for virtually any team with postseason aspirations. The 28-year-old has stepped up as Cincinnati’s closer over the past two seasons and pitched quite well, regularly pitching more than an inning per appearance. Since Opening Day 2017, he’s pitched 112 2/3 innings (97 appearances) and posted a 2.48 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9. Beyond that, he’s controlled for three more years after the 2018 season, making him a long-term piece for any club to add to its staff — be it in the bullpen or rotation.

    The Nationals’ bullpen is much improved from a year ago, as they’ve since added Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler and Kelvin Herrera, to say nothing of the surprisingly dominant Justin Miller. But Iglesias would nonetheless further deepen an increasingly productive relief corps for manager Dave Martinez or, perhaps, serve as an upside play to plug into the fifth spot in the Washington rotation. If that proved to be a role in which he could thrive, he’d give the team a valuable option there with Gonzalez and Hellickson set to hit free agency at season’s end and Roark controlled only through 2019.

    Nationals Sign First-Rounder Mason Denaburg https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-sign-first-rounder-mason-denaburg.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/nationals-sign-first-rounder-mason-denaburg.html#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2018 16:38:02 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126448 11:38am: MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets that Denaburg received a $3MM bonus, putting him $527K over slot value.

    11:19am: The Nationals announced Tuesday that they’ve signed top their pick from the 2018 draft, high school right-hander Mason Denaburg. Fancred’s Jon Heyman first tweeted that the two sides were nearing a deal, while Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post added that the two sides had agreed to terms on an over-slot bonus (Twitter links). Denaburg was advised by and is now a client of the Boras Corporation.

    Denaburg was selected 27th overall — a pick that comes with an assigned slot value of $2,472,700. That Nats, it seems, were willing to top that mark as a means of enticing the 18-year-old righty to forgo a college commitment to Florida. Denaburg would likely have gone earlier in the draft had he not missed more than a month of his 2018 season due to biceps tendinitis. He ranked 16th in the class per Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, while the team over at Baseball America pegged him 22nd. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com rated him 24th in the class, and ESPN’s Keith Law had him 29th on his rankings.

    When healthy, Denaburg can reach 97 mph with his fastball, though he sits a few ticks below that. McDaniel and Longenhagen write that he boasts “one of the most consistently 60-grade breaking balls in recent memory,” adding that his changeup has the makings of an above-average pitch as well. Baseball America’s report suggests that Denaburg could be the most athletic pitcher in the class, as he would’ve also been a legitimate prospect as a catcher with a strong arm and impressive raw power. Denaburg’s future, though, is on the mound, and he’ll now join Erick Fedde and Seth Romero among the top-rated arms in the Nats’ minor league ranks.

    Nationals Move Ryan Zimmerman To 60-Day DL, Reinstate Raudy Read https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/minor-mlb-transactions-63018.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/minor-mlb-transactions-63018.html#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2018 01:32:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126227
  • The Nationals opened up a spot on their 40-man roster Saturday by transferring first baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. The club made the move to create 40-man room for catcher prospect Raudy Read, whom it reinstated from the restricted list after he served an 80-game suspension. Zimmerman has already been on the DL for nearly two months (since May 10) on account of a strained right oblique, though there’s hope he’ll return in the near future, per Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com. He’ll be eligible to rejoin the Nats on July 9.
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    Injury Notes: Darvish, Nelson, Cordero, Chapman, Strasburg, Cespedes, Font, Dunning https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/injury-notes-darvish-nelson-cordero-chapman-strasburg-cespedes-font-dunning.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/injury-notes-darvish-nelson-cordero-chapman-strasburg-cespedes-font-dunning.html#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2018 04:58:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126146 With ongoing uncertainty leading to some real worry, it came as something of a relief when the Cubs announced that Yu Darvish has been diagnosed with a right elbow impingement, as Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic was among those to cover on Twitter. Already on the DL, Darvish will receive a cortisone shot before being examined again next week. It’s not yet known what the course will be from that point, but the club is no doubt pleased that there’s not a more significant underlying issue plaguing the high-priced hurler.

    Let’s run through some other health updates of note …

    • The Brewers are still unsure when they’ll welcome back righty Jimmy Nelson, GM David Stearns tells reporters including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (via Twitter). “We still think Jimmy is going to pitch for us this year,” Stearns stressed. But the shoulder surgery that knocked Nelson out has required a “slower process,” says Stearns, with Nelson still “yet to pitch off a mound.” It seems there’s no chance that the Brewers will welcome back their staff ace in advance of the trade deadline, meaning they’ll need to assess their rotation without full knowledge of his ability to contribute down the stretch.
    • Padres outfielder Franchy Cordero appears quite likely to elect season-ending surgery, MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell tweets. It’s still not a certainty, and the lack of urgency in making the final call — it has been under consideration for at least ten days — speaks to the general timeline. Though Cordero would miss the rest of the MLB campaign, he’d likely be ready to participate in winter ball and certainly be at full health for Spring Training next year.
    • Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman has progressed to taking swings, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. He has already been out for about two weeks with a hand injury.
    • It seems there’s some cause for optimism for the Indians regarding reliever Tyler Olson. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets that Olson has been able to throw a bullpen session, which certainly indicates he’s progressing rather well from a lat injury that perhaps could have been worse.
    • Likewise, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg turned in a surprise bullpen session, as Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com was among those to tweet. That’s the first real indication that Strasburg is ready to begin working back toward a return from shoulder inflammation in earnest.
    • In other NL East news, the Mets increasingly have a confounding situation on their hands with regard to star outfielder Yoenis CespedesKristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes. Cespedes went on the DL in the middle of May with what seemed to be a minor injury, but still has not resumed running. Skipper Mickey Callaway says the veteran is “feeling a lot better,” but there’s no real sense of a timeline.
    • Righty Wilmer Font left today’s game with a lat injury, with Rays skipper Kevin Cash saying it’s probably a serious one, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. The recently claimed righty “in all likelihood will miss significant time,” says Cash, which is quite a disappointment for all involved. Entering play today, the 28-year-old had found his groove with the Rays, turning in 22 innings of 1.64 ERA ball with 7.0 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9.
    • In news of longer-term consequence, the White Sox are still holding their breath with regard to well-regarded pitching prospect Dane Dunning. The team announced that he has been diagnosed with a “moderate elbow sprain that presently will not require surgery.” For the time being, he’ll rest for a while and resume throwing in about two months’ time if he’s deemed ready. That’s hardly good news, but is certainly better than the worst-case that may have been feared.
    Beltway Notes: Nationals, O’s, Harper, Britton, Machado, Ramos https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/beltway-notes-nationals-os-harper-britton-machado-ramos.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/beltway-notes-nationals-os-harper-britton-machado-ramos.html#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2018 01:24:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125790 Here’s the latest on the Nationals and Orioles, two local rivals who will be going in opposite directions at the trade deadline…

    • Bryce Harper’s impending free agency is a major subplot to the Nationals’ season, though the team’s larger short-term concern is how to get Harper back in top form.  As per ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, some rival executives speculate that Harper’s relative down year (he entered today hitting .212/.353/.465 slash line with 19 homers through 326 PA) could help his chances of returning to Washington in 2019, as the Nats are more familiar with Harper’s ups and downs than any other team.  Harper and the team could explore the possibility of a shorter-term contract with an early opt-out clause, so Harper could re-enter the market as early as the 2019-20 offseason if he puts up better overall numbers next season.  The opt-out clause has been a favored tool of Scott Boras, Harper’s agent, in the past, and it makes particular sense for a player who is hitting free agency at such a young age.
    • Also from Olney, some teams will wait for the Orioles to approach them with solid offers for trades this summer.  The strategy stems from last year’s failed talks for Zach Britton, with Olney writing “the Dodgers and the Astros were among the teams that felt as if they wasted a lot of time talking with the Orioles — because in their view, Baltimore struggles with the process.”  The counter-argument from the O’s, was that they decided to keep Britton after thoroughly weighing the offers presented.  Waiting for the O’s to make the first move in negotiations is a risk unto itself, as there continues to be uncertainty about how large the market will be for star infielders, namely Manny Machado.  “I’m not convinced [the Orioles] will actually trade him because I don’t know how attractive the offers will be,” one rival executive said.  Barring an injury on a contender’s roster, Baltimore may have to settle for a less-than-expected return for Machado rather than just see him walk in free agency at season’s end.
    • There continues to be speculation about what big-picture changes may be coming to the Orioles, as John and Louis Angelos have been taking on an increased leadership role from their father, longtime owner Peter Angelos.  Jon Heyman of FRSBaseball.com even hears from some Orioles-related sources that a sale of the team within the next few years wouldn’t be a total surprise, as the Angelos sons had been previously thought to be in line to take over the family’s law and TV businesses rather than the ball club.  In regards to more immediate rumors, Heyman hears from a source that the Orioles’ interest in Ned Colletti for a front office position was “overblown,” rather than necessarily untrue.  Heyman also reports that there was little-to-no truth to speculation that longtime Orioles names Billy Ripken, Mike Bordick, or Rick Dempsey could be stepping in as the next Baltimore manager.
    • Since the Nationals have been unwilling to meet the Marlins’ demands for J.T. Realmuto, Ken Rosenthal (in a FOXSports.com video) suggests that Rays catcher Wilson Ramos is a “logical” next option as the Nats look to upgrade behind the plate.  Ramos is enjoying a nice bounceback year after an injury-shortened 2017, and he is a known quantity in Washington from his previous stint with the Nationals.  Ramos is still owed roughly half of his $10.5MM salary, though Tampa could ask for a smaller prospect return in exchange for the Nationals taking all of that remaining salary off the Rays’ books.
    Nationals Injury Notes: Strasburg, Robles https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/dodgers-to-activate-clayton-kershaw-cespedes-strasburg-victor-robles-injury-padres-machado-rumor.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/dodgers-to-activate-clayton-kershaw-cespedes-strasburg-victor-robles-injury-padres-machado-rumor.html#comments Sat, 23 Jun 2018 04:29:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125582
  • For the Nationals, health has been a major problem all season long. The club has received reasonably promising news of late regarding two key assets, though. Stephen Strasburg has now thrown the ball twice this week without apparent incident, as Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com was among those to tweet. That seems to indicate that his shoulder inflammation is beginning to subside, though the real tests are surely yet to come. Meanwhile, president of baseball ops Mike Rizzo said in an appearance on 106.7 The Fan (via TalkNats.com) that outfield prospect Victor Robles is nearly ready to resume baseball activities after a long layoff from a hyper-extended elbow. If he’s able to progress from there, Robles may yet be back in action this year. The club may not call upon him to play a role in the majors in 2018, but having Robles available would surely be beneficial, and getting him back in action would also help with sorting the plans for 2019.
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    Rizzo: Nationals Unwilling To Meet Asking Price On Realmuto https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/jt-realmuto-trade-nationals-gm-unwilling-asking-price-marlins.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/jt-realmuto-trade-nationals-gm-unwilling-asking-price-marlins.html#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2018 17:27:53 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125558 In a surprisingly candid interview with Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link, with audio), Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo largely quashed rumors and speculation that have tied his team to star Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. According to Rizzo, the Nationals touched base with the Marlins on Realmuto’s availability but haven’t really circled back this season.

    “They’ve got a great player in Realmuto,” said Rizzo. “They’re not going to sell him cheap. We know what the return has to be on Realmuto, and we’re not willing to meet that price. So unless something changes there, on their end, we’re going to go with [Matt] Wieters when he gets healthy and a combination of [Pedro] Severino and [Spencer] Kieboom to back him up.”

    Washington’s offseason interest in Realmuto was reported on at length over the winter. Multiple offseason reports suggested that the Marlins asked the Nats for a package headlined by one of their two most-coveted outfield prospects, Victor Robles or Juan Soto, the latter of whom has exploded onto the scene in the Majors at the age of 19. Robles, meanwhile, has missed much of the season with a hyperextended elbow but is still considered by many to be among the game’s 10 best prospects.

    While that’s a lofty asking price, to be sure, it’s also not difficult to see why the Marlins would hold Realmuto in such high regard. The 27-year-old batted .290/.337/.440 in 1124 plate appearances from 2016-17 and has taken his offensive game to new heights in 2018, raking at a .297/.355/.524 pace (143 OPS+, 140 wRC+). After missing nearly a month with a minor lower back injury early in the season, Realmuto has already belted nine homers, 15 doubles and three triples in just 232 plate appearances.

    Beyond his offensive prowess, Realmuto is considered a strong defensive catcher. He’s thrown out 11 of the 26 runners who’ve attempted to steal against him for a career-best 42 percent caught-stealing rate, and he generally rates as an above-average pitch framer and pitch blocker, per Baseball Prospectus. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly when assessing his trade value, he is eminently affordable from a financial standpoint and can be controlled through the 2020 season. Realmuto is earning $2.9MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility and will be eligible twice more before reaching free agency in the 2020-21 offseason.

    Catcher was the Nationals’ most glaring need in the offseason, but the team did surprisingly little to address the deficiency outside of a minor league deal for veteran Miguel Montero, who was quickly released after cracking the Opening Day roster. To Wieters’ credit, he looked to be in the midst of a potential rebound at the plate after a last year’s dreary .225/.288/.344 slash; through a small sample of 76 PAs early in 2018, Wieters hit .231/.342/.385 with three homers and vastly improved strikeout and walk rates. But, he’s now been on the shelf since May 11 due to a hamstring injury that required surgery.

    There are other catching options on the trade market, of course. Wilson Ramos’ name figures to be oft-mentioned on the rumor circuit as the deadline approaches, and the Mets would presumably be open to flipping recently acquired Devin Mesoraco when they inevitably begin to trade veteran pieces. Other speculative options include Robinson Chirinos and Francisco Cervelli. Blake Swihart, too, will be a rumored possibility, though it’s more difficult to see a contending club acquiring him and immediately inserting him into a regular role behind the plate when he’s scarcely played there in 2018.

    Broken Finger Sends Matt Adams To DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/cubs-brandon-morrow-disabled-list-back-spasms.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/cubs-brandon-morrow-disabled-list-back-spasms.html#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2018 16:12:23 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125438
  • A fractured left index finger landed Nationals first baseman/outfielder Matt Adams on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. There’s no word yet as to exactly how long he’s expected to miss, though his absence will surely be felt when the Nats face right-handed pitchers. As has been the case throughout his career, Adams has floundered against lefties this season but thrived when holding the platoon advantage. He’s clobbering opposing righties at a career-best .283/.364/.614 clip this season and has belted a dozen homers in 143 plate appearances against right-handed opponents. With Adams joining Ryan Zimmermann on the DL, it was Daniel Murphy who stepped up at first base last night. Both Murphy and Mark Reynolds figure to be options there moving forward.
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    Angels, Dodgers Pursued Kelvin Herrera Before Trade To Nationals https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/angels-dodgers-pursued-kelvin-herrera-before-trade-to-nationals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/angels-dodgers-pursued-kelvin-herrera-before-trade-to-nationals.html#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2018 18:05:16 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125356 The Angels and Dodgers were among the clubs that pursued reliever Kelvin Herrera before he was dealt yesterday from the Royals to the Nationals, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (in an article and on Twitter). In fact, per the report, the two Los Angeles franchises were “in serious talks” about Herrera.

    That information is not only of historical interest. For one thing, it may hint something about the process the Royals undertook to move Herrera. The veteran reliever was among the most obvious and the best rental trade pieces in baseball. Most often, teams holding such an asset will take the decision until the deadline approaches, hoping that’s the best way to maximize their return.

    With multiple teams involved in serious talks, it seems that the Kansas City organization decided to oversee bidding in mid-June. Perhaps that was due to concern over what other relief arms might reach the market and/or a desire to minimize risk associated with a high-performing pitcher. It also may reflect a universe in which contenders see an advantage to moving aggressively.

    That’s all open to interpretation. What is clear, though, is that both L.A. clubs have an eye on bolstering their bullpens — and a willingness to do so by pursuing a pure rental asset. Presumably, they’ll be among the teams to pursue other such hurlers that come available over the coming weeks.

    According to Nightengale, the Halos in particular “remain immersed in talks with multiple teams for pitching.” That’s notable given the team’s recent fade and spate of injuries. There’s certainly still a path to the postseason, but it’ll take some internal improvements (including a return to health) and stumbles from one or more teams ahead in the standings. It seems, though, that the organization is willing to chase roster improvements even in this setting — a topic that Nightengale explores in greater length in the above-linked post.

    Minor MLB Transactions: 6/19/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/minor-mlb-transactions-61918.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/minor-mlb-transactions-61918.html#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 14:51:56 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125279 Here are some of the notable recent minor moves from around the league …

    • The Giants released outfielder-turned-pitcher Jordan Schaferaccording to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy. Schafer had joined the San Francisco organization at the start of the current season in hopes of continuing his attempt to return to the majors on the mound. He had missed the prior campaign owing to Tommy John surgery. Schafer threw 6 1/3 innings at Triple-A prior to his release, allowing four earned runs on ten hits and five walks but also recording nine strikeouts.
    • Eddy also reports that the Nationals have released corner infielder Matt Hague from their Triple-A affiliate. The 32-year-old has seen brief action in three MLB campaigns, most recently in 2015. He had joined the Washington organization after being released by the Mariners in April. Over 112 plate appearances at Syracuse, he exhibited typically strong plate discipline (12 walks vs. 18 strikeouts) but was slashing just .242/.321/.323.
    • The Twins have cut ties with hard-throwing righty Zack Jones from Double-A Chattanooga, per the Eastern League transactions log. The former Rule 5 Draft pick had allowed just seven earned runs on ten hits through 25 1/3 innings thus far in 2018, racking up 39 strikeouts along the way. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old Jones has also handed out 25 walks this season. Over his seven minor-league seasons, he has recorded 12.9 K/9 against 5.5 BB/9, so the command issues represent a longstanding concern.
    Nationals Acquire Kelvin Herrera https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-reportedly-nearing-acquisition-of-kelvin-herrera.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-reportedly-nearing-acquisition-of-kelvin-herrera.html#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 23:49:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125320 The Nationals have officially struck a deal to acquire reliever Kelvin Herrera from the Royals, making for a fascinating early swap. Outfielder Blake Perkins, third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, and righty Yohanse Morel will head to Kansas City in return.

    This agreement represents a rare, mid-June strike of real consequence. We’ve already seen a few other notable trades this year, so it could be that the market as a whole will move quicker than usual — and much more rapidly than it did last year.

    Herrera checked in at the #2 spot on MLBTR’s initial list of the top fifty trade deadline candidates. Beyond his excellence on the mound, Herrera’s pending free-agent status for the cellar-dwelling Royals made a trade all but inevitable. He’s arguably the most significant player to have been dealt in the month of June in recent memory — a topic we examined just last week.

    The Nats will take over the $7,937,500 salary that Herrera is earning in his final season of arbitration eligibility. With 82 of the 186 service days on the MLB calendar already in the books, the Washington organization will be on the hook for something like $4.44MM.

    Certainly, the high-octane Herrera looks to be a key new piece for the Nats’ pen. This deal is the latest summer bullpen swap for the organization. Last year, the Nationals added Sean DoolittleRyan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler, the same three hurlers that make up the preferred late-inning unit on the current ballclub. In prior years, the team added Mark Melancon and Jonathan Papelbon. (The latter trade was the most regrettable of president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo’s tenure. Not only was Papelbon a disaster in the second season of his deal, but the team handed quality young righty Nick Pivetta to a division rival.)

    The 28-year-old Herrera will likely function in a set-up role in front of Doolittle, but skipper Dave Martinez will also have the choice to switch things up as match-ups dictate. Herrera has spent plenty of time as the K.C. closer and has loads of high-leverage postseason experience, so he ought to be able to function in any role that his new team prefers.

    Herrera still works at about 97 mph with his fastball, though he once averaged over 99. Notably, he’s also generating swinging strikes at a quality 14.4% rate, marking a return to form after a downturn last year. Unsurprisingly, then, the results have been excellent thus far in 2018. Herrera has allowed just three earned runs in 25 2/3 innings, racking up a stellar 22:2 K/BB ratio along the way. He’s not generating quite as many grounders as he has in years past, but has tamped down on the long ball somewhat and has obviously been exceptionally stingy with free passes.

    On the other side of this arrangement, the package features three interesting players that most prospect rankings did not grade among the very best in the Nats’ system. Clearly, though, the Royals felt the package was strong enough to warrant an early move. For the Nationals, shipping out that trio still leaves the club with the bulk of its highest-ranked prospects still available for the future — or, perhaps, for further deals this summer.

    Depending upon who you ask, Gutierrez and Perkins each rated just outside of or just within the ten best prospects on the Nationals farm. The former is a 23-year-old third baseman who has scuffled a bit in his first attempt at Double-A this year, but is regarded as a talented corner defender who possesses a quality hit tool and some power potential. Perkins, 21, has run into some troubles at the High-A level but has an interesting blend of speed, power, and plate discipline along with up-the-middle defensive ability in the outfield. As for Morel, a reputedly live-armed 17-year-old, he’ll represent a long-term wild card in this swap.

    Jon Heyman of Fan Rag first reported the deal (Twitter links), with Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweeting it was in place. Jon Morosi of MLB.com first reported the return (via Twitter).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    NL East Notes: Marlins, Nationals, Franco https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-east-notes-marlins-nationals-franco.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-east-notes-marlins-nationals-franco.html#comments Sat, 16 Jun 2018 16:25:54 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125098 Though the Marlins made a few headline-worthy changes in the front office following the franchise’s transfer of ownership to Derek Jeter and company, there wasn’t a dramatic overhaul right away. Instead, as FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman notes, the club is “experiencing turnover as they go; it’s happening organically, and perhaps uncomfortably in a couple cases.” Director of player development Gary Denbo is reportedly “appalled by much of what he sees” as he surveys the Marlins system and attempts to turn the franchise around. Denbo’s primary focus is accountability; it’s reported that within the old regime, decisions could “come from anyone,” and weren’t always made by the person who is accountable for them. “We’re hoping to develop a sense of urgency to become the best organization in baseball. That is the objective,” said Denbo. Though he’s reportedly ruffled a few feathers, perhaps that’s acceptable considering the Marlins have put up a losing record every year since 2009.

    A few other items from around the NL East…

    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic sat down for a Q&A with Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long. Among the highlights are rookie Juan Soto; Long raves about his “tight”, “compact” and “connected” swing along with his plate discipline). “I can go on and on about this kid. His routine is flawless. He came in and knew exactly what he wanted to do. I was like, ‘Wow.’ He’s at ease. He’s confident.” Long also discusses Bryce Harper’s relative struggles as well as Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton and the fly-ball revolution.
    • In a separate piece, Rosenthal notes at one point that the Nationals are attempting to add one starter and one reliever (according to his sources). With the recent placement of Stephen Strasburg and Brandon Kintzler on the DL and Jeremy Hellickson still recovering from a hamstring strain, pitching is thin for Washington outside of Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez.
    • “It feels as if Maikel Franco is being phased out,” writes Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports. While it’s (somewhat) worth noting that Phillies management has denied this, Franco has been relegated to a part-time role after enduring continued struggles to get on base this season; struggles he doesn’t particularly make up for in any other way. Clearly this hasn’t been lost on Franco, who is aware of the circumstances. “I understand what’s happening right now,” he said on Sunday morning. “I understand what the manager is trying to do with everybody. I know the situation.” Rookie J.P. Crawford has been getting looks at third base, and the team is also looking for a positional home for Scott Kingery. Franco owns a .233/.281/.408 slash line since the start of 2017.
    Nationals Ownership Transfers Control To Mark Lerner https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-ownership-transfers-control-to-mark-lerner.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-ownership-transfers-control-to-mark-lerner.html#comments Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:34:35 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124959 After a dozen years as the front-man in the Nationals’ ownership, Ted Lerner is transferring control of the organization to his son, Mark, reports Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. The move has already been unanimously approved by the other 29 owners, per the report. Both Ted, 92, and Mark, 64, have issued statements to Svrluga regarding the transfer, and the column is full of quotes from Mark on his new role as well as the organization’s future.

    While many ownership changes and transfers are followed by shakeups on the baseball operations side of the equation, that doesn’t sound to be the case in this instance. The younger Lerner notes that most of the team’s larger decisions have been a collaborative family effort. Ted Lerner, his three children (Mark and sisters Marla and Debra), and their spouses have all been weighing in on major ownership-level decisions, even if Ted ultimately had final say. “I don’t think you’ll see much difference in the way Dad and the family running it vs. myself and the family,” said Mark.

    Of course, many will wonder exactly what this means for the Nationals’ future with Bryce Harper. The 25-year-old is set to become a free agent following the season, and the rapport between Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, and Ted Lerner has been well-documented. Svrluga notes that Boras negotiated contracts for Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Jayson Werth (presumably, among others) directly with Ted Lerner. The Nats have no shortage of Boras clients on their roster, with Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Matt Wieters, Jeremy Hellickson and Gio Gonzalez all repped by the Boras Corporation (as can be seen in MLBTR’s Agency Database).

    Mark calls the relationship between Boras and his father both “interesting” and “successful,” adding that he expects his father to be involved in future negotiations with Boras (i.e. the Harper negotiations) as long as he wants to be. Regarding Harper, specifically, Mark says the outfielder “feels like a member of the family” and speaks optimistically about being able to retain the outfielder on a deal that “makes sense for the long-term vision of the club.”

    Nationals ownership already resolved one key issue earlier this season, extending general manager Mike Rizzo through the 2020 season and thus ensuring that he’ll continue to serve as the primary voice overseeing baseball operations, having already done so since 2009. Manager Dave Martinez, meanwhile, is in the first season of a three-year deal that contains a club option for the 2021 season.

    The manner in which the Nationals handle the managerial and coaching staff following today’s transfer will be an interesting scenario to follow in the coming years. The organization has become notorious for having short leash on its field staff; Dusty Baker, for instance, was surprisingly cut loose after consecutive NL East titles, and Martinez is somewhat incredibly the seventh manager of the team dating back to 2009. That’s long been attributed to ownership rather than Rizzo, who reportedly fought to keep Baker at the helm before ownership made the call to dismiss him. There’s likely no way to know exactly how (or if) that’ll change in the short-term, with Martinez in his first season as skipper. The 2019 and 2020 seasons figure to be more telling in that regard, though, especially if the Nationals either fail to make the postseason or endure yet another NLDS exit.

    Generally speaking, however, it doesn’t sound as if the transfer will bring about radical change in the operation of the club in the near future. Furthermore, it sounds as if the Lerner family plans on retaining control of the organization for years to come. Svrluga notes that a third generation of Lerners is already becoming involved in the business, and Mark Lerner spoke candidly about the fact that he and his siblings have had zero thoughts about selling the team. “We well never sell the Nationals,” said Mark. “…[C]ertainly while I’m alive and my sisters and brothers-in-law are alive — nobody’s going to sell this team.”

    Nationals Re-Sign Rafael Bautista https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-re-sign-rafael-bautista.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-re-sign-rafael-bautista.html#comments Wed, 13 Jun 2018 21:42:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124934 The Nationals have re-signed outfielder Rafael Bautista to a minor league contract after releasing him over the weekend, reports Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (via Twitter).

    The 25-year-old Bautista had been occupying a spot on the 40-man roster but suffered a torn ACL and LCL while playing in Triple-A. In order to open the 40-man spot but also retain him, the Nats released him and quickly brought him back on a new minor league pact that’ll let him rehab with the organization while creating additional roster flexibility.

    Bautista made a brief cameo in the Majors this season, going hitless in six plate appearances, and he also had a quick cup of coffee with the 2017 Nats, going 4-for-25 in 17 games. He’d been off to a fine start in the minors this year, hitting a combined .303/.345/.376 with a homer, three doubles, a triple and six steals (in eight attempts) through 121 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A.

    While he’s never had much power in the minors and drew 30-grade power in his most recent scouting report at Fangraphs, Bautista does boast excellent speed and solid contact skills. He’s swiped 239 bases in 534 career minor league games, and he’s struck out at just a 15.6 percent clip in Double-A and a 17.5 percent clip in Triple-A. Baseball America, Fangraphs and MLB.com all rated him inside the organization’s top 20 prospects recently, and he has the upside of eventually functioning as a speed- and defense-oriented fourth outfielder at the big league level, assuming, of course, that he can recover from that serious knee injury.

    Amateur Draft Signings: 6/13/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-61318.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-61318.html#comments Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:35:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124912 We’ll use this post to track Wednesday’s notable agreements from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

    • Reds second-round pick Lyon Richardson scored a $2MM payday to forego his commitment to the University of Florida, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That’s nearly half a million over the slot value ($1,520,300) for a player who has only recently emerged as a high-end pitching prospect. MLB.com’s team was highest among major prospect outlets, ranking Richardson 67th on the basis of his ample upside as an athletic hurler who has shown big velocity despite unpolished mechanics.
    • The Yankees have announced a variety of signings, including deals with second-rounder Josh Breaux and third-rounder Ryder Green. These agreements were first reported by Callis (Twitter links), with the bonus values pinned down by Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Breaux’s bonus of $1,497,500 handily tops his $1,086,900 slot value, while Green, too, receives an over-slot $997,500 bonus that exceeds his $576,400 slot value. All of the above lists include Breaux among the top 100 available prospects, with an increasingly promising bat and improving work behind the dish justifying the placement.
    • The Braves got second-round selection Greyson Jenista for a $1.2MM bonus that leaves them $250,500 of extra pool space to work with, Callis reports on Twitter. The Wichita State slugger received a fairly broad array of grades from prospect hounds, but the Fangraphs crew was highest. With big power and the ability to draw walks, but also plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, there’s a lot to like about the bat. One major question is whether Jenista will be able to work into being a reasonable defender in the corner outfield, or whether instead he’s destined for first base in the long run.
    • Second-rounder Alek Thomas will join the Diamondbacks rather than heading to TCU, as Callis also tweets. The deal includes a $1.2MM bonus that tops the $1,035,500 allocation that came with the 63rd overall draft slot. Law was quite bullish on the young outfielder, crediting him with “five-tool potential” and “an advanced feel on both sides of the ball.”
    • The Nationals have also agreed to terms with their second-round selection, UConn lefty Tim Cate, Callis adds on Twitter. It’s an at-slot, $986,200 bonus for the 65th overall choice of the draft. Best known for his big hook, Cate is an undersized hurler who has also had some worrying arm health questions crop up. Still, Baseball America ranked him 54th on its board, noting his “exceptional feel to land his breaking ball in the zone and bury it for swings and misses.”
    • Still another second-rounder, Florida Atlantic infielder Tyler Frank, will take home a $997,500 bonus from the Rays, per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (Twitter link). That leaves the Tampa Bay club with some extra funds to work with, as the 56th slot came with a $1,228,000 allocation. Also going under-slot were Royals second-rounder Jonathan Bowlan ($697,500 bonus vs. $1,168,300 slot) and Twins second-rounder Ryan Jeffers ($800K bonus vs. $1,140,600 slot), according to Callis (Twitter links)
    Nationals Activate Daniel Murphy https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-activate-daniel-murphy.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-activate-daniel-murphy.html#comments Tue, 12 Jun 2018 19:00:10 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124831 The Nationals have activated veteran second baseman Daniel Murphy from the disabled list, per a club announcement. He’ll bat fifth and serve as the DH in today’s interleague contest. Murphy takes the roster spot of infielder Adrian Sanchez, who was optioned down to Triple-A.

    The 33-year-old Murphy has been out all season while recovering from offseason microfracture surgery to his right knee. Indications are that he’s not at full speed in the field and on the bases, but evidently the team determined that he was ready to chip in at the MLB level and would not unduly risk further injury.

    It’s a tough spot for all involved. Entering the year, the plan was for Murphy to take his time working back to health, with veteran Howie Kendrick filling in for the meantime. But Kendrick is among the many notable Nats players who have gone down with injuries of their own, and Murphy has seemingly not come along quite as smoothly as might have been hoped.

    In the meantime, even despite the various losses, the Nationals have a bit of a roster logjam on their hands. It’s still not quite pressing, particularly since Murphy is likely not to resume playing every day immediately upon his return, but all the makings of a tough call are in place. The D.C. organization is working with a five-man bench that won’t be sustainable once Ryan Zimmerman is ready to be activated and when the team is finally forced to add some pitching back onto the roster, which will happen in short order.

    If and when the Nationals are at full health on the position-player side, the team will have to make some tough decisions. One or two current position players will need to be moved out. Reserves Mark Reynolds and Brian Goodwin could both be at risk, but both would have to be exposed to waivers if removed from the active roster. Optioning Wilmer Difo is a possibility, but that’d mean going without a reserve capable of playing shortstop. Michael Taylor also has an option year left, but he’s been on fire and is the team’s best defender in center and lone right-handed-hitting outfielder.

    That leaves one glaring, but unappealing possibility: optioning young outfielder Juan Soto. The nineteen-year-old was called up to the majors as something of a desperation move when Goodwin, Adam Eaton, and then Kendrick went down, representing the culmination of a remarkable early-season sprint through the farm. Having played in only 32 games in 2017 due to injury, Soto opened the current season at Class A. After 16 games there, he moved to High-A. He played 15 more before a quick bump to Double-A, with his promotion coming on the same day that Eaton’s surgery was announced. After just eight contests at the Double-A level, Soto was in the majors. Through 19 big-league games, he carries a .328/.431/.541 slash with three home runs and as many walks as strikeouts (11 apiece).

    Generally, it’s preferable to deal with this situation than the one that presented itself earlier in the season, when the position-player picture looked rather bleak for the Nationals. Perhaps the club will even find a way to resolve some of its roster crunch in a manner that will help bolster its pitching staff, which is newly in need of buttressing even as the health situation improves on the other side of the roster.

    In the meantime, the Nationals and their medical staff will watch Murphy closely to see how he’s progressing. If he can produce anything like the .334/.387/.569 output he carries through two seasons in D.C., it’ll be easy to look past some limitations in other aspects of his game. Other teams will be watching as well, as Murphy is slated for a return trip onto the open market at the close of the 2018 campaign.

    Daniel Murphy Could Return Tuesday https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/east-notes-mets-yanks-degrom-thor-vlad-jr-d-murphy-franco.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/east-notes-mets-yanks-degrom-thor-vlad-jr-d-murphy-franco.html#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2018 20:58:05 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124640
  • Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy could come off the DL and make his 2018 debut Tuesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports. Murphy has been working back from the right knee surgery he underwent last October, and while he hasn’t been at full speed during his Double-A rehab games, the assignment’s only allowed to continue through Thursday. Thus, with the Nats set to play in AL parks from Tuesday through Sunday, they could opt to bring Murphy back and use him as a designated hitter for the week.
  • ]]>
    Nationals Place Stephen Strasburg, Brandon Kintzler On DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-to-place-stephen-strasburg-on-dl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-to-place-stephen-strasburg-on-dl.html#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2018 16:57:54 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124583 SUNDAY: Strasburg and Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) are now on the DL, the Nationals announced. To fill those two roster spots, the Nats recalled righties Wander Suero and Trevor Gott from Triple-A.

    SATURDAY: The Nationals will place right-hander Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post was among those to report. There’s no timetable for Strasburg’s return, though manager Dave Martinez indicated that he doesn’t have any structural damage, per Dan Kolko of MASN.

    The DL placement was expected for Strasburg after his shoulder forced him out of a start early on Friday, when he lasted only two innings against the Giants. Fortunately, though, it appears the Nationals have dodged a catastrophic injury in this case. Still, it’s yet another injury in a growing line for the 29-year-old Strasburg, who entered 2018 off three straight abbreviated seasons. As always, Strasburg has been terrific when healthy this season, making his forthcoming absence all the more difficult for a Washington team with a half-game lead over second-place Atlanta in the NL East.

    Before he went on the shelf, Strasburg opened the season with a 3.46 ERA and 10.6 K/9 against 2.12 BB/9 over 80 2/3 innings. The Nationals likely won’t be able to replace that production, and they were already dealing with a hamstring injury to resurgent back-end starter Jeremy Hellickson. Now, the only sure bets in their rotation are superstar Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. Triple-A hurlers Erick Fedde and Austin Voth are also on the Nationals’ 40-man roster and could be candidates for promotion. Veteran Tommy Milone is on hand at the minors’ highest level, too, but the Nats would need to add him to their 40-man before giving him a shot in the majors.

    Elsewhere on Washington’s staff, righty reliever Brandon Kintzler will go for an MRI after leaving his outing Saturday with forearm tightness – which is often a sign of a serious injury for a pitcher. The Nats will hope that’s not the case after re-signing Kintzler to a two-year, $10MM guarantee in the offseason. The 33-year-old has begun 2018 with a 4.45 ERA, 6.67 K/9, 3.81 BB/9 and a 44.7 percent grounder rate (down from a lifetime 56.7) in 28 1/3 innings.

    Nationals Activate Adam Eaton, Release Rafael Bautista https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-activate-adam-eaton-release-rafael-bautista.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-activate-adam-eaton-release-rafael-bautista.html#comments Sat, 09 Jun 2018 14:11:20 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124522 The Nationals have activated outfielder Adam Eaton from the 60-day disabled list, per a team announcement. In corresponding moves, the Nationals released outfielder Rafael Bautista and optioned right-hander Wander Suero to Triple-A.

    Eaton hasn’t played since April 8 because of a right ankle issue, one which required surgery in early May, thus continuing an injury-plagued tenure in Washington for the 29-year-old. Since the Nationals acquired Eaton from the White Sox in a December 2016 blockbuster, he has played in just 31 of a possible 223 regular-season games. Eaton missed all but 23 games last season after tearing both his left ACL and meniscus at the end of April.

    When Eaton has been healthy enough to take the field for the Nationals, he has continued to post the type of strong production he offered in Chicago from 2014-16. Across 140 plate appearances since last year, the lefty-swinger has slashed .308/.400/.508 with four home runs and nearly as many walks (17) as strikeouts (20). He’ll now rejoin a crowded outfield in D.C. that also consists of right fielder Bryce Harper, stunningly great 19-year-old left fielder Juan Soto, center fielder Michael Taylor and reserve Brian Goodwin.

    It’s unclear how the Nats will divvy up playing time among their outfielders, though Soto and Taylor do have minor league options remaining. Soto has perhaps been too effective to demote, however, having batted .339/.431/.571 with three homers, nine walks and 10 strikeouts in the first 65 PAs of his career.

    Bautista, 25, had been occupying a spot on Washington’s 40-man roster, but a serious knee injury derailed his season and, barring a re-signing, his career with the franchise. He tore the ACL, LCL and meniscus in his left knee while playing with Triple-A Syracuse three weeks ago. Bautista had been a quality prospect before then, though, as Baseball America (15th), FanGraphs (16th) and MLB.com (19th) each placed him among the Nationals’ top 20 farmhands in recent months.

    Stephen Strasburg To Undergo Shoulder MRI https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-east-notes-strasburg-syndergaard-phillies-braves.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-east-notes-strasburg-syndergaard-phillies-braves.html#comments Sat, 09 Jun 2018 13:37:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124514 Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg left his start Friday after two innings with “a little inflammation” in his pitching shoulder, manager Dave Martinez told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post and other reporters. Strasburg revealed that the issue began bothering him a few starts ago, and he’ll undergo an MRI on Saturday. Injuries have long been a concern for the 29-year-old Strasburg, though he has always delivered terrific results when healthy. He has once again offered high-end production this year, having notched a 3.46 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 2.12 BB/9 in 80 2/3 innings. The Nats can ill afford to lose Strasburg as they seek a third straight division title, then, especially with fellow starter Jeremy Hellickson currently on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.

    Nationals Recently “Checked In” On J.T. Realmuto https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-trade-rumors-marlins-jt-realmuto.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-trade-rumors-marlins-jt-realmuto.html#comments Fri, 08 Jun 2018 15:32:29 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124432 The Nationals “checked in” on the availability of star Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto within the past couple of weeks, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports in his latest notes column, though it sounds as if little has changed since the offseason. The Marlins are still seeking a “haul” in exchange for Realmuto, which only makes sense given the 27-year-old’s brilliant start to the season. Heyman suggests that the Nats aren’t willing to meet the price at this time.

    MLBTR’s Jeff Todd profiled Realmuto’s trade candidacy at length about a month ago, and Realmuto has maintained his strong play since that was written. Realmuto missed nearly a month to open the season thanks to a lower back issue, but he’s been among the game’s best-hitting catchers (if not the best-hitting catcher in the Majors) since being activated. In 179 plate appearances, he’s hitting .311/.376/.534 with six homers, 12 doubles and three triples. He’s also halted eight of 19 stolen-base attempts against him (42 percent) and turned in strong framing and blocking numbers, per Baseball Prospectus.

    Given that terrific all-around profile, a modest $2.9MM salary in 2018 and an additional two years of club control beyond the current season, it’s no surprise that the Marlins were seeking a package of multiple young players headlined by an elite talent in the offseason. Reports at the time indicated that Miami was interested in both Victor Robles and meteoric rising star Juan Soto, who has shocked baseball by soaring from Class-A to the Majors in two months and raking at a .346/.443/.538 pace in his first 16 big league games — all at the age of 19. It’s hard to imagine that the asking price on Realmuto has done anything but increase.

    Heyman writes that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Nationals are currently planning to keep Soto in the Majors even when the rest of their outfield is healthy. Washington was loath to part with either Soto or Robles in a Realmuto deal this offseason, and one would have to imagine that Soto, at least, has firmly entrenched himself as an untouchable young talent in the eyes of the D.C. front office. Robles, meanwhile, has played in only four games this year due to a hyperextended elbow, but the Nats have to be dreaming of a controllable outfield anchored by that pair of exciting potential stars beginning no later than 2019.

    Other clubs, too, seem likely to gauge the asking price on Realmuto as the trade deadline approaches. The Twins are without Jason Castro for the rest of the season following knee surgery, while more definitive contenders like the Rockies and Brewers have received little in the way of production from their backstops. The market will likely bear other options — Wilson Ramos chief among them — but barring another injury, Realmuto will inevitably be the prize of the trade market in terms of available catching talent. Of course, because the Marlins control him for another two seasons, they also have the luxury of holding onto him should no offers to their liking materialize. Realmuto’s trade value will scarcely diminish from July to November, and rival teams would again line up to express interest should the Marlins hang onto him and market him in the offseason.

    Latest On Jeremy Hellickson, Daniel Murphy https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-notes-nova-hellickson-murphy-kemp.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-notes-nova-hellickson-murphy-kemp.html#comments Wed, 06 Jun 2018 15:23:15 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124275
  • The Nationals placed righty Jeremy Hellickson on the 10-day DL with a hamstring strain, but indications are that it’s minor, as Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com reports on Twitter. It’s not even clear that the Nats will need to find a fill-in starter, as they won’t need an extra rotation piece for a decent stretch. The DL placement, then, will actually leave the team with some added roster flexibility for the time being. Of course, it’d be preferable if there wasn’t an injury issue at all. Hellickson has been a gem of a minor-league signing thus far for D.C., turning in 43 1/3 innings of 2.28 ERA ball over nine starts.
  • In a health matter of equal or greater significance for the NationalsMASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman covers the latest on second baseman Daniel Murphy. Though it seems he’s in solid form with the bat, Murphy is still not looking to be at full speed on his legs. For the Nats — and, particularly, their medical staff — there are some tough questions as to how to bring Murphy along. It seems uncertain at this point whether the club can really expect him to function as a full-fledged, regular second baseman this year, which could pose some rather complicated roster questions. The situation is also concerning for the 33-year-old Murphy, of course, who had seemed primed to hit the open market this winter as a high-end hitter.
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    Jeremy Hellickson Suffers Hamstring Strain https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-east-notes-marlins-hill-hellickson-swarzak-phillies.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-east-notes-marlins-hill-hellickson-swarzak-phillies.html#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2018 04:06:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124074
  • Jeremy Hellickson left during the first inning of today’s game due to a right hamstring strain.  MLB.com’s Jamal Collier was among those to report that Hellickson would undergo an MRI tomorrow to determine the extent of the injury.  Signed to a minor league deal last offseason, Hellickson has delivered tremendous results over his first 43 1/3 innings, posting a 2.28 ERA, 7.06 K/9 and 5.67 K/BB rate.  The Nationals don’t need a fifth starter until June 19 thanks to multiple off-days in the schedule, though Hellickson is hopeful of avoiding a DL stint since he noted that his current injury isn’t as painful as another hamstring strain he suffered a few years ago.
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    Daniel Murphy Remains "A Ways" Away From Returning https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/injury-notes-murphy-archer-t-frazier-graveman.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/injury-notes-murphy-archer-t-frazier-graveman.html#comments Sun, 03 Jun 2018 16:53:01 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123991 Unfortunately for the Nationals, second baseman Daniel Murphy doesn’t seem close to making his 2018 debut. Manager Dave Martinez told Jamal Collier of MLB.com and other reporters Sunday that Murphy remains “a ways” away from coming off the disabled list. What’s more, Murphy – who underwent microfracture surgery in his right knee last October – has not looked healthy during his Double-A rehab assignment, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post hears. A scout informed Janes that Murphy has been “gimpy,” “struggling to move laterally” and lacking “straight-ahead speed” during action this weekend. Not only is that bad news for the Nats, with whom Murphy starred from 2016-17, but also for the impending free agent. While Murphy did all he could to set himself up for another nice payday over the previous couple seasons, the 33-year-old is now amid a less-than-ideal platform campaign.

    Edwin Jackson Exercises Opt-Out Clause https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/edwin-jackson-exercises-opt-out-clause.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/edwin-jackson-exercises-opt-out-clause.html#comments Thu, 31 May 2018 23:52:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123761 Veteran righty Edwin Jackson has exercised his opt-out clause with the Nationals, per Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (via Twitter). He is expected to be released by the organization tomorrow.

    Jackson, 34, spent the 2012 season in D.C. and returned to D.C. last year to help fill a rotation void. He re-joined the club on a minors deal that deal would have paid him at a $1.5MM rate in the majors, with up to $1.4MM in incentives.

    Most opt-out provisions allow a player to decide whether to exercise the clause. If triggered, the team then has a period of time within which to decide whether to add the player to the MLB roster. In this case, it appears from the report that the team has already made up its mind to grant Jackson his release, though in theory the Nats could presumably decide to elevate him to the majors.

    Jackson certainly has produced solid results thus far at Triple-A Syracuse. Through ten starts, he owns a 3.40 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. Of course, there’s also no evidence of any particular changes that would allow Jackson to produce better numbers than he has of late in the majors. Since the start of the 2013 season, he has thrown 531 2/3 innings of 5.32 ERA ball at the game’s highest level.

    In any event, the Nationals are evidently disinclined to make a 40-man move in order to hang onto Jackson. There’s no room in the rotation at present, though presumably he could have been utilized in a relief capacity, as he has with some frequency in recent seasons. Jackson will head back onto the open market in hopes of finding a more promising path back to the big leagues.

    Nationals Notes: Murphy, Eaton, Zimmerman https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-donaldson-nats-f-vazquez-reddick-royals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-donaldson-nats-f-vazquez-reddick-royals.html#comments Mon, 28 May 2018 20:14:55 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123475
  • Asked Monday when Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy could make his season debut, manager Davey Martinez said, “I’m hoping it’ll be fairly soon” (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). The Nats will make sure running isn’t an issue for Murphy before activating him, given that the three-time All-Star underwent right knee surgery in the offseason. Just as Murphy’s progressing, so are fellow banged-up Nationals Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman. Both players took batting practice with their teammates Monday, Zuckerman relays. Eaton, who hasn’t played since April 8, is recovering from left ankle surgery. Zimmerman has been out since May 9 with a back injury, and his absence opened the door for veteran first baseman Mark Reynolds’ promotion to Washington. Reynolds has taken advantage of the opportunity, having slashed an otherworldly .406/.457/.906 with five home runs in just 35 plate appearances.
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    Injury Notes: Prado, Murphy/Goodwin, DeJong, Casilla, Trumbo, More https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-prado-murphygoodwin-casilla-trumbo-more.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-prado-murphygoodwin-casilla-trumbo-more.html#comments Sat, 26 May 2018 05:08:48 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123270 It seems that Marlins infielder Martin Prado has suffered a rather significant left hamstring injury, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The 34-year-old has endured a run of significant problems with his hamstring muscles in the past year or so. Details aren’t yet known, but it certainly sounds as if Prado will be sidelined for a lengthy stretch. He’s owed $13.5MM this year and $15MM for the 2019 campaign. The long-productive infielder has struggled to a .169/.221/.180 batting line in 95 plate appearances on the season.

    Here’s more on the injury front:

    • The Nationals finally got some promising injury news, as they’ll send both Daniel Murphy and Brian Goodwin on rehab assignments beginning tomorrow. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted the news with regard to the former; Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post tweeted manager Davey Martinez’s announcement on both players. Murphy has yet to appear in the 2018 campaign after offseason microfracture surgery, while Goodwin has been slow to return from a wrist injury.
    • It’s still unclear just how long the Cardinals will go without shortstop Paul DeJong, but he says he has been given a four-to-eight week estimate by the medical professionals, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. More than anything, it seems that broad range indicates that there’s not a lot of clarity at this point as to how long it’ll take to heal. All involved will obviously hope that it hues toward the earlier estimate, as the replacement options all have their warts as semi-regular shortstops.
    • It seems the Athletics will go without reliever Santiago Casilla for a stretch. He has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports (Twitter links). Details of his anticipated absence are not yet available, but it’s said to be likely that Casilla will end up on the DL. At the same time, he says he does not believe it’s a serious malady. The veteran entered play today with an ugly 14:13 K/BB ratio, but had allowed eight runs on only 11 hits in his 21 innings of action.
    • Though he seemingly avoided a more concerning fate, Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo will likely head to the DL to rest his ailing right knee, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com was among those to report (Twitter links). Trumbo was diagnosed with a fairly significant case of arthritis, which won’t necessarily put him on the shelf for long but also probably isn’t the best news for a defensively limited player who’s owed $12.5MM this year and $13.5MM next. He has been productive thus far in 2018, though, with a .309/.317/.469 slash through 82 plate appearances. On the other hand, it’s somewhat worrisome that he has managed only a pair of home runs and a single walk in that span.
    • In other AL East news … so long as there are no surprises in the interim, Nate Eovaldi will finally start for the Rays on Tuesday, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Yankees announced that reliever Tommy Kahnle is back from the DL, which represents a promising development given the uncertainty that surrounded him when he went on the shelf. And while the Blue Jays still aren’t planning on a near-term return from Troy Tulowitzki, skipper John Gibbons says the veteran shortstop is at least ready to begin running, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets.
    • While the Padres had hoped to welcome back catcher Austin Hedges in relatively short order, he’s now halting his rehab after his problematic right elbow flared up, as MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell writes. It still seems there’s little reason to fear that Hedges is dealing with a real structural problem, though surely it’s frustrating for the organization that he hasn’t yet fully turned the corner.
    • Meanwhile, the Angels provided an update on hurler Matt Shoemaker, though it mostly suggests ongoing uncertainty with regard to the root of his arm issues. As the club announced, and MLB.com’s Maria Guardado tweets, the latest examination “ruled out peripheral nerve involvement” but “showed mild edema in the forearm.” Shoemaker is also said to have undergone a bone scan. The results of that weren’t specifically cited, but it seems to suggest that the organization is looking at quite a lot of possibilities to figure out what’s really causing problems for the starter.
    Nationals To Select Justin Miller https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-to-select-justin-miller.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-to-select-justin-miller.html#comments Thu, 24 May 2018 21:00:29 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123167 The Nationals are set to select the contract of veteran right-handed reliever Justin Miller prior to tomorrow’s game against the Marlins, reports Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. As Janes recently reported, the 30-year-old Miller had a June 15 opt-out provision in his minor league contract. The Nats have a vacancy on their 40-man roster at present, so they’ll need only to clear a space on the 25-man roster, which they achieved by optioning right-hander Erick Fedde back to Syracuse.

    Miller enjoyed a solid season with the Rockies in 2015 (4.05 ERA, 38 strikeouts, 11 walks in 33 1/3 innings), but he has little Major League track record outside of that, owning a lifetime 4.99 ERA in 88 1/3 big league frames. That said, one would be hard pressed to suggest that the journeyman is anything less than wholly deserving a promotion to the Majors based on his utter dominance at the game’s top minor league level this season. In 13 2/3 innings with Syracuse, Miller is unscored upon and has turned in a ridiculous 23-to-3 K/BB ratio with a 45 percent grounder rate.

    [Related: Washington Nationals depth chart]

    Miller’s heater sat in the 93-94 mph range in his previous stints with the Rockies from 2015-16, though Janes notes that his velocity has trended up in the minors this season. And even if he’s struggled to prevent runs in the Majors to this point in his career, he’s never had much issue in the way of missing bats. Miller posted a 13.5 percent swinging-strike rate in that aforementioned 2015 season and carries a career 10.5 percent mark in that regard during his limited MLB time.

    The Nats are currently carrying a seven-man bullpen, so the arrival of Miller will push the team to an eight-deep relief corps. He’ll join closer Sean Doolittle and a bullpen unit that also consists of Brandon Kintzler, Shawn Kelley, Sammy Solis, Tim Collins, Trevor Gott and Wander Suero for the time being.

    Nationals, Josh Edgin Agree To Minor League Deal https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-sign-josh-edgin-minor-league.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-sign-josh-edgin-minor-league.html#comments Thu, 24 May 2018 02:05:51 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123126 The Nationals have agreed to a minor league deal with left-handed reliever Josh Edgin, as noted on MLB.com’s transactions log and as tweeted by the team’s Triple-A play-by-play announcer, Eric Gallanty. The longtime Mets reliever recently opted out of his minor league deal with the Orioles.

    Edgin, 31, missed the 2015 season and the bulk of the 2016 campaign due to Tommy John surgery, but his lengthy run in the Mets’ bullpen should make him a familiar face to most Nats fans. The southpaw held a relief role with the Mets from 2012-17 and has a career 3.49 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 and a 45.1 percent ground-ball rate in 129 big league innings.

    Last season, Edgin tossed a career-high 37 innings for the Mets and posted a 3.65 ERA that’s right in line with his career mark, though his strikeout and walk rates weren’t as sharp as they were prior to his surgery. In those 37 frames, he averaged just 6.6 K/9 against an elevated 4.4 BB/9 with an average fastball velocity of 91.3 mph, which checks in more than a full mile per hour south of his peak pre-surgery levels.

    The Nationals recently selected the contract of veteran lefty Tim Collins from Triple-A, giving them another southpaw option to pair with the heavily used Sammy Solis in the MLB bullpen but also leaving their Syracuse affiliate with an entirely right-handed relief corps. Edgin will give the Chiefs a much-needed lefty option and will give the Nats another depth piece to consider in the event of an injury to either Solis or Collins.

    Nationals Designate Carlos Torres, Recall Erick Fedde https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-designate-carlos-torres-recall-erick-fedde.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-designate-carlos-torres-recall-erick-fedde.html#comments Wed, 23 May 2018 16:59:49 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123081 The Nationals announced today that they have designated righty Carlos Torres for assignment. His active roster spot will go to prospect Erick Fedde, who was recalled to make a start today, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reported yesterday on Twitter.

    Torres, 35, helped the Nats through some bullpen injuries and carried a solid 9:3 K/BB ratio in his 9 2/3 innings. But he also allowed seven earned runs on nine hits, including three long balls, during his time in the D.C. relief corps.

    It seems that this’ll be only a one-outing opportunity for Fedde. He could be retained as a relief option, though perhaps the likelier scenario is that he’ll go back to Triple-A to stay stretched out in case there’s a need for something more than a spot starter.

    Fedde, a former first-round pick and top-100 prospect, did not turn in a compelling debut effort last year with the Nationals. But he has shown better thus far in 2018 at Syracuse, where he carries only a 4.35 ERA but more promising peripherals — 9.2 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 with a 50.4% groundball rate — through 41 1/3 innings.

    Nationals Sign Jaff Decker, Option Moises Sierra To Triple-A https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/minor-mlb-transactions-52218.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/minor-mlb-transactions-52218.html#comments Wed, 23 May 2018 01:23:44 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122964
  • The Nationals signed outfielder Jaff Decker to a minors contract, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (via Twitter).  The 30-year-old has appeared in each of the last five MLB seasons, posting a .510 OPS over 191 career plate appearances with the Padres, Pirates, Rays, and A’s.  Decker signed a minor league deal with Atlanta over the winter but was released earlier this month.
  • The Nationals announced that outfielder Moises Sierra has cleared waivers and been optioned back to Triple-A.  Sierra was designated for assignment earlier this week to clear roster space for the promotion of top prospect Juan Soto.  Appearing in his first MLB action since 2014, Sierra hit .167/.217/.404 over 60 PA for Washington this season.
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    Justin Miller Could Be Option For Nationals' Bullpen https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/east-notes-miller-britton-quinn.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/east-notes-miller-britton-quinn.html#comments Tue, 22 May 2018 05:48:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122925 The Nationals added lefty Tim Collins to the big league roster on Monday to step into the void left by Ryan Madson’s trip to the DL, but Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post writes that another Triple-A arm, veteran Justin Miller, could also emerge as an option in D.C. The former Rockies setup man has impressed to open the season, pitching 12 2/3 shutout innings with a 21-to-3 K/BB ratio and a 44.4 percent grounder rate. Miller’s minor league deal with the Nats has a June 15 opt-out provision, according to Janes, so the Nationals will need to make a call on him in the coming weeks. The 30-year-old Miller showed swing-and-miss stuff with the Rox in 2015-16 but struggled to strand runners and was plagued in 2016 by sub-par control and some home run troubles.

    Nationals Select Contract Of Tim Collins https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-select-contract-of-tim-collins.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-select-contract-of-tim-collins.html#comments Mon, 21 May 2018 17:27:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122915 The Nationals announced on Monday that they’ve selected the contract of left-handed reliever Tim Collins from Triple-A Syracuse. (Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post first reported that Collins was likely to be added following an injury to Ryan Madson.) In order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Collins, the Nats moved Howie Kendrick from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. Kendrick suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon over the weekend and will miss the remainder of the season.

    Collins’ promotion will be the culmination of a three-year journey back to the Majors after missing the 2015, 2016 and most of the 2017 seasons due to injury. Once a quality reliever in a dominant Royals bullpen that perhaps helped to kickstart baseball’s bullpen revolution, Collins hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2014 due to a pair of Tommy John surgeries.

    Still just 28 years of age, Collins will bring a career 3.54 ERA over the life of 211 big league innings to the Nationals’ bullpen. He’s had no trouble missing bats in his career, averaging 9.4 K/9 in parts of four seasons — highlighted by a career-best 12.0 mark in 2012. Control has been more of an issue for Collins, though, as he’s also averaged 5.2 walks per nine frames at the big league level. That number is skewed to an extent by a rookie campaign in which he averaged 6.5 free passes per nine, but even in Collins’ most effective seasons, he was averaging well north of four walks per nine innings pitched.

    Opposing lefties have batted .224/.328/.347 in 498 trips to the plate against Collins in his big league career, while right-handers have hit him at a .219/.341/.362 clip. His time in the Kansas City bullpen and on the Royals’ 60-day DL has left him with five-plus years of service, so Collins will qualify as a free agent if he proves capable of sticking in the Nationals’ bullpen through season’s end. He opened the season with 17 1/3 innings of 3.63 ERA ball and a 20-to-9 K/BB ratio in Syracuse.

    Details On The Nats' Interest In Jake Arrieta https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/heymans-latest-arrieta-cain-davis-rays-reds-morales.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/heymans-latest-arrieta-cain-davis-rays-reds-morales.html#comments Mon, 21 May 2018 01:25:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122872
  • The Nationals were linked to Jake Arrieta during the offseason, and Heyman reports that the team was interested in signing the righty to a contract similar to the three-year, $75MM deal Arrieta eventually got from the Phillies.  No offer was officially made, however, while GM Mike Rizzo had interest in adding Arrieta, ownership declined to make another big investment in a starting pitcher.  With Arrieta pitching well and the Phillies ahead of the Nats in the NL East standings, this non-signing could be an interesting what-if scenario for the future, though Washington’s rotation is already one of the best in baseball.

    • The Nationals were linked to Jake Arrieta during the offseason, and Heyman reports that the team was interested in signing the righty to a contract similar to the three-year, $75MM deal Arrieta eventually got from the Phillies.  No offer was officially made, however, while GM Mike Rizzo had interest in adding Arrieta, ownership declined to make another big investment in a starting pitcher.  With Arrieta pitching well and the Phillies ahead of the Nats in the NL East standings, this non-signing could be an interesting what-if scenario for the future, though Washington’s rotation is already one of the best in baseball.
    Nationals Place Ryan Madson On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-place-ryan-madson-on-10-day-dl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nationals-place-ryan-madson-on-10-day-dl.html#comments Sun, 20 May 2018 22:44:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122867 The Nationals announced that right-hander Ryan Madson has been placed on the 10-day DL with a pectoral muscle strain.  The placement is retroactive to May 17.  Nats manager Davey Martinez told reporters (including Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post) that Madson was feeling “a little bit better” after missing Saturday and Sunday’s games and the placement was “just to be safe,” so it’s possible the reliever could miss only a minimal amount of time.

    Madson has a 4.19 ERA over 19 1/3 innings this season, though ERA predictors (2.16 FIP, 3.67 xFIP, 3.42 SIERA) paint a more favorable view of his performance.  Madson has yet to allow a home run this season, and has owns a 9.3 K/9, 3.33 K/BB rate, and a 43.9% grounder rate.  Late-game situations have been a strength for the Nats this season, between Madson and Brandon Kintzler’s solid set-up work and Sean Doolittle’s spectacular early numbers.  As Janes notes, Tim Collins looks to be the likeliest candidate to be called up to fill Madson’s spot in the bullpen; while Madson isn’t truly replaceable, Collins at least provides the Nats with an extra left-hander.

    Madson’s absence represents yet another DL setback for the Nats, who are already without Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton, Howie Kendrick, Ryan Zimmerman, Joaquin Benoit, Matt Wieters, Koda Glover, Jhonatan Solano, Brian Goodwin, and Matt Grace.  (Anthony Rendon also missed significant time earlier this season.)  Despite this hard bite from the injury bug, the Nationals are still 24-21 and staying afloat in the crowded NL East and wild card races.

    Matt Wieters Undergoes Hamstring Surgery https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/matt-wieters-undergoes-hamstring-surgery.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/matt-wieters-undergoes-hamstring-surgery.html#comments Sun, 20 May 2018 15:44:25 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122560 SUNDAY: Wieters told Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com and other reporters on Sunday that his surgery was to remove a tendon. Wieters believes he could return within six to eight weeks.

    THURSDAY: Nationals catcher Matt Wieters has undergone surgery on his left hamstring, per a team announcement. Wieters had already gone on the DL, so no immediate roster moves will be required.

    The big question is what kind of rehabilitation timeline will be necessary. Further details are not yet available, but it certainly does not appear to be promising news for the veteran backstop, who had previously only been diagnosed with a strain. Clearly, this is not a typical hamstring injury that requires only rest and rehabilitation.

    Wieters, who is nearing his 32nd birthday, has not exactly overwhelmed since joining the Nationals in advance of the 2017 campaign. But he had been a useful player in the early going this year, reversing his struggles at the plate by carrying a .231/.342/.385 batting line with ten walks against a dozen strikeouts.

    Even if the Nats have cause to believe Wieters could return at some point during the current season, it now seems likelier than ever that an outside addition will be needed. Spencer Kieboom is currently backing up newly-minted starter Pedro Severino at the position for the time being. While both are considered defensively proficient, they’re also thin on MLB experience and neither has shown much hitting capability in the upper minors. Suspended youngster Raudy Read will be available again before too long, though the preference will likely be to get him back in the swing of things in the upper minors.

    For the Nationals, there’s also a longer-term need to consider. Wieters is earning $10.5MM this season before returning to the open market. While Severino ought to represent a reserve or platoon piece for some time, he does not profile as anything approaching an everyday backstop. Read perhaps offers greater upside with the bat, but is hardly a can’t-miss prospect.

    There are a variety of hypothetical options out there for the Nationals, who’ll likely find it difficult to make a substantial upgrade until closer to the trade deadline. Bringing in a player such as Miguel Montero, who opened the season in D.C., could help bridge the gap. And it’s conceivable the Nats could give Blake Swihart a crack, as MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted yesterday, though they’d have to believe more in his capabilities behind the dish than do the Red Sox. It also may just be that the Nationals will prefer to roll with what they have for a bit while seeking to boost the depth at Triple-A.

    Looking ahead a bit to the deadline, J.T. Realmuto remains the obvious prize, as we explored recently in a post. But he’ll be widely pursued and figures to cost a significant haul in prospect value. Old friend Wilson Ramos is among the potential rental assets the Nationals could consider, but he and others likely won’t hit the block unless and until the Rays and other organizations decide to pack it in for the season.