Everyday there is Bryce Harper news. Every year after free agency starts, Scott Boras, the super agent, holds center court as the raconteur. Last year he spoke of a fictional neighborhood he called “Playoffville”, and yesterday, he got started on his Bryce Harper press tour wielding stats and talking smack on behalf of his client. On the other end of the hallway at the Omni Resort in Carlsbad, California was Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. For Boras and Rizzo, they are connected by common threads in Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, Trevor Rosenthal, Juan Soto and others, but you have to wonder if these negotiations on Bryce Harper will strain their relationship. Continue reading
Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats
As the General Manager’s Meetings get going today, there will be a lot of framework set in place for trades. This off-season, general manager Mike Rizzo made an early trade for Kyle Barraclough, and Rizzo might not be done. He could also be looking to trade away some veteran players like Tanner Roark, Michael Taylor, and Sammy Solis who are all arbitration eligible players. With all of the decisions to be made, the Nationals also have several players who are at key contract points with the team after next season. If Bryce Harper is reacquired, that could certainly signal some much different futures for several Nationals‘ players. Continue reading
On Thursday, we did our version first of “virtual armchair G.M.” leading up to the tease if it was possible for the Nationals to re-sign Bryce Harper while improving the starting rotation, catcher, and we followed that up with Part II of “armchair G.M.” and the numbers worked. The numbers are all backed up by free agent salary estimates from MLBTR and Jon Heyman. Continue reading
OK, you’re probably thinking: This is a Washington Nationals blog! Why are we talking about nine prospects from the Chicago Cubs, a team most of us actively dislike? Continue reading
On Thursday, we did our version of “virtual armchair G.M.” leading up to the tease if it was possible for the Nationals to re-sign Bryce Harper while improving the starting rotation, catcher, and even re-sign Daniel Murphy as the 2nd base/1st base hybrid. We also now have free agent salary estimates from MLBTR and Jon Heyman. The short answer is “yes” although there would need to be some additional moves to clear payroll space. Continue reading
The Fab Five: (Clockwise) Matthewson, Ruth, Wagner, Cobb, and Johnson
Professional baseball dates its origin to 1869. The game thereafter expanded in uncontrollable fashion. Various leagues and associations were formed. The dynamics of capitalism winnowed out losing ventures. By the early years of the 20th century things had settled, for the most part, into the two familiar leagues. In 1935 entrepreneurs in Cooperstown, NY formulated a business model to improve tourism. The Hall of Fame would honor the best players of the game while providing an attraction in the otherwise milquetoast town. It has certainly worked out well. The annual induction ceremony brings thousands to the area. The Hall itself does a brisk business. Continue reading
That photo above is the actual Nationals G.M. in an armchair which gives the perfect image of the “armchair G.M.” that we can turn into the “virtual armchair G.M.”, and we do it every off-season. The priorities for this team are clear, and — no — Bryce Harper is not a priority sitting in my armchair.
The Washington Nationals could start and outfield on Opening Day of Juan Soto LF, Victor Robles CF, and Adam Eaton in RF.
The infield could be set if Wilmer Difo is penciled in at 2nd base with Carter Kieboom available mid-season and a healthy Howie Kendrick available. If that is the case, the starting infield would be Anthony Rendon 3B, Trea Turner SS, Wilmer Difo 2B, and Ryan Zimmerman 1B to start the season. The Nationals now need a lefty bat to backup Ryan Zimmerman and we will discuss that below _____________.
The catcher position needs a 1A ____________. The Nationals now have a capable backup catcher with Spencer Kieboom.
The bullpen should be set with the acquisitions of Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal, and manager Dave Martinez should have at least a dozen relievers to choose from. The five relievers that look to be part of the seven man bullpen is Sean Doolittle, Rosenthal, Barraclough, Justin Miller, and Matt Grace.
The starting rotation needs help beyond Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg where they could acquire three new pitchers and trade/non-tender Tanner Roark so that could make for _________, __________, _________ in the three spots or they could stick with Roark and Joe Ross and spend more money on a top of the rotation pitcher. Continue reading
Heading to the bottom of the ninth, the Nats are up 6-1 over the Marlins, Max Scherzer has just thrown 110 pitches and Davey Martinez calls in a struggling reliever for mop-up duty. This move is greeted by a chorus of boos from Nats fans not happy enough with the win. They bet the “under” and thousands of dollars are riding on the next three outs. This scene could very well play out next summer as legalized sports betting is coming to Nats Park.
Legalized Sports Betting in DC
The deal for sports betting in DC is all but done. Last May, the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 and now the DC Council is reviewing the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 Bill 22-944 to allow casinos to offer betting on sports under licence from the DC Lottery. Noah Frank has a great article on the Sports Capitol site, What legal sports betting in DC might look like, where he writes that the interested parties are working to fast track the bill in order to get the betting windows opened at local sports venues including Nationals Park by next summer.
Already twice during the Natioanls’ off-season, they have been on “quick strike” to add to their bullpen. On October 10th, the Nationals added Kyle Barraclough to the bullpen via a trade, and today following that theme they made the first free agent signing of the official off-season. Usually general manager Mike Rizzo waits for the market to firm up during the Winter Meetings to start to make moves, and so far since the end of the season, Rizzo has not waited. Continue reading
For those starved for baseball, the MLB Network resumes live morning broadcasting daily with an off-season weekday morning Hot Stove show starting today at 9:00 A.M. ET. They will also air exclusively several awards shows throughout the month of November along with live baseball games including Juan Soto in the 2018 Japan All-Star Series Games televised from November 9-15th, and several Nats players highlighted by Carter Kieboom in the Arizona Fall League with his appearance in the Fall Star Game on November 3rd plus additional games on November 10 and 17. In December, MLB Network will have extensive coverage of the Winter Meetings live from Las Vegas. Continue reading