The rumor mill has all sorts of deals involving the Washington Nationals!

Scherzer earned his 175th career win, Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

When Max Scherzer put his Potomac River mansion up for sale, there was an uneasiness among some in the Washington Nationals fan base who felt it was a sign that the 3-time Cy Young award winner was going to be traded. While there have been no credible reports of any trade, it is part of “anything is possible” given that Scherzer is in the final year of his 7-year $210 million deal with the Nats. If you read enough on social media, you will find those self-described insiders that will tell you that it is legitimate that Scherzer will be traded.  Continue reading

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Nats add Yasel Antuna to the 40-man roster on the same day that he was named the 4th best prospect by Baseball America!

Before today’s deadline to protect Rule-5 eligible players of which the Washington Nationals had many, they chose to add switch-hitting infielder Yasel Antuna and RHP Joan Adon to their 40-man roster which now is at 33-players with seven open slots. On October 30th, the team had already added RHP Steven Fuentes to the 40-man roster. They did not protect 20-year-old catcher Israel Pineda who we were told yesterday was almost certain to be added. Things change quickly as we know. Pineda was listed as the 14th best prospect in the Nats system by MLB Pipeline. This morning, Baseball America published their Top-10 prospects in the Nats system, and Antuna was Nº 4 on the list. Continue reading

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It’s that time again: Rule 5 draft protection deadline is upon us!

Austin Voth, protected ahead of the Rule 5 draft in 2016; Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

The non-tender deadline is looming, the baseball world is still awaiting word from on high as to teams’ minor league affiliates, and with the coronavirus pandemic raging now worse than ever, there’s no way to know for sure when baseball will resume in 2021 or what it will look like when it does.

Yet the offseason’s parade of notable dates marches on, and the next big item on the calendar is the Rule 5 draft protection deadline.

The Rule 5 draft won’t actually be held until December, but major league teams only have until this Friday to promote minor leaguers onto their roster so they are not eligible to be taken by another team. Continue reading

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Official: The Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate will be back in the eastern time zone in Rochester, NY

Trea Turner in Syracuse, New York in April 2015

When the music stopped in the 2018 carousel of musical chairs for Minor League affiliates, the Washington Nationals were without a chair for their Triple-A affiliate. Actually, they had no chairs, bench, or team bus. Their affiliation with Syracuse ended rather abruptly when the Chiefs struck a deal to be purchased by the New York Mets which simultaneously put the Nats affiliate in a homeless situation for months.

The Syracuse affiliation with the Nationals ran from 2008-2018 on the tombstone. While Nashville looked the most promising for a new affiliation, that did not happen nor did Round Rock. When the dust settled, the Nationals were stuck with the Fresno vacancy as their only option which placed that team 2,794 miles away and a logistical nightmare. Sure, the weather was better than Syracuse, but call-ups are best served when you can drive it within a reasonable amount of time when you have a moment of urgency for a call-up.  Continue reading

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Non-tender. What does that mean in baseball?

In another segment of dollars and sense, we discuss the arbitration decision deadline that is approaching at 8 pm ET on Wednesday, December 2nd. This occurs on the first business day of the month of December after December 1st. That is the time when teams will either tender a contract to an arbitration-eligible player or non-tender a player which means no contract is extended to the player who then is removed from the team’s 40-man roster and could become a free agent. If a player is tendered, the team then agrees to follow the arbitration route which is either a negotiated salary for the 2021 season or a decision to go to an arbitration hearing to determine the salary. Continue reading

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Point-Counterpoint on the #Nats off-season spending or the lack thereof!

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

We are joined by Richard W. of The Nats Report. We did this point-counterpoint from last week as we discuss off-season spending.

Steve: Thanks Richard for joining us. It did not take a genius to figure out in these difficult times in the “live entertainment” sector that MLB teams would be struggling to make money when so much revenue is dependent on fans in the stands. Unfortunately for our Washington Nationals, they are more dependent on fans in the stands than almost any team because they have the WORST media deal due to the MASN debacle and ongoing lawsuit and they have no stadium naming rights sponsor. With zero attendance in 2020 and a strict DC Government, the outlook is bleak for the first half of 2021 attendance for Nationals Park with the hope by July that most fans have been vaccinated.

With that said, a team like the Nats cannot depend on fan revenue in 2021 and as such will cut payroll. Yes, nobody wants to hear that. Don’t fret, the Nationals without spending a dime are the 7th highest in payroll spent if they do nothing. That is because they have nearly $90 million invested in the trio of Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Patrick Corbin. That’s where 55% of the Nats money is tied up right now.  Continue reading

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Could the Nats pivot to an infielder as their top acquisition?

Photo by Laura Peebles for TalkNats

Mum’s the word. There has been little chatter from general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez of the Washington Nationals this offseason. Our sourced intel has produced little as to the direction of acquisitions as the information is being held close to the vest. We have had to rely on actions more than anything through the few roster moves and coaching changes. The rest is based on our own analytics as to how to fill the holes. Continue reading

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Is there a ‘new’ Andrew Stevenson?

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

Personally, I absolutely love prospects. And in particular there are a couple of types of prospects who I consistently find myself gravitating toward. On the offensive side, some of my favorites are the prospects who are great defenders, with plus hit tools. I’m less concerned with power, and follow the philosophy that it’s easier for good hitters to develop power, than it is for power hitters to develop a hit tool. Continue reading

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Maybe the Robbie Ray signing was inline with the MLB.com rankings of free agent hurlers!

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

MLB.com re-ranked their starters in top free agent order within all of the free agents in their Top-25. This was the original list back in mid-October that we referenced in our article on October 21.

  1. Trevor Bauer
  2. Marcus Stroman Took the Q.O. from the Mets
  3. Masahiro Tanaka
  4. Taijuan Walker
  5. Mike Minor
  6. Robbie Ray Re-signed by the Blue Jays for $8 million
  7. Jake Odorizzi
  8. Jose Quintana
  9. James Paxton

Here is the revised list:

  1. Trevor Bauer
  2. Marcus Stroman
  3. Masahiro Tanaka
  4. James Paxton
  5. Taijuan Walker
  6. Charlie Morton
  7. Kevin Gausman
  8. Mike Minor
  9. Jake Odorizzi

They removed Robbie Ray and Jose Quintana from their top pitchers and oddly moved Paxton up to their 4th best free agent starting pitcher. Personally, I prefer the MLBTR free agent rankings better, and they won’t change this from their original. Why did MLB.com change their rankings? Supposedly it has to do with adding Charlie Morton whose option was rejected and that made him a free agent. They kept Stroman on their list while removing Ray.

My top picks from this list will stay consistent with Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman and Jake Odorizzi. Obviously Bauer is not coming to the Nats and Gausman was retained by the Giants with the Q.O. and that leaves just Odorizzi. While Paxton, Walker, and Morton are intriguing, Odorizzi should be 100 percent healthy for the start of Spring Training.

Currently, these are the remaining free agent starting pitchers and the list is fluid and can change with non-tenders, DFAs, retirements, and signings. Ages are in parentheses and alphabetized for ease of searching:

Brett Anderson (33)
Chase Anderson (33)
Chris Archer (32)
Jake Arrieta (35)
Homer Bailey (35)
Trevor Bauer (30)
Trevor Cahill (33)
Tyler Chatwood (31)
Anthony DeSclafani (31)
Robbie Erlin (30)
Mike Fiers (36)
Mike Foltynewicz (29)
Zack Godley (31)
Gio Gonzalez (35)
Cole Hamels (37)
J.A. Happ (38)
Felix Hernandez (35)
Rich Hill (41)
Corey Kluber (35)
Mike Leake (33)
Wade LeBlanc (36)
Jon Lester (37)
Tommy Milone (34)
Mike Minor (33)
Matt Moore (32)
Charlie Morton (37)
Jimmy Nelson (32)
Ivan Nova (34)
Jake Odorizzi (31)
James Paxton (32)
Martin Perez (30)
Rick Porcello (32)
Jose Quintana (32)
Garrett Richards (33)
Tyson Ross (34)
Jeff Samardzija (36)
Anibal Sanchez (37)
Matt Shoemaker (34)
Drew Smyly (32)
Masahiro Tanaka (32)
Julio Teheran (30)
Michael Wacha (29)
Adam Wainwright (39)
Taijuan Walker (28)
Alex Wood (30)
Jordan Zimmermann (35)

Keep in mind that there could be some non-tender pitchers to add to the current list of 46 free agent starting pitchers. That is almost exactly 1½ per team and some of them will be forced to go unsigned or take minor league offers. Here is the arbitration list from MLBTR and there are a few names like Steven Matz and Vince Velasquez who are not locks to be tendered. Matz’s odds to be retained on a $5 million deal got better when the Mets got new ownership, but personally I would non-tender him.

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The MVP was a serious snub when you consider the voter’s criteria!

Photo courtesy of Andrew Lang for TalkNats

The MVP voting criteria makes it clear that the myth of an MVP must play for a playoff team has perpetuated into reasoning for snubs. The ballot reads: “The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.” It never kept Mike Trout down — he has three MVPs, but it is selectively applied. Why wasn’t Juan Soto in the Top-3 of voting at the very least? There were three voters who put Soto in 2nd place in their ballots so there is that and those writers were all from NL East cities.  Continue reading

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