What with the flurry of rumors, it really feels like something will break soon. Also, the Mets are delusional again!
Here’s the scoop from South Capitol:
Nationals Mailbag: How long will Washington wait on Bryce Harper? (WaPo)
The Nationals, per Chelsea Janes and Jesse Dougherty, are treating the offseason like they should: they're aggressive and aren't worrying about Bryce all too much, but they remain on good terms with him in case the team decides to break the bank anyways. Also, they're interested in marquee starters, and the MASN debacle is still dragging on, somehow.
Washington Nationals: Throughout Chaotic Season, Anthony Rendon Shined (Baseball Essential)
"Hitting a career-best .308 to go along with 24 home runs, 92 RBIs, and 44 doubles (another career-high), Rendon was the Nationals' most consistent and reliable hitter in 2018. In the field, he was just as prolific. Committing just six errors (which was second in MLB among qualified third basemen), he was a vacuum at the corner infield position."
Will Nats' outfield defense be better if Harper moves on? (MASN)
Harper's numbers took a turn for the worse last year on the defensive front — and it's hard to believe that replacing him with Victor Robles or Michael A. Taylor wouldn't pay dividends at least in the outfield. In the meantime, the Nationals have pretty solid defense at every other position save first base.
How do the Nationals get better defensively in 2019? (MASN)
"There’s really no disputing this fact. Even though they boast an elite third baseman in Anthony Rendon, an above-average shortstop in Trea Turner, and really athletic center fielders in Michael A. Taylor and Victor Robles, the Nationals as a whole were not very good in the field this season."
2018 Non-Tender Decisions (Nationals Arm Race)
The biggest questions for the Nats lie in Tanner Roark, Sammy Solis, and Michael A. Taylor (the latter to the most minimal extent). Solis may be gone for good, but Roark presents an interesting case — a below-average pitcher who will be getting around $10 million dollars at age 32. But is he replaceable with... gulp... Jefry Rodriguez?
Bryce Harper: Former NL MVP could create a new big Reds machine (USA Today)
Imagine Harper back-to-back with Votto, hitting behind Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez. Imagine him playing 81 games in the bandbox in Cincinnati. Imagine the attention he would bring back to the Reds, and how close he would be to OSU.
Nats are targeting Corbin, Keuchel, like Grandal (Fancred)
Jon Heyman reports that Yasmani Grandal is a favorite in the front office, but the team likely doesn't have him in their plans — and the team wants another ace.
Superstar vs. 'Borderline Superstar': A Comparison of Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant Reveals Striking Similarities (Cubs Insider)
"A review of the two players’ career numbers show nearly identical results in wRC+, OPS, and wOBA. And by “nearly identical,” I mean completely identical except for a single point in wOBA. We’re talking about a minimum 2,471 plate appearances here too, so this isn’t some kind of random fluke.... while the Cubs aren’t really making a choice between Bryant and Harper, going with the former would be the right call if this was an either/or scenario."
New York Mets closing in on a deal for Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz (NY Post)
The Mets and Mariners have a deal in place to give the Mets the most dominant closer in baseball and Robinson Cano's huge contract.
AJC Exclusive: Changes coming to Braves' broadcast team (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
The Braves' chief TV analyst, Joe Simpson, has been relegated to radio for the most part, though the team swears it has nothing to do with the false Juan Soto claims.