Rule 5 and Non-Tender decisions coming up!

Tomorrow, the Rule 5 draft reserve lists must be submitted of unprotected players by 8pm EDT which also means Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo must decide which players to protect and not expose to the Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft allows players who have met the minimum eligibility requirements of tenure in the minor leagues to either be placed on the team’s 40-man roster or else get exposed to a Rule 5 draft where any team can take them — but there are rules that if another team drafts them then they must be put on the Major League team for the full season or returned.

The Nationals once drafted as a Rule 5 Jesus Flores, and he was a good find for the team. The actual Rule 5 draft happens on the last day of the Winter Meetings, and since 2011 the Nationals have not taken players rather they have lost several players. There is also the situation with Brian Broderick who failed miserably with the Nationals as a Rule 5 pick, and the Nationals returned him. Broderick along with Henry Rodriquez made up 2/7ths of Jim Riggleman‘s 2011 bullpen for the beginning of the season. Some Rule 5 players have limited experience and some have never made it past A-ball.  Continue reading

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The Arizona Fall Leagues ends on a walk-off; Carter Kieboom raised his stock!

Photo by Brian Smith for TalkNats

The Arizona Fall League ended with a walk-off home run in the championship game. It was a good showing by many prospects, and Carter Kieboom stepped up in the league as a Fall Star and in the championship game reaching base twice in four plate appearances showing his ability to get on-base. In the final stats, Kieboom was a stand-out this year in the league. He was seventh in on-base-percentage at .427 behind only Tyler Nevin, Ryan McKenna, Abraham Toro, Cole Tucker, Lucius Fox, and Daz Cameron, and he finished five spots ahead of the top prospect in baseball — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Continue reading

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The Padres are reportedly trying to trade for a starting pitcher. Could the #Nats engage with the Padres?

Stephen Strasburg (top left)  led the San Diego Sting into the 11-under nationals in 1999. 
(Photo by Vicky Polk)

From The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, he reports that the Padres remain interested in a trade for Noah Syndergaard. Would the Padres have interest in trading for San Diego’s Stephen Strasburg? For those who did not know, Strasburg was born in San Diego in 1988 and grew up in San Diego and went to San Diego State while playing at State for Tony Gwynn.

The Nationals have a $25 million tax number on Strasburg while owing him a large cash salary in 2019 of $38.33 million. Could the Nationals snag Francisco Mejia and another top prospect for Stras? The Nationals probably would not think of trading Strasburg who holds an opt-out after the 2019 season, but what if Strasburg was open to the idea of pitching in his hometown? Continue reading

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Will Mike Rizzo sign key players before the Winter Meetings?

Photo by Jeffery Salter

They say the early bird gets the worm, and in free agency last year, the players who signed early got some of the best deals. The free agency market was perhaps the worst it has been in recent history. It was so bad for unsigned free agents last off-season that the MLB Players Association set-up a training camp them at the IMG Academy in Florida. Will free agents take their chances or will they be pushing to sign early? If there was a direction to that answer, maybe it came from Trevor Rosenthal who was the first free agent to sign this off-season and it was Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo who inked him.  Would Rizzo sign other key free agents before the Winter Meetings next month in Las Vegas? Continue reading

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An Appreciation: The Natural

Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium, setting for The Natural

The nature of baseball itself has a dramatic effect on devotees.  The world has many digital-choice realities that dictate how we live.  For those in the Mid-Atlantic about half of the year is spent in short sleeves. The other is spent bundled in some fashion.  The lawn needs a weekly mow seemingly forever, and then it doesn’t for seemingly as long.  The list of polar opposites is long.  Baseball is no different.  The schedule is 27 weeks of 6 games per week.  With an average duration of 3 hours and 4 minutes per game viewing 162 games requires just shy of 500 hours.  Watching a game becomes a part of the evening ritual.  By the end of the season it becomes hard to remember an evening without baseball.  And, then it’s gone.  The huge void creates a bit of disorientation at first.  Daylight Savings Time goes away which compounds the insult.  After the “Hot Stove” talk on MLB TV ends at 8pm here comes the list of (mostly awful) baseball-related movies.  At least one is worthy of attention and a two-hour investment, however, the 1984 gem, “The Natural.”

Continue reading

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The NL East will look different in 2019

As we showed yesterday, several NL East standouts are now free agents. The NL East will look very different. Fangraphs has the Nationals ahead of the other NL East teams in combined WAR now. Of course that is prior to all the off-season moves, and then we play the games where WAR goes out the window and game results is all that matters. The Nationals had a pythagorean of 90 wins in 2018, but in actuality the team won only 82 games. The final tally on the team combined WAR for the 2018 season was at just under 40 which was well below the 47.1 they were projected at.  Continue reading

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Four of the five NL East teams believe they can win it all in 2019

2019 pre-season Fangraphs WAR projections

On Fangraphs initial projections for 2019 team WAR, they are only able to compute their numbers based on personnel on the 40-man roster. Some might think that the Braves who won the NL East are getting no respect, but they have some huge holes to fill in right field, the bullpen, and Fangraphs are no longer believers in Dansby Swanson and Julio Teheran while projecting regression for Mike Foltynewicz. The Braves star continues to shine with Freddie Freeman who turns 30 next year. Continue reading

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Veteran’s Day; QO deadline at 5PM; Rookie of Year awards show at 6PM

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

On this Veteran’s Day, we want to start this article with honoring all who have served and given us the ability to enjoy our freedoms. We are fortunate that the Washington Nationals honor veterans and patriotism at every home game which is a special and unique part of being a Nats fan. It never feels forced or fake.  Today is also the deadline for the players who received Qualifying Offers to accept them or reject them. Today at 6pm is the Rookie of the Year announcements. For Nationals fans, there will be no drama as to whether or not Bryce Harper will reject his Q.O., but there will be some drama as to who wins the NL Rookie of the Year award as Juan Soto posted the greatest teenage rookie season in baseball history. Continue reading

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Mike Rizzo said he needed a spectacular package to trade Bryce Harper. Did a team offer him a spectacular package?

Photo by Mitchell Layton for the Nationals; picture with Mike Rizzo (L), Scott Boras (C), Harper (R) and Bryce’s parents in the background in 2010

The kid is all grown up at 26 and is a free agent for the first time in his career. When he was 17-years-old, he was drafted in 2010 at #1 overall by the Washington Nationals. For Bryce Harper a.k.a.  “Baseball’s Chosen One” , he met those expectations in 2015 when he won the MVP award, but his stardom has not been as dominant since that MVP season. If you think of a baseball contract like a marriage, the end of it sometimes feels like a divorce. It is easier to say goodbye when the relationship is not going well — you know — like when Bryce was batting .209 back in June. Harper finished his season strong offensively, and is now officially a free agent. He is the talk of baseball.

The Nationals had a chance to trade Harper before the trade deadline and again when he was claimed by the Dodgers in August, and as we know it did not happen. Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo said many times that he would need a spectacular package to trade Harper. One person’s spectacular package is another’s unspectacular package as the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder — but two stories have broken this weekend about packages that Rizzo was supposedly offered.  Continue reading

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Sorry ladies, Trea Turner got married today!

Photo from Kristen Harabedian of the couple!

There is a strategy when you set your wedding date in advance as a Washington Nationals player. There are so many key dates to traverse like the World Series (just in case) in October then there is the G.M. Meetings and then there is the Winter Meetings and the Nats Winterfest. For Trea Turner and his fiancé Kristen Harabedian, they set their date back in 2017 for November 10th for a “grand” wedding in Washington, D.C. at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and is referred to as the “National Museum” which is the perfect venue for the Nationals Trea-sure to be married in a National museum. How special was it that the Florida kids got married in Washington, D.C. which is Trea’s second home during the baseball season and the couple got married while surrounded by family, friends, co-workers (Nationals players), and former teammates.  Continue reading

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