Your 2019 Washington Nationals team is almost complete!

Photo by Laura Peebles for TalkNats

For the Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, the $199 million he spent in salaries this off-season to acquire Kyle Barraclough, Trevor Rosenthal, Kurt Suzuki, Yan Gomes, Patrick Corbin, Matt Adams, Anibal Sanchez and Brian Dozier has pushed his payroll to $195 million before incentives and bonuses. For all intents and purposes, the payroll is tapped out except for a few million dollars which puts the team near the $206 million CBT cap. If there is any good news, the Nationals could start the season with what they have and piece together the fifth starters spot in the rotation. Last year, Rizzo acquired Jeremy Hellickson on a minor league deal just like he has done for this season with Henderson Alvarez and could do with other starters.  Continue reading

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In Appreciation of Max Scherzer on the 4-year anniversary of the day he signed with the #Nats

Photo by Lee Heiman for TalkNats

Max Scherzer should be the first player to enter the Hall of Fame with a Curly W on his cap on his plaque in Cooperstown. Let that sink in for a moment. When he signed with the Nationals on this day in 2015, he joined a loaded rotation that featured the likes of Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. He was the ace, coming off back-to-back years with an ERA under 3.20 and had won the AL Cy Young in 2013. He was supposed to be good. He was not supposed to be the best pitcher in baseball over the next four years. Continue reading

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The biggest story of the #Nats offseason is still Schrödinger’s Harper

Where is Bryce Harper going? (Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats)

Famed Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger devised a thought experiment to explain quantum mechanics back in 1935. Schrödinger posited a scenario, which (slightly simplified) goes like this: A cat is inside a box, and if a particular event happens inside the box, the cat will die. Otherwise, the cat lives. But there is no way for an outside observer to see inside the box during the experiment. (We assume, in this thought experiment, that the cat has access to an unlimited supply of food, water, oxygen, tummy rubs, and whatever else it needs to stay alive.)

Schrödinger’s goal was to demonstrate the absurdity of a competing theory of quantum mechanics. The cat can either be alive or dead. But while it is inside the box, engaged in this experiment, the observer must treat it as if it is both alive and dead.

Ultimately, Schrödinger fled the Nazi occupation of Austria and spent the rest of his career in Ireland. He died in 1961. But if Schrödinger had lived well into his 80s, and if he had come to North America instead of Ireland, he might have found work in a baseball front office in the era of free agency.

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Nats News & Notes: Payroll, Arbitration, Dozier, and Harper

There is certainly a lot going on with the Washington Nationals with the arbitration filing deadline yesterday at 1 p.m., and all of the machinations with the arbitration eligible players and the free agent situation.

PAYROLL

The Nationals payroll after the Brian Dozier acquisition and all of the arbitration moves will be approximately $10 million from the CBT cap of $206 million, but with bonuses and incentives the Nationals have about $3 million of buffer to either spend now or wait for the July 31 trade deadline -or- they can make a couple of moves like a creative extension of Ryan Zimmerman‘s contract and possibly a trade which makes things more complicated — but not outside the realm of possibilities.  Continue reading

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With Mike Rizzo’s ninth roster acquisition inking Brian Dozier, the budget is now max’d out!

MLB Network

The Washington Nationals have been spending money by the tens of millions, and on Thursday the Nats hit the cash register again signing another big free agent with Brian Dozier. The Nationals actually spent over $10 million on Thursday by inking Dozier and Joe Ross to one-year deals. Ahead of the arbitration filing deadline, the Nationals are at $196 million based on the CBT calculation. The Nationals still need to come to terms with Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Michael Taylor, and Kyle Barraclough who are all arbitration eligible. With both Joe Ross and Sammy Solis already settling on their 2019 salararies, general manager Mike Rizzo needs to come in below $28 million combined on the remaining four players to have some room under the $206 million CBT cap. Remember, that $196 million figure does not include bonuses or incentives, and Rizzo gave out some big incentive-laden contracts to both Trevor Rosenthal and Anibal Sanchez. Continue reading

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The #Nats add some oomph…with an asterisk…to the middle infield!

The Washington Nationals have been in need of a big bat in the middle of the order since Bryce Harper left to test the waters of free agency. They have also been in need of a second baseman to push Wilmer Difo to the bench and/or take the pressure off injured Howie Kendrick to rush back to the field.

On Thursday, according to multiple reports, the Nats agreed to terms on a one-year, $9 million deal for the services of Brian Dozier. Formerly of the Minnesota Twins and late of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dozier was the heaviest hitter on the free agent market at the position. But that comes with a caveat, as although just a couple of seasons removed from a monstrous 42-homer, 18-steal season (and just one removed from an only slightly less monstrous 34-homer, 16-steal season in which he also won a Gold Glove), Dozier is coming off the kind of year that impending free agents dread having. Continue reading

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The Wait for White Smoke

Connie Mack (2nd from left) and his colleagues would not recognize the modern process of Free Agency Shopping

It’s a safe bet that Curt Flood never envisioned this.  When the pathfinder of Free Agency launched his business-changing quest to abolish the onerous “Reserve Clause” the owners held all the cards.   Print media used to publish the sports transactions in a tiny box of print on the inside of the last page just below the horse racing results.  The Bryce Harper and Manny Machado spectacle we are witnessing for all the world might as well be the product of another solar system.  It is at once fascinating, comical, and grotesque.  Love may make the world go ‘round.  But, intrigue is the modern world’s life blood coursing through the arteries of the internet at the speed of light.  This free agency shopping freak show is made to order.

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Free agent starting pitching, middle infielders, and relief pitching #Nats

If teams are looking for pitching in free agency, the remaining pickings are slim past Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, and Adam Ottavino. There are some interesting bounceback candidates as well as some regression candidates, but there is usually one or two positive surprises every year. Finding those surprises can also be credited to analytics as well as some good fortune. Some would call it luck while others believe you make your own luck. Who will exceed expectations from the remaining free agents?  Continue reading

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There are only 36-days until #Nats Spring Training camp opens!

With the free agent market at nearly a standstill except for relievers, some teams might head to their Spring Training destinations with the roster they currently have. Others will make a few changes, and some other teams will do as they did last season and add free agents after Spring Training camp opens in February. With just 35 days until camps open on February 12th for some teams, there is not much time left for a market that seems to be waiting for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper to choose their new destinations which will allow other teams to spend their cash on other targets.  Continue reading

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The Montreal Expos — The decade of the 80’s

The Expos – The 80’s

When the 1979 season came around the Expos were about to enter their 11th season. Their high-water mark was 79 wins but there was a feeling in the air that the team was on the cusp of something very special. The outfield consisted of 3 young studs: Valentine, Dawson and Cromartie, we had Larry Parrish at 3rd and Gary Carter at catcher, the starting lineup was augmented by big red machine alum Tont Perez and veteran SS Chris Speier along with speedster Rodney Scott at 2nd. The starting rotation was: Rogers, Sanderson and Palmer along with veteran Bill Lee and Ross Grimsley. The pen was a veteran crew led by Elias Sosa, Stan Bahnsen and the old tobacco farmer Woody Fryman. Continue reading

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