Koda Glover switches to #30, Wieters takes his #32 plus the Grapefruit League #Nats Opening Day

The Grapefruit League opener for the Nationals is tomorrow in Port St. Lucie against the rival New York Mets and for now, your starting catcher is Derek Norris and your DH is Clint Robinson. We still don’t know when the roster move will be made to add Matt Wieters, but what appears significant is that Clint Robinson does not appear to be the DFA unless he already was waived and cleared the waiver wire and was already re-assigned.  Stand by on this! Watch for Matt Skole, Matt Grace and Rafael Martin to see if any locker was emptied. UPDATE: Jose Marmalejos goes on the 60 day DL to open up a roster spot for Matt Wieters.

Matt Wieters has a locker set-up in the Nationals new locker room and his jersey number is #32 which meant Koda Glover would need a new number and he took #30 since #34 was already Bryce Harper’s.  Glover realizes the pecking order, and gladly gave up the #32 to the All-Star veteran catcher. Continue reading

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Bryce Harper speaks and poses! 34/7/365 220 and 500 pounds

From Bryce Harper’s Instagram

Bryce Harper and the #BPE aka Trea Turner are roomies in Spring Training and Bryce posted up this 34/7 photo on his Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter. Besides posing for pictures, Bryce has been doing the Q&A rounds with the media. Here are some excerpts for you.

QUESTION: Saw your video of you deadlifting 500. Was that your personal best? Did you go beyond that? (Editors note: Get it right, it was 505 pounds.)

BRYCE: I had a great off-season. You know, I think being able to go in and do everything that I was able to do, be as healthy as I could, and just really, you know, work every single day. You know, that’s the thing you want to do during the off-season. And I was able to do that this year at Philippi’s (Philippi Sports Institute of Las Vegas) and, you know, had a great off-season and, you know, did everything I could to be ready to play this year, and I felt great.

QUESTION: What was your emphasis this off-season? Was it bulking up? What kind of things did you work on specifically?

BRYCE: Just tried to do everything I could to, you know, solidify myself and try to do everything I could to, you know, get ready. And, you know, if that was yoga or, you know, doing stuff I could with Philippi (Mark Philippi of Philippi Sports Institute) and, you know, doing certain things with cardio or you know, we did a great job this year and, you know, worked out with some great guys and had a lot of fun and, you know, enjoyed what we did, so I just got back to, you know, what I needed to do and tried to, you know, get strong, but stay lean as well and, you know, do everything I could to, you know, stay healthy and, you know, have some fun.

QUESTION: How does your physical state compare with, you know, how you felt before? Is this the strongest you’ve ever been?

BRYCE: I feel great. I mean, I feel really good. You know, I think I’m ready for this year and, you know, ready to, you know, hopefully stay on the field every single day. You know, that’s the key, you know, staying on the field and playing, you know, 155 to 160 games and, you know, that’s what I want to do. So I’m just doing everything I can to, you know, get ready and you know, still got six weeks down here, so stay on the same program I have been at home and, you know, hopefully play a few games down here and get ready and get back up to Nats Park and, you know, get ready for the year.

QUESTION (follow-up): Do you do yoga? You did some yoga?

BRYCE: Yeah, I always do. I always, you know, try to, you know, do some stuff during the week and every Tuesday night get going and you know, do some yoga during the week and, you know, just really, you know, have some fun doing that.

QUESTION: Bryce, how long after the postseason ends are you kind of over how it ended and move on from that?

BRYCE: I mean, after we lose, you know, day after. I mean, you can’t really change anything so, you know, Dodgers beat us and, you know, that was 2016, so you know, the day after, you’re going home, so you better get over it as quick as possible because they’re going on and they’re doing what they need to do to, you know, get better as a team, and that’s what we did.

So, you know, just trying to get by, get past it, you know, have some fun at home. Had a lot going on this off-season, of course, so, you know, had some fun with that and enjoyed that so yeah, I was over losing to the Dodgers the minute we lost, so it’s just part of the game, part of the process, and hopefully we can, you know, do some things different this year and get going.

QUESTION: How did your body feel at the end of the season?

BRYCE: It felt good. You know, felt great in the playoffs. Thought, you know, we had a great run at the end and, you know, I think you know, it just didn’t go our way. So just got to, you know, try to maintain this year and do everything we can as a team, as an organization. Got a great group of guys and excited to, you know, get going.

QUESTION: Bryce, you’ve always been a student of baseball swing. Did you study tape of yourself last year and did you find anything to explain any problems?

BRYCE: No, not really. I mean, I really just tried to maintain what I could this -and, you know, do everything I could to, you know, feel good and get better, you know, do everything I could to, you know, finish that process of, you know, December, January and February and, you know, I was able to maintain for three months and do everything I could to, you know, work out on the field and, you know, work out in the gym and just get ready like any normal off-season.

So, you know, I’m ready to go and feel great and, you know, get back in the cage again today and, you know, see where we’re at.

QUESTION: What do you think of your team’s moves this off-season and kind of what you guys getting Adam Eaton and other things?

BRYCE: Yeah, I’m excited for the move down to West Palm, to tell you the truth. That’s my biggest move I’m excited about. So excited to be down here, excited to, you know, get going in a new place with some great fields and, you know, cages and great weight room, finally, and a little pool over there, so hopefully do some cannonballs in there a couple of times on a hot day down here, so.

But, yeah. I mean, as a whole as a club, I think we did a great job. Of course everybody has wants and needs and stuff like that, but, you know, Rizzo does a great job. I mean, you’ve got to trust what Riz does and you know, he always puts a team out there that competes and gets going, so I think, you know, having the grinders that we do, if that’s Trea Turner or Rendon or, you know, Eaton, of course, you know, I think we’ve just got a great club. I mean, got the leaders of JDub and, you know, Zim and Murph, of course, and you know, we’ve got a great staff and, you know, we’re excited to go. I mean, it’s what we do as a team and all 25 guys and what we can do as a staff and, you know, I’m excited to be part of it.

 

QUESTION: You probably know Nats Park like the back of your hand, but how does having two fields that are identical help, do you think, down here?

BRYCE: Yeah, I mean, I just found that out yesterday, so I mean, that’s pretty cool. I mean, I don’t know how it’s going to help at all. I mean, you still got to hit the ball over the fence and, you know, do certain things. I mean, you know, you don’t have the crowd that, of course, you’re going to have at Nats Park, so a little bit different. But it’s pretty cool to have that, you know, definitely. You want to practice on those dimensions. Of course, the guys that are young, possibly in the minor leagues that are going to get called up this year, I think they’ll take full advantage of that and be able to see the dimensions and get a little feel for it and hopefully be ready to go when they get up there.

QUESTION: As you inch closer to free agency, how do you stay do you just stay focused on where you are right now? Do you find yourself looking ahead at all?

 

BRYCE: No. I mean, I think you know, we got the group of guys to win, and that’s our biggest goal here. You know, you want to win every single day and not look ahead, not look behind, and live in that moment, live in the day. So, you know, being a Washington National, I love it. I mean, I enjoy playing in the city of D.C., and I enjoy the fans, I enjoy the, you know, organization so much. Mr. and Mrs. Lerner gave me an opportunity when I was 17 years old to play major league baseball, and, you know, I remember Rizzo coming out and watching me play at CSN and, you know, him seeing me for the first time, him and Bob Boone.

So, you know, they gave me that opportunity and, you know, I’m going to play these, you know, next two years out and, beyond that, I really don’t care. You know, I just want to, you know, play these two years and have some fun and, hopefully, win and, you know, do everything we can for the city of D.C., bring that trophy back, hopefully, and you know, it’s a very monumental town, so if we can do some things, it will be a lot of fun.

QUESTION: And the other thing, this is just because I cover Syndergaard,  he made that comment (douche) to you on Instagram . Do you know what that was all about? Was that a joke? Was that for real? Do you know anything about that?

BRYCE: I don’t know. You know, Syndergaard does what he does and, you know, the Mets do what they do. So, you know, we’re going to worry about what we do in our clubhouse and do everything we can to win ball games and hopefully have a, you know, better record than any team in major league baseball. And you know, they’re a great talent over there. So, you know, we’re going to have some fun this year and, you know, hopefully enjoy what we do against them.

QUESTION: Did you watch the rest of the postseason last year, and any thoughts on what the Cubs were able to pull off?

BRYCE: It’s amazing, you know. I think, you know, something that, you know, they haven’t done in a long, long time. So it’s great for baseball and, you know, of course, you want to be the team to knock them out and stuff like that, but, I mean, just unbelievable for baseball. I mean, what a great series they had against Cleveland, Francona and Maddon battling it out, of course. I mean, it’s just a lot of fun. So you know, of course, I was watching Kris a lot and, you know, seeing what he was doing, so excited for him and excited for Vegas as a whole for, you know, all the talent we have there. So just exciting for baseball. But, you know, hopefully, we can do what we can this year and, you know, have some fun.

QUESTION: Do you feel like you know why your production last season was not what you would like it to be?

BRYCE: Yeah. I mean, I know exactly why, you know, but, you know, that’s all last year. You know, that’s, you know, what you go through. And you build and you grow and you try to maintain and, you know, that’s what I’m going to try to do again this year, you know, try to just maintain what I can and do everything I can possible to help this team win. And, you know, I stayed in the lineup last year and tried to help this team win every single day and, you know, that’s your goal every single day.

You know, Murph had an MVP season. You know, I was able to hit behind him all year long, and that was a lot of fun for me. You know, able to see that and see him perform and I mean, everybody asked, you know, what was your favorite thing last year? And it was watching Murph play, Murph and Trea and, you know, seeing them do what they did, and Murph coming out and doing what he did every single day, and Trea as well. You know, we’ve got two MVP caliber players in there, with Trea and, you know, Murph, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to hit behind them again this year, hopefully, or, you know, hit in front of Murph, maybe, you know, get a little protection by him.

So we’ll see. I mean, it’s fun to see, and, you know, I’m excited to, you know, be part of it and be part of a great club and, you know, hopefully win a championship.
 
QUESTION: A year ago you were the defending MVP. When does that feeling of being a defending MVP does it ever have an expiration date?

BRYCE: Yeah. I think right as, you know, 2016 starts, you know, or 2017 starts. So I mean, it’s, what have you done for me lately? Everybody knows that. Of course, you guys the media members know that better than anybody. So, you know, it’s always been that way, so always been that way my whole life, and going into every single tournament, you know, I did what I needed to do, and that next weekend it’s, what have you done for me lately? So I’ve always been that way, I’ve always done that and, you know, it’s just part of what we need and you know, I like that feeling of, you know, what have you done for me lately, in how we go about it that next day. I mean, if you’re 0 for 4 or 4 for 4, you know, you’re only as good as your last at bat and you know, so I guess ripping a single through the hole against Jansen, I guess I’m pretty dang good, so I’ll take it.

QUESTION: Hard to believe it’s been five full years for you, but you’ve done great things, rookie of the year, MVP, best that can be. But you’ve had a couple of years where you’ve had injuries, slumps. When you came into the game, did you think it would be, emotionally, this much of a roller coaster?

BRYCE: I think it’s more of an emotional roller coaster for you guys than it is me. You know, I enjoy what I do, so I’m 24 years old, living my dream every single day, and I enjoy what I do. I enjoy playing in the city of D.C., I enjoy going back home and enjoying my family in the off-season. You know, I was able to marry my beautiful bride this off-season as well, so everybody that said I was worried about baseball this off-season I could care less. You know, I think doing everything I could possible to enjoy my off-season and enjoy my family.

This was definitely one of the best off-seasons I’ve had in a long time, so I actually enjoyed this off-season a lot more than, you know, my MVP year, so, you know, it’s something that I enjoyed doing this off-season, and wouldn’t take anything back.

QUESTION: You’re pumped every year. It seems like you’re even more pumped this year.

BRYCE: I’m ready to go. I mean, I’m excited to, you know, be part of a great team. And, I mean, we’re in I mean, like I said, we’re a great team. We’ve got a lot of great guys on our club, and I’m excited for JDub’s last year, of course, with the Nats, and, you know, excited to, you know, hopefully, send him off into the sunset with a ring.

QUESTION: You said you came to a conclusion about what was different last year than the year before. What conclusion was that?

BRYCE: Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, there were some things that were different, of course, with the team and, you know, how we went about it, losing and things like that. But, you know, with the playoffs and stuff you never want to go into the playoffs and lose games, but, you know, hopefully, we can do everything we can this year to get back into that situation and have some fun and enjoy that and hopefully get a little bit farther and, you know, bring home a championship.

QUESTION: When did you figure out what to use your word, exactly what was wrong last year?

BRYCE: Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, just playing and doing everything the right way every single day, and staying in the lineup you know, you want to do that. So, you know, that’s what I did every single day; I stayed in the lineup, played – tried to play, you know, 150 games last year, and went in to Dusty and I wanted to play every single day. So I was able to do that and, you know, able to help this team hopefully perform and, you know, that’s what I’m going to do every single day this year.

QUESTION: Being an old married man what have your other teammates said about?

BRYCE: Yeah. I mean, I was, you know, very excited to, you know, have my teammates out with me and, you know, Mr. and Mrs. Lerner also came, so that was pretty unbelievable to see them there. But, I mean, it was just a lot of fun, you know, being able to, you know, see them there and see my teammates and see all my family and friends. I mean, it was just, you know, definitely a lot of fun and, you know, I enjoyed every single day. And I mean, it was a great off-season for me and a great off-season for my family and we had a lot of fun.

This video embedded below is where Bryce discusses Jayson Werth with WJLA’s sports anchor Erin Hawksworth who turned in some of the best video of the week.

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Washington Nationals: When will Wieters be officially added?

Nats fans were on Wieters watch as he took his physical yesterday afternoon, but as we wrote yesterday don’t expect the signing to be official until Thursday morning. Also we are being told by a source that while Mike Rizzo is fielding calls for potential trades, he probably will not have a trade completed Thursday morning which will cause the Nationals to make a roster move to make room on the 40-man roster via a player to be designated-for-assignment (DFA).

There is certainly a list of names of players who could be a DFA including players who are now long-shots to make the roster like Clint Robinson, Matt Skole, Rafael Martin, Matt Grace, and the list could include a surprise move. A 60-day DL move is allowed at this time of year under the new CBA to make room on the roster, but who has an injury?

Which player will get to wear #32 to start the season for the Washington Nationals? That jersey number is currently being occupied by Koda Glover. Someone will need to make a number change.

The catchers took live BP yesterday, and Derek Norris took the first strike he saw and hit it over the left field fence for a BP home run. Rumors are swirling that it will be Derek Norris who will be traded based on comments from Dusty Baker and maybe it will be, but maybe it won’t be.

FanGraphs has already updated their projections as lollygagger pointed out yesterday and Wieters is projected for about 95 starts and Norris for about 55 starts.

When looking at the catchers, you can see FanGraphs made some major revisions to their 1st base projections with Ryan Zimmerman. FanGraphs is now showing Zimmerman will make about 105 starts and Lind will make 45 starts.

Based on FanGraphs believing that the Nationals will platoon Wieters and Norris, they have also upgraded the Nationals to 91 wins in the NL East.

Wieters is projected to +1.4 WAR, and Norris was downgraded to +0.6 based on less playing time only. The catching tandem combined +2.0 (wins above replacement) still won’t replace the 2016 +3.5 fWAR from Wilson Ramos in the projections, but many believe that in reality a Wieters/Norris platoon could get close to that Ramos production as a platoon would keep each player fresh and accentuate the best of Norris who has punished left-handed pitchers in his career.

Stay tuned and we will update here.

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Commissioner Manfred, a man on a mission

Shots have been fired over the baseball landscape, with MLB commissioner Robert D. “Rob” Manfred Jr. standing on one side, and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark standing on the other. The issue? Manfred’s obsession with pace of play. Continue reading

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The Catchers have been the story in #Nats camp: Spencer Kieboom & Matt Wieters

Mondays are for rising up! Spencer Kieboom knows he must rise up on the field like he does in the kitchen where he can do it with a little dash of yeast. Spencer Kieboom knows his way around a kitchen and behind the plate but not around the laundry room according to Kieboom’s fiancé Christa. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Christa served as a baking assistant along with Spencer’s roommates John Simms and Spencer’s youngest brother Carter Kieboom. Continue reading

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Who didn’t expect this? Matt Wieters to the Nationals? Come on. Boras-Lerner-Rizzo-Yes.

Once Matt Wieters became an unrestricted free agent this off-season he was linked to the Washington Nationals mainly for the Boras connection as Matt Wieters agent is Scott Boras.

What was worrisome were Wieters’ statistics with the large drop-off in the second half of the 2016 season at a .227/.294/.399/.693 slash after a .728 OPS in the first half, but then factor in his road stats away from the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards where Wieters slugging (power) percentage dipped by 65 points, you have a recipe that might not work at all in Nationals Park. Continue reading

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Nats Blogs to Watch this Spring

The State of the Natosphere 2017:

This year the Nats reported to spring training on 2/14 but fans were not allowed on the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches grounds until Saturday which was February 18th, restricting coverage to the old school media sources, newspapers, television and radio stations. Leaving Talk Nats and other Nats blogs out in the cold (70 degrees today). So I started thinking that it would be nice if Laura and some of the other members of the Talk Nats team could get credentialed and provide additional coverage for the team. Continue reading

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Washington Nationals: Seen & Heard at Spring Training; Adam Eaton channels Mighty Mouse

A very exciting first weekend at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The best quotes seemed to come from the starting trio of outfielders.

What was learned about Adam Eaton is that he is a fan of Mighty Mouse which was a cartoon first appearing in “Mouse of Tomorrow” in 1942 when Adam’s grandparents were kids. Eaton was sporting his favorite Mighty Mouse t-shirt that his wife bought for him at the discount Nordstrom’s Rack. Continue reading

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Washington Nationals: Around the clubhouse; Hope Springs Eternal

When pitchers and catchers reported to the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, we were 123 days removed from the stinging loss of Game 5 and the third time the Nats failed to advance in postseason play. My twitter feed was filled with excitement from fans, the players, and the team. Why? Because, just like the infuriatingly Noah Syndergaard-centric MLB ad states, and TalkNats reminds us every year in Spring Training: hope springs eternal. Spring Training marks a fresh start. The slate is wiped clean, and last season’s lows are in the past. Continue reading

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Washington Nationals: Quotes from Dusty Baker and Daniel Murphy

That tweet by Jorge Castillo (above) regarding Dusty Baker‘s comment that Trea Turner will hit leadoff with Werth batting 2nd for the 2017 Washington Nationals led to nearly 100 comments on TalkNats.com and the TalkNats Twitter feed.

Based on the comments, there is a division between those who think Eaton should bat leadoff versus Trea Turner should leadoff, but outside of Ron Darling, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks Eaton would bat anywhere except 1st or 2nd in the batting order. Isn’t this why as Steve Mears wrote, “This is why Rizzo traded the farm for Adam Eaton.”

Jamey Carroll in an interview on TalkNats a few weeks ago compared the combination of Trea Turner and Adam Eaton atop of the line-up as wreakers of havoc reminiscent of Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo for the 2003 champion Marlins. Jack McKeon worked both players in the leadoff and 2nd in their line-up. The article can be found here. Continue reading

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