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Wire Taps: It all comes down to 2018 for Nationals; Tanner Roark motivated; Wilmer Difo as a super-utility man

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While the hot stove continues to warm up, as it has for the last two months, enjoy some fresh Nationals links. On the house.

MLB: Washington Nationals-Workouts Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

The first Wire Taps of 2018! Which is an even year, which means that the Nats will win their division and flame out in the first round! Eventually, we have to stop designating that to even and odd years and just accept it as a fact of life.

Okay, here we go:

For the Nationals, everything hinges on 2018
By the end of the year, Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper, and perhaps most importantly, Mike Rizzo, could be out of Washngton. Needless to say, if the window to win a World Series--or even a playoff series--has an end date, 2018 wouldn't be a bad guess.

Wilmer Difo could be the next Josh Harrison
Wilmer Difo could be mediocre. But players that play infield well, and then can also handle their own in the outfield, are typically hot commodities. If they can hit, that is.

Why the Nationals’ trajectory could pivot in 2018
"Windows can be flung wide open with good player development. Even as they slide closed, they can be propped open with a big trade or acquisition."

Will new year inject some life into ice-cold free agent market?
"It’s not uncommon for front offices to take the final week of December off, but what is uncommon about this offseason is the lack of significant signings across the board."

What would cause the Nats to turn on Davey Martinez?
You can't lose Scherzer, the de facto lead of the clubhouse. Basically, don't be an idiot. Don't do what the fans would do. Don't do what they wouldn't do. There's a nice gray area for him to operate in from there.

Tanner Roark motivated after up-and-down 2017
"While Roark, 31, emphasized he had no issue with the decision to go to Strasburg, he acknowledged he was disappointed to not appear in the series at all."

Five questions the Nats must answer in 2018
Who will Dave Martinez be? Where will Bryce be come December? Rizzo? The Nats, come October 15th (the day the NLCS typically starts)?

Brayden Eaton: Apparently, extremely good at hockey
Adam Eaton's baby son (another is on the way!) has not shown the most affinity for baseball thus far, surprisingly. Instead, he's most adept with a stick and puck.

NL East Notes:

Here's what the Mets will be throwing come 2018
The starting rotation, if it stays healthy, and doesn't drastically underperform, looks pretty scary on paper.

Would Yelich be an upgrade for the Phillies?
The Phils have been linked to Yelich. But they would have to cut ties with a pretty decent outfielder to do so, and is Yelich an upgrade over the worst of what Philly already has?