Interestingly, the NL East is abuzz — it’s just not the Nats or the Phillies making the moves, though retaliation certainly seems likely within the coming weeks. When do we declare the Hot Stove on?
Here’s the scoop from South Capitol:
The Braves arrived early in 2018. Now they’re swinging for the fences. (WaPo)
The Braves are continuing to dial up the pressure on the Nats, trying to storm further ahead with Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann — a former MVP and a Hall-of-Fame candidate, respectively. They may not even be done, with the ability to sign Craig Kimbrel or Bryce Harper still in their back pocket.
Will Nationals promote infield prospects soon? (MLB.com)
The Nationals probably won't sign any long-term contracts with middle infielders, but Carter Kieboom's debut in 2019 doesn't seem like a sure thing. As for Robinson Cano... well, throw hope out the window.
DJ LeMahieu drawing interest from three teams (MLB.com)
The Nationals have talked to DJ LeMahieu (who *owns* the Nats) a few times and are monitoring a few other names such as Lowrie and Harrison.
How NL East contenders will react to Braves (MLB.com)
"If the Nats had the financial room to reportedly offer Harper $300 million (though how much of that would have been deferred is anybody's guess), they can and should sign Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel to shore up the rotation beyond [Max] Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg."
Nationals sign former all-star Henderson Alvarez to minor league deal (WaPo)
"But when Alvarez was healthy, he was electric, with a fastball that topped out in the high 90s in his early years but averaged 92 mph with the Phillies two seasons ago. He couples that pitch with a strong slider and effective change-up, both of which once seemed likely to combine into a devastating arsenal. Now, he will try to make the Nationals out of spring training."
Nationals To Sign Henderson Alvarez (MLBTR)
Alvarez threw 120.2 innings in Mexico last year, good for a 3.58 ERA — but allowed 20 runs in Venezuelan winter ball over just 30.2 innings.
Are the Nationals good with Spencer Kieboom or Pedro Severino at backup catcher? (WaPo)
Kurt Suzuki's signing seemed to clear things up, until it very much didn't: if he is, in fact, a starter, it makes the backup position as murky as ever. If he is a really good backup, then the Nats have a ton of other questions to address. Either way, Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom look like they'll get another opportunity to step up. (And then there's Raudy Read...)
Washington Should Sign Zac Rosscup (NatsGM)
Rosscup pitched for Colorado and LA last season, putting up numbers that weren't impressive until you get rid of righties, making him a prime LOOGY candidate to replace Sammy Solis.
Blue Jays Vlad Jr. leads 2018 AFL Top 25 list (MLB.com)
"An advanced hitter for a 21-year-old, Kieboom repeatedly barrels balls, possesses 20-homer upside and led the AFL with 17 walks. He's also an underrated defender, capable of playing an average shortstop or a solid second base."