Members of the Nationals' front office once again donated their time during the week of Thanksgiving to give back to the D.C. community.
Some staff members spent this past Monday putting together Thanksgiving meals at Food & Friends, an organization that provides home-delivered meals and nutrition counseling to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-changing illnesses in the Washington area.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Local bakery makes special cake for Scherzer
By Eric Chesterton |
The last thing most of us want the day after Thanksgiving is for a giant cake to appear. After eating to max capacity just the day before, a big pile of sweetness doesn't sound as appealing as it usually would.
That said, we've found one exception to that rule. Fredericksburg Cupcake in Northern Virginia created a cake that not only celebrates Max Scherzer's three Cy Young Awards, but looks delicious as well:
NEW YORK -- Former Major Leaguer Jose Vidro is one of the lucky ones. He will be spending Thanksgiving with his family in Puerto Rico. While grateful, Vidro can't help but think about what happened to his native land on Sept. 20.
Hurricane Maria plowed through Puerto Rico, killing hundreds of people and damaging -- even destroying -- many homes. Vidro never thought he would lose his life. It helped that there are no trees where he lives, with the wind blowing so hard. Vidro's house, which is on the west side of the island, suffered minimal damage, but he went weeks without electricity. His home is still without internet service.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and hosts a podcast, Newsmakers. He is also on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Ohtani likes to study Harper at the plate
By Matt Monagan |
Unless you're living in the Upside Down with a bunch of demogorgons, you've heard that Japanese two-way-playing phenom Shohei Ohtani has been cleared to come to the Major Leagues next season. A decision as to which team he signs with is likely to come before the end of the year.
After the General Managers Meetings last week in Orlando, Fla., and as the offseason continues to roll along, it's time for a Nationals Inbox to address some of your questions before the Thanksgiving holiday.
This week's Inbox focuses on Bryce Harper's status in Washington, the luxury tax and a reason to believe in Dave Martinez.
The pitcher who threw out the first pitch in Nationals history is making his debut on the Hall of Fame ballot this year.
The 2018 ballot was released on Monday afternoon by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and it featured Livan Hernandez, who spent seven years of his 17-year Major League career in the Nationals' organization.
In the early years of Larry Walker's inclusion on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, a writer who once covered Walker wrote about how much he enjoyed watching Walker's skills in action, but that he wasn't a Hall of Famer because he wasn't serious enough about the game.
A few years later, when the writer wanted to talk to Walker, he apologized for what he had written, but the damage had been done.
The Nationals added third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez and right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez to their 40-man roster before Monday's 8 p.m. ET deadline to protect players from being selected in December's Rule 5 Draft.
Some of the Nationals' most valued prospects were already moved to the 40-man roster over this past season, including Victor Robles, Erick Fedde and Andrew Stevenson. Earlier this month, the team also added reliever Wander Suero to its roster, which now stands at 37 players.
With the completion of the Arizona Fall League season on Saturday comes a run of "AFL in review" type stories. Last week, Mike Rosenbaum weighed in with 10 players who stood out to him during his time there. Later this week, Jim Callis will have an AFL top prospects list and MLBPipeline.com will also have an all-AFL team to peruse.
While those later stories will shine a deserving light on the top prospects around the league, every year there are players who might not be at the top of prospect lists, but who use the Fall League as a bit of a coming out party. These are players who can be considered breakout prospects, with the usual caveat about small sample sizes.
WASHINGTON -- Six cans of beer were waiting in his locker after that historic day at Nationals Park, one for each hit Anthony Rendon collected during a performance for the ages. He had never recalled having a day like that before. Perhaps he had hit three home runs in one game during high school, but never had he drove in that many runs.
On April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs, pacing the Nationals' offense in a 23-5 victory over the Mets. That record-setting day has earned Rendon the Esurance MLB Award for Best Performance.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The fall of Ronald Acuna concluded in appropriate fashion. The Arizona Fall League's best prospect and MVP led its best team to the championship Saturday afternoon, driving in four runs as the Peoria Javelinas defeated the Mesa Solar Sox, 8-2.
After the Braves outfielder lined out to third base in his first at-bat, he went down to get a breaking ball from Cubs right-hander Alec Mills and lined it into center field for a third-inning RBI single that tied the game 2-2. An inning later, Acuna fought off a high fastball from right-hander Jake Stinnett and dumping it into right-center for a two-run single that doubled Peoria's lead to 6-2. He later capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- It was hard for Max Scherzer to grasp the elite company he joined when he was named the 2017 National League Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday night on MLB Network.
Scherzer won the award for the second year in a row, capturing his third career Cy Young, putting him in an exclusive group with some of the all-time greats. The Nationals right-hander is one of 10 pitchers to win three Cy Youngs.
One of the best things about the Arizona Fall League is getting to see top prospects from around baseball compete with and against each other for an extended period of time. The Futures Game is a great event to start off the All-Star break, but it's just a one-game exhibition. The AFL provides the opportunity to see the top Minor Leaguers in action over a seven-week span, where evaluators and prospect writers alike can compare and contrast the top prospects in the game.
This year's Fall League has included one of the best head-to-head matchups of top prospects in recent memory, and the duo will face off one last time on Saturday when Peoria and Mesa square off in the AFL title game at 3 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg had his best career showing in the National League Cy Young Award voting, but he finished third behind teammate and winner Max Scherzer, finishing third behind him and Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw.
Strasburg had 81 points, including one second-place vote and 23 third-place votes, to finish behind Scherzer (201) and Kershaw (126). The results were announced on MLB Network on Wednesday night.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- As Bryce Harper enters the final year of his contract with the Nationals, his agent, Scott Boras, said he has not had any conversations with the team this offseason about a possible extension.
Asked whether he expected to do so this winter, Boras said, "That would be up to the Nationals."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
A typical day for Scherzer in 7 photos
By Andrew Mearns |
It was another dominant season on the mound for Max Scherzer in 2017. The Nationals' ace pitched 200 2/3 innings with a 2.51 ERA, making his fifth straight All-Star Game and leading the National League with 268 strikeouts and a 0.902 WHIP.
So, it was no surprise that for the second straight year, Scherzer took home NL Cy Young Award honors. He has now won the award three times in his remarkable career, a feat matched by just nine other pitchers.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Nationals finalized first-year manager Dave Martinez's coaching staff on Wednesday, officially naming Henry Blanco as their bullpen coach. Blanco will be the lone coach to join Martinez from the Cubs, with whom Martinez had served as the bench coach for the past three seasons.
Blanco had spent the past three seasons as the Cubs' quality assurance coach under manager Joe Maddon, and he brings with him some familiarity with Martinez.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Now that the Nationals have completed a managerial search and filled most of the coaching staff, they can shift their focus this offseason to filling out their roster. As the General Managers Meetings began Monday in Orlando, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo began the preliminary work for completing his agenda this offseason.
Washington returns most of its starting position players, the top four starters in the rotation and the back end of its bullpen after winning 97 games in 2017, the second most in franchise history. The Nats are also coming off back-to-back National League East titles the past two seasons and should be in position to control the division again. So this offseason will be about fine-tuning that roster to prepare for another run at the World Series championship that has eluded the Nationals.
WASHINGTON -- With the Major League Baseball offseason officially underway, the Hot Stove is heating up for the Nats. So to explore some of the biggest questions the team faces this offseason, it's time for a Nationals Inbox.
This week's edition takes a look at some potential needs, targets, and whether a franchise stalwart will return.
WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy has been honored once again for his consistent excellence at the plate during his two seasons in Washington, as he was named the winner of the 2017 National League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award on Thursday night on MLB Network. It is the second consecutive season Murphy has been named the best offensive second baseman in the Senior Circuit.
"I am honored and humbled to receive this award," Murphy said in a statement. "I am extremely proud to be considered among this group of talented players. To be recognized by opposing coaches and managers for the way I play the game is quite a compliment, and I'd like to thank my teammates, coaches, medical staff and support staff for their assistance in helping me achieve this award. I would also be remiss if I did not thank my family for their immense support: my wife, Tori, and our three beautiful children, Noah, Quinn and Drew. They are what drives me each and every day."
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have surrounded first-time manager Dave Martinez with a veteran coaching staff, most of which was revealed Thursday afternoon. Chip Hale was officially named the club's bench coach, joining a staff that will also include pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, first-base coach Tim Bogar and assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon.
These latest additions give the Nationals a staff with plenty of Major League experience, including some coaches with managerial tenures. The club also made previously reported moves, such as the return of third-base coach Bobby Henley and hiring of hitting coach Kevin Long, official, meaning only one spot -- a bullpen coach -- remains open.
WASHINGTON --Two Nationals players were recognized by their peers for their achievements during the 2017 season. Max Scherzer was the Players Choice for National League Outstanding Pitcher, while Ryan Zimmerman won the Players Choice Award for the NL's Comeback Player of the Year.
The honors were revealed Wednesday night as awards season across Major League Baseball continued for two players who could be honored several times in the coming days.
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon and Michael A. Taylor were the two players who stood out among the Nationals' defense in 2017, one stopping nearly everything at the hot corner and the other chasing down fly balls for seemingly improbable catches in center field.
Rendon and Taylor are being recognized among baseball's best defenders, as they both were named finalists for the Rawlings National League Gold Glove Award.
Brittany Bowyer is a graduate journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Nats could be wild card this Hot Stove season
Moving on from Werth, upgrading at catcher among offseason questions
WASHINGTON -- With most of their team intact for next season, the Nationals could be something of a wild card this offseason. They have few obvious weaknesses on their Major League roster, and they could decide to hunt for bargains and improve team depth. Or they could decide to make a big splash in free agency to help get their team over the hump.
Here is a look at where the Nats stand as free agency begins: