Bryce Harper received his first Silver Slugger Award last night after next-level breakout campaign in the nation's capital. That was the big news of the last 24 hours in NatsTown. What else happened? Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talked about the roster makeup as the Hot Stove season gets going. Who leads off for the Nats right now, as the roster is currently constructed? Where will the Nationals find relief help? Is there a "real baseball deal" out there that will result in a trade of either Jonathan Papelbon or Drew Storen? Will Trea Turner get a for reals chance to compete for the starting job at shortstop in Spring Training? If not, who starts the season at short while the Turner's "development" continues?
WIll the Nats sell high on Yunel Escobar this winter? Anthony Rendon is still going back to third base according to what the Nationals said late this season and what Rizzo said yesterday. That's good news for everyone involved.
At some point today, Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann will reject their qualifying offers. Desmond wants to play for a World Series contender, as he told MLB Network Radio yesterday. Zimmermann has already received word of interest from both the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. (He's totally ending up a Cub, right?). Either way, it appears to be highly unlikely (by which we mean 'not going to happen') that either will take a 1-year/$15.8M deal, so it's just a matter of both officially declining the QO at some point today (before 5:00 PM).
Until then, catch up on the last 24 hours of Nationals news. Most, if not all of the questions from above (in the preceding paragraphs, not, you know, like "above") are answered, if not discussed, in today's links.
NATS BEAT: Harper's first Silver Slugger; Reliever Market + more
Harper wins Silver:
• "Bryce Harper added to his growing collection of hardware Thursday night, winning the first Silver Slugger Award of his career." - "Harper wins 1st career Silver Slugger Award" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Mid-Atlantic
• "To no one’s surprise, Bryce Harper’s list of postseason accolades grew by one Thursday evening when he added his first career Silver Slugger to his ever-lengthening list..." - "Bryce Harper wins first career Silver Slugger Award" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "Harper, one of three NL outfielders chosen (Pirates' Andrew McCutchen and Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez), was the lone Nationals honoree." - "Bryce Harper wins first NL Silver Slugger" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com
• "Bryce Harper blitzed through his breakthrough season on a record-breaking assault of pitchers. Tonight, Harper was recognized for his offensive campaign..." - "Nationals Pastime: Bryce Harper wins first Silver Slugger Award (with quotes)" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "'We are proud to see Bryce earn his first Silver Slugger award,' said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo." - "Bryce Harper wins NL outfield Silver Slugger" - Amanda Comak, Curly W Live
Relief market + Rizzo on the Nats' 2016 Roster ?s:
• "The Nationals’ No. 1 roster priority this winter is crystal clear: Improve a bullpen that was the club’s biggest weakness this season." - "Free-agent market for relievers is thin" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Tuesday during the General Managers Meetings, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said he hadn’t fielded any inquiries on Strasburg yet. But that can change quickly." - "Notes from the GM meetings: Stephen Strasburg’s trade potential, Nationals offense, and who will lead off?" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "What went wrong? Rizzo is uncomfortable with this question. He knows his answer will not come out right." - "Mike Rizzo has built strong foundation for '16" - Richard Justice, MLB.com
• "Next year’s class, barring contract extensions, would include Pittsburgh’s Mark Melancon, Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers, Arizona’s Brad Ziegler and Washington’s Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen." - "MLB Free Agency – Top Six Relievers – Darren O’Day and Tyler Clippard head the class" - Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post
• "'It’s important to put Rendon back to his most comfortable position of third base,' Rizzo said. 'We think he’s a really good third baseman.'" - "Looking at the Nationals’ plans for the 2016 infield" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
On the Nats' thoughts about the 2016 infield https://t.co/JcTKDJfTJX— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) November 12, 2015
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Offseason preview + MW speaks
• "The Nats have already resolved that issue by canning Matt Williams and replacing him with Dusty Baker. But there's still plenty of winter work left to do." - "2015 offseason preview: Washington Nationals" - Eddie Matz, SweetSpot - ESPN
• "In his first public comments since being fired by Washington, Williams once again looked ahead and not in the rear view mirror..." - "Matt Williams speaks for first time since being fired by Nats" - Dan Shiferaw, CSN Mid-Atlantic
As for managing in the future, #Dbacks Matt Williams says he is focused on his current role.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) November 12, 2015
"I believe in the sabermetrics that are out there. I also believe you have to be committed to it." -- #Dbacks Matt Williams— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) November 12, 2015
• Marlins: "No longer is Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon strictly a speedster. The 27-year-old is now a Silver Slugger." - "Marlins' Dee Gordon wins Silver Slugger Award" - Joe Frisaro, MLB.com
Thank you to the @Marlins for believing in me— Dee Gordon (@FlashGJr) November 13, 2015
• Metlins? Marlets?: "Don Mattingly lost a playoff series to the Mets this October and now, as the new Marlins manager, has to deal with them all season long in the National League East." - "Marlins manager Don Mattingly knows Mets will be a handful" - Anthony McCarron, Christian Red, NY Daily News
• Braves: "You wonder if the Braves will spin shortstop Erick Aybar before his Atlanta gear arrives. And what about 24-year-old Julio Teheran, who is coveted by the Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees and many other teams?" - "Andrelton Simmons a smart trade for Angels" - Phil Rogers, angels.com
A big Thank You to all the braves fans for all their support throughout these last couple of years.— Andrelton Simmons (@Andrelton) November 13, 2015
• Phillies: "So let’s review – last winter and mid-year, Amaro grabbed three interesting bullpen pieces out of nowhere..." - "2015 Phillies Report Card: Ruben Amaro Jr." - Brad Engler, Crashburn Alley