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Wire Taps: Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talks WAR; #StopTradingStras + Max Scherzer intro

The Washington Nationals introduced Max Scherzer to the nation's capital. Nats' GM Mike Rizzo was everywhere talking WAR. Scott Boras shot down the Stephen Strasburg rumor. All that and more. 24 hours of Nationals news, all in one place...

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo is talking WAR. And we think it's fWAR. Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier last week, when discussing Yunel Escobar's defensive metrics in 2014, that, "... all of our scouting reports and [internal] sabermetric evaluations" say Escobar is, "... more than capable of playing above-average defense at shortstop and at second base." Escobar's league-worst UZR and DRS from last season?

"The public defensive metrics are something that we take with a grain of salt," Rizzo said.

The Nationals use a combination of "the scout's eye and the analytics" in making their evaluations, the GM explained, and they're comfortable with what they think Escobar can do next season, after all, as Rizzo said in an MLB Network Radio interview with Mike Ferrin on Wednesday, we are talking about a player that was worth almost 4 WAR back in 2013:

According to Fangraphs, Escobar was worth +3.9 fWAR in 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays. had Escobar at +3.3 bWAR in 2013, so we assume Rizzo was referring to fWAR. He talked WAR again today in an appearance on the MLB Network's Hot Stove show.

Rizzo: Signs Scherzers, Talks WAR, [Points to Head]. What's not to like?

Speaking of Max Scherzer, it's time for some lunchtime reading...


• "We’re a decade into this having-baseball-back-in-the-District thing, and we somehow only now are getting a real handle on how Ted Lerner impacts the Nationals’ day-to-day decision-making." - "Nationals owner Ted Lerner saw opportunity in Max Scherzer — and owned it" - Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post

NATS BEAT: Welcome to D.C., Mr. Scherzer!

• "Twitter updates from news conference at Nats Park." - "Max Scherzer introduced as Washington National" - Matt Rennie, The Washington Post

• "The Nats newest pitcher had nothing but glowing reviews of Nats ownership and the team’s front office." - "Nats make it official: ‘Who wouldn’t want Max Scherzer?’" - JP Finlay, Nats Insider

• "A seven-year commitment to a 30-year-old pitcher? Rizzo said he felt like Scherzer was a young 30 with plenty of mileage left on his arm..." - "Nationals Pastime: Rizzo: With Scherzer deal, Nats have 'strengthened a strength'" - Pete Kerzel,

• "Scherzer was told by the Nationals he had to keep the agreement a secret. He called his wife and told his family, but otherwise kept it under wraps until reports leaked." - "How the record-setting, ‘unreal’ Scherzer contract came together" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "Scherzer has been on Rizzo’s radar since the Diamondbacks made him the 11th overall pick as a 21-year-old, and now he will be one of the faces of the Nationals at age 30." - "Nationals introduce Max Scherzer, the most expensive right-handed pitcher in the majors" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "As for this offseason, Scherzer said he didn't really spend much time worrying about where he'd end up signing." - "Nationals Pastime: Video: Scherzer discusses what brought him to D.C. (with Rizzo, Williams interviews)" - Dan Kolko,

• "Rizzo was serving as Arizona's vice president of scouting when the club made Scherzer the No. 11 overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Missouri." - "Big move reunites Scherzer with Rizzo, Williams" - Andrew Simon,

• "According to Scherzer, interest in signing him picked up in January, and the Nationals piqued his interest from the start." - "Max Scherzer: ‘I want to win, and that’s why I’m here’" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "Even Scherzer sounded surprised that he was one of the richest players in baseball." - "Winning culture led Scherzer to Nationals" - Bill Ladson,

Bryce Harper Minute: No.34 visits "Modern Family" set:

• "With only a few weeks left until Spring Training starts, Harper used his time to hang with the cast of 'Modern Family.'" - "What was Bryce Harper up to on Wednesday? Oh, you know, just hanging out with 'Modern Family'" -

And Now Back to Max:

• "At the end of the day, Max Scherzer says, it wasn't about the money. It was about winning. That's why Scherzer says he's now a Washington National." - "Ex-Tiger Max Scherzer introduced as Washington National: 'I want to win and that's why I'm here'" - James Schmehl,

• "Scherzer has been close to winning a World Series before in his time with the Detroit Tigers, and he really wants to get a ring." - "For Max Scherzer, choosing Nationals was about ‘winning’" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "Rizzo said that beyond Scherzer's stuff, the way the righty attacked hitters really stood out when he was on the mound. It was clear Scherzer hated to lose, Rizzo said." - "Nationals Pastime: Rizzo, Williams have a history with Scherzer" - Dan Kolko,

WERTH on Scherzer:

• "'When I signed here, I had those same aspirations,' Werth said after Scherzer’s press conference. 'But my decision to come here was probably more surprising than Max coming here.'" - "Jayson Werth on the Max Scherzer signing; he hopes rotation stays intact" - James Wagner, The Washington Post


• "'I spoke to Mike and the people when we signed Max, and they said that they have every intention of keeping this pitching staff intact,' Boras said." - "Stephen Strasburg wants to stay with the Nationals, agent Scott Boras say" - Tom Schad, Washington Times

• "Boras told the Washington Times that neither he nor Strasburg know where the idea that he wants to leave came from." - "Scott Boras denies that Nationals' Stephen Strasburg wants to be traded" -

• "Although they have not been linked to him, and Washington may be reluctant to deal any member of its starting rotation, Strasburg could make sense for the Marlins." - "Stephen Strasburg could be a fit with Marlins" - Scott Gelman, Fish Stripes

Scherzer contract stories:

• "The Nationals recent signing of Max Scherzer to a seven year, $210 million contract gives them a sixth starter and opens up the rest of their rotation to trade speculation." - "Cole Hamels Versus Stephen Strasburg: Comparing The Trade Values Of Two Aces" - Matthew Kory, Forbes

• "According to ESPN's trusty Stats & Info gurus, Scherzer is the seventh free-agent pitcher in history to agree to a deal of seven years or longer." - "Seven-year deals for pitchers ... big trouble" - Jayson Stark, ESPN

• "A significant roster makeover is almost inevitable – be it now, or after the Nationals make an all-in effort to win the 2015 World Series." - "Max Scherzer says Nationals deal 'made my jaw drop'" - Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY Sports

• "The contract also offers a fascinating insight into inflation and expectations for future inflation." - "The $210 Million Baseball Contract That Explains How Inflation Works" - Neil Irwin,

• "Boras said Scherzer’s $210 million contract is not only historic in terms of its size but noteworthy in structure." - "Can Max Scherzer’s contract be a model for other superstars thinking of Washington?" - Rick Maese, The Washington Post

So after signing Scherzer, what now?:

• "Williams says he is operating as if he will have all six starters – Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister and Tanner Roark – come April 6..." - "With Scherzer signed, what happens now to Nats’ rotation?" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "'With the acquisition of Max, the ownership has allowed us to do our business in the best way we can, as far as the baseball side goes,' Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said on Wednesday." - "Nationals expect to keep core intact" - Bill Ladson,

Non-Scherzer Nats News (Yes, there is some!):

• "[John] Manuel said when discussing [Reynaldo] Lopez with scouts and other Baseball America talent evaluators, they favorably compared the Dominican right-hander with Nats top prospect Giolito." - "Baseball America No. 4 Nats prospect: Reynaldo Lopez" - Byron Kerr,

• "The Nationals have signed right-hander Evan Meek to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league Spring Training." - "Nats sign veteran reliever Meek" - Bill Ladson,

• "The Rangers have Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, newly acquired Yovani Gallardo and we thought Ross Detwiler, whom the Rangers acquired in a trade last month, ready to start. Maddux said not so fast." - "Texas Rangers have spot open in starting rotation" - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas

• "Most of what McConnell helps the Nationals with you will rarely even notice." - "Viera resident helps coordinate Nationals spring games" - David Jones, Florida Today

NL EAST UPDATES: Phillies' clubhouse drama; Fish ready; Cuddy and Davey; Kelly J in ATL

Braves: "All of these worries were laid to rest on Wednesday afternoon, when the team announced that prodigal son Kelly Johnson was coming home to save the Braves season." - "Braves sign Kelly Johnson to minor league deal" - Harris Nye, Talking Chop

Phillies: "'I didn't think we had a good clubhouse last year,' Sandberg said bluntly last night, before the Phillies' 21st annual winter banquet in Lakewood, home of the organization's Low-A BlueClaws." - "Phillies dysphunction" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "While the Nationals won the division with a 17-game margin last season, they will be in trouble if they think they have enough talent to just mark time until October." - "Marlins built to give Nationals run for their money" - Phil Rogers,

Mets: "According to Cuddyer, he and Wright have been good friends since their days playing youth baseball in Virginia." - "Cuddyer looking forward to helping out David Wright" - Matthew Cerrone, Metsblog