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Wire Taps: Nationals listening on Tanner Roark; LOOGY question; Victor Robles every day?

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we wait to see if they do anything else at the Winter Meetings...

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

So, the Winter Meetings are in full swing and the biggest name to move has been... Andrew McCutchen? What sort of blockbuster winter is this, anyway?

Here’s what’s new in Vegas:

Harper and Machado are in no rush, but trade rumors abound at MLB’s winter meetings (WaPo)
Unsurprisingly, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are waiting for the market to develop further—and perhaps for each other—before they begin to choose their next team. In the meantime, the Phillies got Andrew McCutchen and names like Rick Porcello, Yasiel Puig, and Alex Verdugo are flying around.

Would the Nationals really trade starter Tanner Roark? They’re open to it. (WaPo)
This is not a move the Nationals need to make—Roark's $10 million won't make or break the team—but the league has detected that the Nats have something of a glut of starting pitching, so they talked about a few deals. It won't really make sense unless the Nats get another starter, though.

Do the Nationals need to add a matchup lefty to their bullpen? (WaPo)
Other than Andrew Miller, the market isn't exactly ripe with lefties — though Matt Grace may be the team's long-term plan in the LOOGY department.

Could defense up the middle make up for loss of Harper's power bat? - Nationals Pastime
"One of the easiest ways to improve the defense is an old baseball cliché: strength up the middle. When your catcher, middle infielders and center fielder possess plus defensive skills, a team’s pitchers are generally rewarded handsomely (and a good-fielding pitcher only adds more to the mix). Catchers can frame pitches to steal strikes and shut down the opposition’s running game. Shortstops and second basemen gobble up ground balls, turning hits into outs, and slick-fielding tandems start double plays, a pitcher’s best friend."

Orioles expected to name Cubs coach Brandon Hyde new manager (Yahoo!)
Nationals bench coach Chip Hale had been mentioned in the process.

Nationals are receiving calls about Tanner Roark (NBC Sports Washington)
Also, Michael A. Taylor is playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic to fix his swing.

Nationals talking about trading Tanner Roark (
"I think we would certainly want to reinforce our rotation," Rizzo said Tuesday afternoon at the Winter Meetings. "We're always talking about depth, and to eliminate a pitcher like Roark, we would certainly like to strengthen that strength, if we were to make a deal for him."

Nationals want to be more athletic next season (
The Nationals are younger and more athletic — and they're expecting to get what they lose from Bryce Harper back in all sorts of places, from the rotation to Victor Robles and Yan Gomes.

Patrick Corbin's contract is insanely backloaded, but that's S.O.P. for the Nationals (NBC Sports Washington)
Patrick Corbin is going to make $12.5 million next year, and a mere $35 million in 2024 — which is pretty normal for the Nats, but it's going to start adding up soon.

Martinez thinks Robles is ready to play every day (MASN)
Victor Robles hit .288 while he was up in September last year, and after two cups of coffee at the big-league level, he may just be ready to join Juan Soto in the outfield — at least, that's what Davey thinks.

Dave Martinez reiterates door remains open for Bryce Harper (NBC Sports Washington)
It was Martinez day at the Winter Meetings, and while he talked about winning one-run games and improving fielding, the most attention went to his comments on Bryce, when he said the "door isn't closed."

What to make of Tanner Roark trade speculation (MASN)
Though Roark had a nice midseason adjustment during which he pitched to a 1.61 ERA over seven starts, his numbers have been entirely inconsistent and would justify a move if the Nats were sold on Joe Ross or Erick Fedde. Except they aren't — so this is probably just a normal Winter Meetings rumbling.

Do Nats need to restrict Ross and Fedde's workloads in 2019? (MASN)
Ross may have a leg up on Fedde, but given that both are coming off of relatively major injuries, it may be a competition to stay healthy and consistent.