May 28, 2016

Washington Nationals trade Drew Storen to Toronto for Ben Revere

The Washington Nationals have traded reliever Drew Storen to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere. The team issued a press release late Friday.

Revere, 28 in May, hit .306/.342/.377 with 31 steals in 38 attempts between Philadelphia and Toronto. In six MLB seasons, he’s a .295/.328/.348 hitter. He’s a competent fielder and as a left-handed hitter, will most likely start in centerfield, allowing Michael Taylor to be used as a super-sub and providing insurance against the inevitable seasonal trip to the D.L. for Jayson Werth. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals add utility infielder Stephen Drew to mix

According to multiple reports, the Washington Nationals signed utility infielder Stephen Drew to a one-year, $3 million deal, with $1.25 million available in incentives. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had it first.

Drew, a left-handed hitter, has experience at second, short and third and is a better fielder than recently signed second baseman Daniel Murphy.

With Murphy, Drew and Danny Espinosa all under contract, it seems there is no room on the roster for rookie Trea Turner to start the season on the roster, unless he beats out Espinosa at starting shortstop. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals agree to terms with Daniel Murphy

According to multiple reports, the Washington Nationals and free agent 2B/3B Daniel Murphy, formerly of the New York Mets, agreed to a three-year deal, terms undisclosed. The deal is pending a physical, according to the Washington Post.

Murphy, 31 on opening day, hit .281 with 14 home runs, 73 RIs and a .770 OPS in 130 games in 2015, and hit seven homers with 14 RIs in 14 playoff games for the Mets. He’s a lifetime .288/.331/.424 hitter. Murphy is the left-handed bat the Nats have been trying to acquire all winter.

There are two downsides, though.

One — Murphy is simply one of the worst fielding second basemen in the league, regardless of what metric one might want to use. He’s only marginally better at third base, but he doesn’t have the arm to play the position. Murphy does have some experience playing first base, and with Ryan Zimmerman’s health issues, Murphy’s flexibility might be his best defensive asset.

Two — The Nats have to forfeit their first round pick, No. 18 overall, in compensation for signing Murphy. The Nats will get compensatory picks, however, for losing  Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, but those picks come following the completion of the first round.

The Nats have been looking for infield help since the end of the season, when it was clear that Desmond would test free agency. They were linked to Ben Zobrist and Brandon Phillips, but Zobrist singed elsewhere and Phillips did not waive his 10/5 rights to accept a trade to D.C.

 Where Murphy slots into the batting order is a great question, especially since the Nats don’t really have a qualified contender for a traditional leadoff hitter, with Denard Span leaving via free agency. With the roster as it is, one can envision a batting order like this:

LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
CF Michael Taylor

I think the Nats would still like to add a left-handed hitting outfielder that could split time with Taylor and provide insurance against Werth getting hurt again. There’s still plenty of time between now and spring training for Mike Rizzo to address that, but at least it appears he got the infield help he’s been looking for all winter.

Washington Nationals Offseason: Trade in place for Brandon Phillips

According to multiple sources, the Washington Nationals have a trade in place with the Cincinnati Reds to acquire right-handed hitting 2B Brandon Phillips, in exchange for a package of minor leaguers, at least according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden.

Those minor league names have yet to be divulged at the time of this post, but by the time you read this, the deal might very well be consummated. According to Phillips’ confirmed Twitter account: [Read more…]

Washington Nationals moving to phase two of offseason plan?

Consider Phase Two of Mike Rizzo’s offseason plan for the Washington Nationals underway.

(via @NBCSports)

Obviously, repairing an abysmal bullpen was Phase One, and the club’s general manager has made several moves to upgrade that staff. By adding Trevor Gott, Shawn Kelley and Yusmiero Petit, the bullpen looks to be in better shape.

And while Washington is reportedly still looking to deal disgruntled closers Drew Storen and/or Jonathan Papelbon, Rizzo’s focus has recently turned to the outfield. More specifically, they are seeking a left-handed hitter with plenty of pop. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals upgrading bullpen at Winter Meetings

In 2015, the Washington Nationals’ most glaring weakness was their bullpen.

To put it bluntly, former manager Matt Williams simply couldn’t rely on it, but he was often put in a bind when the starting pitcher faltered. No matter the situation, every game was in doubt when it was put on the arm of a relief pitcher.

So this offseason, beefing up the bullpen has been a focal point in general manager Mike Rizzo’s plan. And in the past 48 hours, he’s made good on his word, signing two relievers and executing a trade for another. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Winter Meetings: Escobar sent to Angels; bullpen makeover

The Washington Nationals have played it quiet this offseason so far, notable for the ones that have gotten (or will get) away. Jordan Zimmermann was the first to go, signing a below-market contract with the Detroit Tigers even before the winter meetings. Ian Desmond, Denard Span and others will follow.

But the past few days have brought rumors of new bullpen pieces, and finally — some hard news!

The Nats have added some pretty significant pieces to the bullpen renovation: [Read more…]

Bryce Harper named National League MVP

After a stellar 2015 campaign, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been unanimously named the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals extend qualifying offers to Desmond, Zimmermann

Shortstop Ian Desmond returned to the lineup - New York Mets v. Washington Nationals, August 17, 2012.  (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

(Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The Washington Nationals began their player-focused portion of the offseason Friday, extending $15.8 million qualifying offers to shortstop Ian Desmond and starter Jordan Zimmermann, declining to make offers to center fielder Denard Span and starter Doug Fister.

Across the league, a record 20 potential free agents were tendered qualifying offers, including New York Mets playoff hero Daniel Murphy, former Nats starter Marco Estrada (Toronto) and the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke.

Players have until Nov. 13 to accept the offer. In the three previous offseasons of the current collective bargaining agreement, none of the 34 qualifying offers was taken as free agents sought contracts with longer terms. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals officially introduce Dusty Baker as manager

Dusty Baker was formally introduced on Thursday morning with great fanfare as the sixth manager in Washington Nationals history in a press conference at Nationals Park.

Baker, 66, was accompanied by the team’s general manager, Mike Rizzo. The overall mood of the day was one of humor and looking toward the future, with the affable Baker cracking a number of jokes and Rizzo saying that it must be a big day when the occasion calls for him to wear a tie. [Read more…]

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