Though there wasn't too much going on in NatsTown on Tuesday (it's late January, what did you expect?), there were three stories in the news which caught our attention.
There is apparently another hurdle the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros will have to overcome if they are indeed going to build that new Spring Training home in Palm Beach County, FL, and it's going to take a change to a state law for it to happen.
Sun-Sentinel reporter Andy Reid wrote on Monday night that the proposed stadium's proximity to a canal which feeds into the lake that, "the city taps for its water supply" is an issue:
"Drinking water protections on the land in West Palm Beach targeted for a proposed $135 million stadium could stand in the way of building a new spring training home to be shared by the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros."
"Moving forward requires the Florida Legislature to shrink a protective zone along the M canal, which borders the southern end of the proposed stadium and community park," Reid writes, and it would have to shrink from 450 to 50 feet.
"County Administrator" Robert Weisman is quoted in the article saying that the change is, "... something that has to get done."
"'If it doesn't get approved by the Legislature,'" he tells Reid, "then I don't think the teams will go forward.'"
Read the whole story on the Nationals' proposed Spring Training home below:
State law change needed for Palm Beach County baseball stadium deal http://t.co/qRfttXwdZG— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) January 27, 2015
• "If the Astros and Nationals are going to get their long-awaited shared spring training complex in West Palm Beach, they're going to have to overcome a late-in-the-process hurdle." - "Nationals Buzz: Nats, Astros hope Florida legislature can clear hurdle for new spring training complex" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
The second of three Nats-related stories that caught out attention on Tuesday?
Nats' Defensive Coordinator and Advance Coach Mark Weidemaier's interview with Chris Graham of the Augusta Free Press.
In the article, Weidemaier talks about his path to his current job as a coach with the Nationals and shares his thoughts on defensive positioning in the majors today. Here's the quote we pulled for a Fanshot on the front page yesterday:
"'There’s so much more going on in the game now analytically with spray charts and shaded charts that show probabilities of where balls are hit. There’s an awful lot to look at. It’s still a game played by human beings, and once the first pitch is thrown, you have to make adjustments in-game, obviously. But I think the preparation in today’s game is obviously greater than it’s ever been.'"
Here's a link to the interview with Weidemaier:
Washington Nationals coach Mark Weidemaier talks his beginnings with Waynesboro Generals http://t.co/6xoSaOZSHk— ChrisGrahamAFP (@ChrisGrahamAFP) January 26, 2015
BTW: Speaking of defense, after he set the internet ablaze with his excerpted comments about potentially limiting/eliminating defensive shifts, new MLB Commisioner Rob Manfred clarified his comments in an MLB Network Radio interview on Tuesday:
Manfred: There are numbers that eliminating those shifts would not be particularly effective in terms of producing more offense #MLB— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 27, 2015
The third big story of the day on Tuesday is potentially Nats-related (we hope?):
Hours after Baseball America's Ben Badler wrote about the delay in getting Cuban-born, 19-year-old infielder Yoan Moncada "unblocked" so that he can sign with whatever MLB team is willing to pay the estimated $60-80M it's going to cost to lock him up, YahooSports.com's Jeff Passan reported that with recent changes in the United States' relationship with Cuba, "Moncada no longer needs a specific unblocking license to play baseball in the United States, paving the way for Major League Baseball teams to pursue him with a contract most expect to shatter bonus records."
Check out Passan's story below:
Breaking: Yoan Moncada free agency imminent after gov't source tells Y! Sports he no longer needs unblocking license: http://t.co/0FwluEcrmk— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 27, 2015
Are the Nationals going to spend big on a 19-year-old shortstop a few weeks after spending big on the top free agent starter on the market? We know from previous reports that the Nationals have looked at Moncada, and though they're not mentioned as potential suitors often, BA's Badler wrote previously that he could see Washington making a play for the young infielder. Will Mike Rizzo and co. make a big splash in the international market next?
Here are the rest of the Nats-related links we found from the last day +:
• "The scouting report on the switch-hitting Bloxom then was "a gap hitter with more power from the left side..." - "Longtime Nationals minor leaguer Justin Bloxom moves from scouted to scout" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
Story on former #Nationals minor league turned scout Justin Bloxom...with a functional link: http://t.co/nycYVlmO7j— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) January 27, 2015
• "Trust me, Mike Rizzo and others in the Nationals organization were asked several times about the possibility of a Scherzer pursuit over the course of the offseason..." - "Final thoughts on the Nationals’ signing of Max Scherzer" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "This year, the Nationals have a roster that is filled with contributors from the 2014 campaign, and seemingly very few spots are open and up for competition in spring training." - "Nationals Pastime: A couple of intriguing non-roster invitees" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "With Spring Training less than a month away, Washington is set to move trade acquisition Yunel Escobar from shortstop to second base, and longtime third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to first." - "Nationals preparing for new right side of infield" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com
With #SpringTraining less than a month away, @Nationals prepping new-look infield: http://t.co/lBOGCAqyPY pic.twitter.com/Rw4xKRGFiR— MLB (@MLB) January 28, 2015
• "Here’s a look at what they’ve accomplished so far this offseason, and five questions that remain before spring training." - "Nationals face five questions before heading to Florida next month" - Tom Schad, Washington Times
• "After months trying to find the right answer to plug his team’s only lineup hole (second base), Mike Rizzo settled on Escobar..." - "Nationals roster preview: Yunel Escobar" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
How about some Lucas Giolito stories?:
• "So what is reasonable for fans to expect from Giolito in 2015, and when could he be ready to make an impact at the big league level?" - "Nationals Pastime: What can realistically be expected of Giolito?" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
Giolito is ready to come out "guns a-blazing". More from one of the #Nats’ top prospects: http://t.co/mjukPDXYcU pic.twitter.com/LGpS98JbIs— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) January 26, 2015
• "Giolito has taken full advantage of his offseason and has recently started to ramp up his conditioning preparing for the 2015 season." - "Healthy Giolito will come out 'guns a-blazing' in 2015" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Scherzer's contract; Matt Williams/Bryce Harper Pointy Ball stories
• "Matt Williams likes stability, plotting out a course of action and sticking to it — convinced that's the best approach to realizing a goal." - "Matt Williams hoping to raise $1 million for charity at Super Bowl party" - Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY Sports
Check out how Matt Williams is giving so others can live a better life! Nominate your favorite charity in the... http://t.co/qTjlGxloFd— LivelyUpYourBreath (@livelyupbreath) January 28, 2015
• "Harper revealed in an Instagram post on Monday the latest perk he's received as one of the brightest and most recognizable young stars in pro sports." - "Bryce Harper has tickets to the Super Bowl" - Dillon Mullan, Comcast SportsNet Washington
• "The Washington Nationals deal with Max Scherzer to pay the pitcher $210 million over the next 14 years could ultimately play havoc with the MLB team’s finances." - "Scherzer's Contract Could Play Havoc With Nationals If They Lose To Orioles In Court" - Mike Ozanian, Forbes
• "First off, I personally think Scherzer is a solid fit in Washington, compared to other potential destinations." - "History suggests the Max Scherzer deal is unlikely to yield long-term success" - Tony Blengino, ESPN
NL EAST UPDATES: Fredi's mix-and-match lineups; Papelsuitors; Ichiro in MIA
• Marlins: "Ichiro, who will wear No. 51, becomes the first Japanese-born player in franchise history." - "Ichiro, Marlins finalize 1-year deal" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com
Ichiro is the first Japanese-born player to sign with the #Marlins. #WelcomeIchiro— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) January 28, 2015
• Phillies: "MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki says both teams are still talking to the Phillies about a potential deal. Rosenthal added today that the Jays’ interest is 'extremely limited'." - "Phillies Still Talking to the Brewers and Blue Jays about Jonathan Papelbon" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley
• Mets: "Parnell appeared in one game last season before injuring his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery." - "Parnell to throw bullpen in Feb., hopes to be 100 percent for "playoffs" - Metsblog
Happy birthday @Julio_Teheran! Alright fans, show the man some love! pic.twitter.com/5qnUIQ2Gnh— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) January 27, 2015
• Braves: "With three of the top four hitters from the 29th-lowest scoring offense traded away and just four position players returning from last season's Opening Day 25-man roster, Gonzalez says he's open to more lineup experimentation this upcoming season." - "Braves manager Gonzalez looking to experiment with lineups in 2015" - Zach Dillard, FOX Sports