We understand, sort of, not really, that not everyone can spend their offseason waiting around for some news on the Washington Nationals to break, but it's getting close to Spring Training, so start paying attention. But if you find yourself wondering what you missed over the weekend, catch up below with what we like to call The Starting Nine. Nine topics/stories that will keep you in the know as far as what's going on with the nation's capital's Nats.
Over the weekend at Federal Baseball we started our countdown, in no particular order, of the Top 5 Storylines we expect to get coverage during Spring Training as the Nationals and new skipper Matt Williams set about turning the Nats into a contender. First up was the fifth spot in Washington's rotation? Which pitcher will emerge from the pack to claim the final starting spot at the start of the season? Up next, we looked at some of the health issues that might be of concern with three big players returning from surgery when they arrive at Space Coast Stadium. And what about second base? Will Danny Espinosa get the fair shot he's looking for and can he knock Anthony Rendon off the top of the depth chart at second, will he end up being the Nationals' utility man, or could he potentially be dealt? That's what we were doing this weekend, here's what everyone else covering the Nats was writing about over the last few days. And we'll include the Top 5 Stories from the last week on FBB below as well...
1. Get To Know Your Matt Williams via Adam Kilgore at the Washington Post:
• "Baseball had made him a star — he collected Gold Gloves at third base, made all-star teams and once threatened the single-season home run record." - "Matt Williams: Before the Washington Nationals, two jarring blows altered his path" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post
• "Outtakes from our profile on Matt Williams" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post
2. Mark Zuckerman at NatsInsider.com is counting down his own Top 5 Spring Storylines:
3. Bud Who? All What Game?:
• "Washington is a 'prime candidate' to host an all-star game, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said Friday." - "Bud Selig on the Nationals, an all-star game in Washington, and MASN" - James Wagner, Washington Post
4. It's Pronounced Row-Ark:
• "77. Tanner Roark, RHP, Nationals: He's on roughly equal footing with Taylor Jordan (No. 81 on this list) to challenge Ross Detwiler for the No. 5 spot in the Washington rotation." - "Baseball's 100 names you need to know: Nos. 76-100" - Paul White, USA TODAY Sports
5. Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter:
When you face problems in your lives, don’t resort to the use of force, try to employ dialogue to find a solution.— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) February 10, 2014
6. Gio Gonzalez's Offseason checklist: Play catch with Jorge Posada √ Catch big Fish √
7. Cooled On Oliver Perez?:
"*ÓLIVER PÉREZ es el único mexicano que se mantiene en la agencia libre, pero es cuestión de horas para que se anuncie su firma con un equipo de Grandes Ligas. Los Nationals de Washington habían mostrado interés en el zurdo entre noviembre y diciembre, aunque luego se enfrió la situación y terminaron firmando a Luis Ignacio Ayala para ligas menores con invitación al spring training. El contrato sería por un millón de dólares y otros 500 mil en bonos de alcanzar 60 apariciones." - "Zona de Contacto" - Fernando Ballesteros, El Reportero
"*Oliver Perez is the only Mexican-born player that remains in free agency, but a matter of hours for your signed with a major league team is announced. The Washington Nationals have expressed interest in left-hander between November and December, although then cooled and the situation ended up signing Luis Ignacio Ayala to minor league deal with invitation to spring training. would contract for a million dollars and 500 thousand in bonds to reach 60 appearances. "
• And here's the news on the Nats signing Ayala ICYMI:
• "If Ayala makes the team out of Spring Training, he will earn $1 million, plus incentives." - "Nats agree to Minor League deal with reliever Luis Ayala" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News
8. So looks like someone saw that Grantland article:
• "Selig on Friday declined to comment on the report to the Washington Post, saying only that 'a lot of my people are working on this.' The Nationals aren't commenting either." - "Reports: MLB might be paying off Nationals so they don't sue Orioles over MASN deal" - James Briggs, Baltimore Business Journal
9. Other Nationals Links:
• "[Isaac] Ballou (.328, 17 2B), the school’s leader in career triples, was a draft pick of the Washington Nationals." - "Column: This week, love is in the air — for baseball fans" - Gary Fauber, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV
• "Unlike predecessor Davey Johnson, Nationals manager Matt Williams hasn't made any bold predictions about going to the World Series this season." - "Washington Nationals counting on staff, improved defense this Spring Training" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News
• "Harrisburg should once again have a talented crew as one would expect, considering Double-A is normally the stopping point for an organization's best prospects." - "An early look at how Double-A Harrisburg's lineup shakes out" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Question and Answer time at the Hot Stove Dinner. pic.twitter.com/7JzRFjXGcJ— Harrisburg Senators (@HbgSenators) February 9, 2014
• "As the Nationals prepare to begin their 10th spring training at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla., there is still little clarity on their spring training future." - "Little clarity on Nationals’ spring training future" - James Wagner, Washington Post
• "Still, despite all that happened last season there are very high expectations around this Nationals team this season." - "Nationals Pastime: Expectations abound again" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Xavier Cedeno, Tyler Robertson and Sammy Solis are all options as a second left-hander in the bullpen behind Blevins, as is Ross Detwiler if he doesn't win the final spot in the Nats rotation." - "Nationals Pastime: What areas of the roster could still use some work?" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
- Nationals Rumors: Nats And Rays Talking About Catcher Jose Lobaton?
- Nationals Rumors: Nats Late Entrant In A.J. Burnett Market?
- Nationals Rumors: Plenty Of Interest In Nats' 2B Danny Espinosa
- Nationals Remain Interested In Free Agent Lefty Oliver Perez
- Nationals Top 5 Spring Training Storylines: Danny Espinosa vs Anthony Rendon