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Wire Taps: Will Washington Nationals extend Mike Rizzo? Did you think it was going to say Bryce Harper there?

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While Bryce Harper’s future is going to dominate the baseball news in the nation’s capital (and nation-wide), the Washington Nationals have a big decision to make when it comes to their GM as well...

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Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

While Bryce Harper potentially hitting free agency next winter figures to be the big story (we all want to avoid) in 2018, there are plenty of other Nationals who will be free agents after this season.

USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale wrote yesterday that, “... this is likely the last year Bryce Harper wears a Nationals uniform before he departs for the greatest riches in baseball history,” and Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez could become free agents next winter as well, if not extended by Washington beforehand, but “... perhaps, most scary for the Nationals,” the reporter added, is the fact that this could, potentially, be the, “... last year with their architect, Mike Rizzo, president of baseball operations and general manager, still in office.”

Rizzo is set to become a free agent as well, if not extended before the end of next October.

“Mike’s contract will be addressed in the normal course of business as we have done in the past,” Nationals vice chairman and principal owner Mark Lerner told Nightengale, in “a written statement to USA TODAY Sports.”

Will the Nationals’ ownership group wait until the 2018 campaign is over to work out a new deal with their GM?

Rizzo, for his part, told Nightengale he was proud of what he and the Nationals have accomplished, though they haven’t yet reached their goal of bringing a World Series championship to the nation’s capital.

“it’s really unsung and under-appreciated,” Rizzo told the USA Today reporter of the success they have enjoyed.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished here. I like it here. I love the city. I love the team I put together. I like being a GM in the NL East. And I want to stay here. I just think I deserve to be treated like some of the best GMs in the game are, too.”

Will the Lerners, Nightengale asks, pay Rizzo like some of the other General Managers around the game and give him something close to the 5-year/$50M Theo Epstein got from the Cubs, or closer to the 5-year/$25M deal Brian Cashman has with the Yankees?

Padres’ GM AJ Preller got a three-year deal in San Diego, Nightengale notes, and Alex Anthopolous got a four-year deal from the Atlanta Braves.

If Rizzo’s going to stay in D.C. beyond 2018, the Nationals will likely have to land in that neighborhood. Will they get it done?

NATS BEAT:

Nats in position of strength as camp nears
"Building a bench was one of the items on the Nats' short list this offseason, and now their reserves are all but set."

If there's a trade to be made, Nats have outfielders to spare
"If there’s one position of depth in this organization, it’s the outfield."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Nationals' year of reckoning includes overlooked free agent: GM Mike Rizzo
"Rizzo has been the mastermind of the Nationals’ organization while operating under rather peculiar circumstances."

Palm Beach County Welcomes Baseball Fans With Spring Training And Culture
"Here are some of the experiences awaiting Astros and Nationals fans near the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach..."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves land 3 on top 10 lefty prospects list
"Three of the young starting pitchers -- Luiz Gohara, Kolby Allard and Max Fried -- acquired during this rebuild rank among baseball's top 10 left-handed prospects, per the rankings MLB Pipeline released Wednesday."

Say it ain't so — Jeter wants to tear down Marlins home run sculpture?
"Derek Jeter and Miami-Dade politicians feel increasingly compelled to rid Marlins Park of its funky home run sculpture, and I feel increasingly compelled to warn them all: You’ve reached my breaking point."

Mets cooling on potential infield trade target but options remain
"Unless Jay Bruce can play second or third base, the Mets still have a significant hole to address on their roster."

JD Hammer among Phillies' non-roster invitees
"'People have asked me to put on the skull and crossbones,' Hammer said last week at Citizens Bank Park, referring to Vaughn's glasses in the movie. 'But you've got to be a stud to have those.'"