We spent an hour or so this morning once again shoveling the front walk and stairs and clearing the cars of an inch or two of fine, powdery, almost weightless snow at the FBB offices. Meanwhile, down in sunny Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, Washington Nationals' pitchers and catchers are trickling into town for the official start of the Nats' defense of their second NL East crown in the past three seasons.
The Nationals are just two days away from the start of Spring Training. We're at the point of handing out grades for what each major league team accomplished this winter.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark polled executives on the best and worst moves of the offseason and 15 people voted for the Nationals' signing of Max Scherzer (to a 7-year/$210M deal) as the Worst Free Agent signing with one voter telling him, "'It's ridiculous that they'll be paying him forever... But he's a great pitcher.'"
So what do you think? Was Max Scherzer one of the best or worst free-agent signings if the winter? 35 execs weigh in! http://t.co/TBOd1Orngv— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) February 17, 2015
The Scherzer deal also earned the most votes as the "Most Outrageous" contract of the winter.
The Nats' acquisition of Joe Ross and Trea Turner (PTBNL) received votes as one of the best trades of the winter, as did the A's acquisition of Tyler Clippard.
The Nationals' one-year deal with right-handed reliever Casey Janssen was voted one of the best one-year deals of the winter.
Former GM Jim Bowden gave the Nationals an "A-" grade for the winter when he released his own winter report cards this afternoon.
Final Off-Season Grades for all 30 Teams: http://t.co/JnAEfG6eGA— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) February 17, 2015
Here are the rest of the links we found from the last 24 hours of Nationals coverage on the internet...
Washington Post's Top 10 ST story lines countdown:
• "Harper is still learning the outfield, and will spend more time in right than he has yet in his career. Werth has been a right-fielder for much of his Nationals tenure..." - "Top 10 spring training story lines: Nos. 10-6" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "In an otherwise uplifting offseason, Nationals fans tempered enthusiasm by absorbing the loss of beloved Tyler Clippard..." - "Top 10 spring training story lines: Nos. 5-1" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
NatsInsider.com's Top ST storylines countdown:
• "But the Nationals do have some question marks as they gather in Viera, none of them bigger than the state of Jayson Werth’s right shoulder following offseason surgery." - "Nationals spring storyline No. 2: Jayson Werth’s shoulder rehab" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "On the pitching side, we look at Tanner Roark, who has been incredibly effective since making his MLB debut late in 2013 but now is uncertain of his role..." - "VIDEO: Looking at possible "X-Factors" on the Nationals" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
Biogenesis story finally ends?:
• "Anthony Bosch, owner of the Biogenesis clinic that supplied performance-enhancing drugs to some of baseball’s biggest names and to other athletes was sentenced to four years in federal prison Tuesday in Miami." - "Anthony Bosch sentenced to four years in prison for supplying PEDs to athletes" - Cindy Boren, The Washington Post
NATS BEAT: Bullpen and prospects from MASN, NRIs
• "Rizzo finished out January by signing free agent Casey Janssen, 33, who comes to Washington from Toronto, where he spent the first 10 years of his professional career..." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats positional preview: Bullpen" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Another prospect to watch is third baseman Drew Ward, who will likely play at high Single-A Potomac to start the 2015 season." - "Prospect updates: Bostick, Robles and Ward" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Below are six names of interest, either because of their ability to crack the opening day roster or their experience." - "Six Non-Roster Invitees Who Could Make Nationals' Roster" - Luke Jackson, Pressbox DC
With baseball about to begin in Florida, our Spring Training roster preview wraps up today with Non-Roster Invitees: http://t.co/3UwKC7UWIi— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 17, 2015
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Vegas odds; Meyer for Span revisited
• "It's no surprise to find the two World Series favorites, the Nationals and Dodgers, at the top of the MLB over/under win total betting list released on Monday by online sportsbook Bovada." - "Nationals and Dodgers top win total over/under betting list" - Israel Fehr, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports
• "When the Twins acquired Alex Meyer in exchange for Denard Span back in November of 2012, the move was widely hailed as a big win for Terry Ryan..." - "TwinsCentric: TD Top Prospects #5 Alex Meyer" - Nick Nelson, TwinsCentric, StarTribune.com
NL EAST UPDATES: Fish prospects; Kimbrel still in ATL; Philly talk; Mets' pen
• Phillies: "Sandberg, Bowa and Manuel talk Phillies' rebuild" - Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
• Mets: "The promises of playing into October — beyond the regular season — winning 89 games and even the idea that the World Series is a 'realistic,' possibility for this Mets team has taken hold in the minds of the core of young players." - "Mets bullpen arms agree: Ya gotta believe" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News
• Marlins: "Here is the working research list for Miami Marlins prospects." - "Miami Marlins preliminary prospect list" - John Sickels, Minor League Ball
• Braves: "When Braves pitchers and catchers report to spring training Friday, closer Craig Kimbrel will again be among them. I know this surprises a lot of you, right?" - "Kimbrel still a Brave; that’s a good thing, right?" - David O'Brien, AJC.com