Wire Taps: Nationals Look To Rebound From Disappointing 2013 In New Year

Win McNamee

Still recovering from your New Year's Eve celebrations? Catch up on all the Washington Nationals news you may have missed in the last two days below. Nats links and more below with some NL East updates included. Just don't say anything "World Series or Bust"-ish, please!!

The Washington Nationals didn't make ESPN.com's Buster Olney's list of the Top 10 Defenses in the majors, but they landed eighth on Mr. Olney's list of the Top 10 Teams in baseball after earning an "Honorable Mention" on the list of the Top 10 Offenses and coming in 3rd on the list of the Top 10 Rotations. "If they can just stay healthy," seems to be the theme of most of the predictions out there for the 2014 Nationals. They weren't able to last season, but if they can this year, a return to the postseason has to be the goal for the Nats, though they seem to believe in jinxes and have gone out of their way to avoid saying anything "World Series of Bust"-ish thus far this winter as pitching coach Steve McCatty did during an appearance on the MLB Network last month when he said that as excited as he was, "We don't play this game on paper, so we'll wait and see how it goes. I'm going to keep my excitement back a little bit." No one wants to provide this year's headline-grabbing quote. When does Spring Training start again? Until then, links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!:

• "The Braves have suffered more losses (Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm) and so far have added only Gavin Floyd and Ryan Doumit." - "Where do the Washington Nationals rank in the crowded National League?" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• NATS BEAT:

• "At least at first base if LaRochce doesn't bounce back they have an in-house option that makes sense in Tyler Moore, either in a platoon with LaRoche or just as the next first baseman." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Here are a few things that Matt Williams should hope for in 2014..." - "Nationals Pastime: Changes in a new year" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "But it wasn't all bad; the Nationals had their share of good moments, too. Here is one final look back at the top five storylines of 2013." - "Jayson Werth, Jordan Zimmermann, Denard Span were highlights of Nationals' 2013 season" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Keep in mind the same Nationals, led by Mike Rizzo, have pulled off late offseason surprises in previous years. Just look at their recent history in the final weeks of winter..." - "Will the Nats make another late offseason surprise?" - Chase Hughes, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "The Nationals drew more than 2.6 million fans this year, more than any season since their first in Washington, more than their magical 2012 season." - "The 10 biggest Nationals stories of 2013" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "JORDAN ZIMMERMANN: If presented with a fair, long-term contract offer from the Nationals before Opening Day, sign the dotted line." - "Washington Nationals New Year’s resolutions for 2014" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Of the Nats' top four starters - Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Fister - who do you think is the most likely to win the NL Cy Young this season?" - "Nationals Pastime: Which Nats starter is most likely to win the Cy Young in 2014?" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "They were heavy favorites to make the postseason last year and never really challenged the Braves for the division title after Atlanta started strongly." - "The top 10 teams in the majors" - Buster Olney, ESPN

• "Will Stephen Strasburg be forever doomed to chase the Doc Gooden breakout everyone's been expecting?" - "NL Top Players: No. 18 Stephen Strasburg" - Dennis Lin, UTSanDiego.com

• "Since the end of the 2011 season, the Orioles have been in a dispute with the Washington Nationals about the rights fees owed to the Nationals for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network's telecasts of their games." - "The Sports Business Outlook For 2014" - Marty Conway, Monumental Sports

• "Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says Washington Nationals baseball owner Theodore Lerner has pitched him a fast ball and wants the city to build a retractable roof over Nationals Park." - "Cities pressured to subsidize sports stadiums" - William Reed, Florida Courier

• "2. Sports fans in the region will be agog when... (c) The Nationals win the pennant under energetic new manager Matt Williams." - "2014 predictions for the Washington region" - Robert McCartney, The Washington Post

• "On the flip side of the Pirates, the Washington Nationals entered the season picked by many to win the World Series after an outstanding 2012 regular season." - "MLB's best, worst of 2013: The Eye on Baseball Bloggies, Part II" - Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com

• NATSTOWN/MINORS:

• "Barrett also had good communications with director of player development Mark Scialabba and co-field coordinator Tony Beasley to help him in acclimating back into the organization." - "Barrett learns from his playing days, ready to teach rookies with GCL Nats" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "For some reason, it seems to me that Washington Nationals outfield prospect Brian Goodwin continues to fly a bit under the radar." - "Bernie Pleskoff: Speed is key for Nationals prospect Brian Goodwin" - Bernie Pleskoff, nationals.com: News

• "The 2013 season was another fantastic year at Nats Park. Some of my best memories of the summer are Nationals-inspired, including working events with contest ..." - "Nationals Buzz: Looking back at our favorite Nats memories through Instagram" - Olivia Witherite, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals Arm Race Best Stories for 2013; Happy New Year!" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "It may be a sign that I have to much time on my hands, but I decided to make a top 50 prospects list for the Washington Nationals, and post it with a brief scouting report on each player." - "Washington Nationals Top 50 Prospects: 1-10" - jeff550, Federal Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies: "Domonic Brown was easily the most pleasant surprise for the Phillies throughout 2013." - "Will Pitchers Catch Up to Domonic Brown?" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Marlins: "The Miami Marlins acquired a number of power-hitting players to surround Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup this season." - "Giancarlo Stanton's performance and lineup protection" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes

Mets: "From late May through September, no Mets starter was more consistent than Gee. Still, it's hard to imagine the team picking him over Colon or Niese." - "Inbox: What will New York Mets' Opening Day roster look like?" - Anthony DiComo, mets.com: News

Braves: "Uggla had only himself to blame for not pushing the issue and finding an immediate solution when he learned his vision was blurred during Spring Training in 2013." - "Atlanta Braves Inbox: Is B.J. Upton or Dan Uggla likely to bounce back?" - Mark Bowman, braves.com: News

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