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Wire Taps: Why didn’t NY and LA want Bryce Harper?; Nationals donate to furloughed workers; MASN shakeup

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before Mike Rizzo bolsters the relief corps, or the rotation, or some other part of the roster...

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DC Mayor Signs Financing Act For New Ballpark Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Vox’s Dara Lind, who normally writes about immigration, just about summed up this offseason in Washington a few days ago...

Anyhow, less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, believe it or not. Here’s what’s new in West Palm:

With $100,000 donation to food bank, Nationals again aim to help during shutdown (WaPo)
The Nationals gave $100k to the Capital Area Food Bank while encouraging others to follow their lead. No matter what side of the argument you stand on with either Bryce Harper or the shutdown, it's hard to argue against this move. (Unsurprisingly, Sean Doolittle is also involved.)

Dan Kolko and Bo Porter will replace Johnny Holliday, Ray Knight on MASN’s Nats broadcast (WaPo)
Kolko, after five years on the sideline, will cede his spot (and his relationship with the clubhouse) to Alex Chappell, replacing Johnny Holliday and Ray Knight alongside Bo Porter.

Bryce Harper: Why move to L.A. for MLB free agent quashed (USA Today)
"As for Harper? The Philadelphia Phillies still are the heavy favorite to land him. The Chicago White Sox have interest but have made no offer. And no other teams publicly are involved. Why, the Washington Nationals, who offered Harper a 10-year, deferred contract worth about $284 million at the season’s conclusion, may no longer be in play. Let everyone else spend the next few weeks worrying about where the two biggest free agent stars are heading. The Dodgers made their move."

Why aren’t the Mets interested in Bryce Harper or Manny Machado? (The Athletic - $)
Jeff Wilpon explained: the Mets want to fill holes and are hampered by, uh, Yoenis Cespedes, even though they're $40 million below the luxury tax.

The Mets almost certainly aren’t in on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado — but they should be (The Athletic - $)
"The increases in attendance and local TV ratings. The attention the Mets could divert from the Yankees. The competitive advantage either Harper or Machado would provide in the NL East, arguably making New York the favorite."

Dodgers sign A.J. Pollock, not Bryce Harper to bolster outfield (Sports Illustrated)
A.J. Pollock has been one of the more injured players in baseball over the last few years. He's striking out more and walking less. He's 31 — and sure, he cost $250 million less than Bryce would, but it's the Dodgers! What reason do they have to value Pollock over Harper?

How the Nationals are wading through Triple-A relocation to Fresno (NBCSW)
The Nationals, believe it or not, have been planning for something like this — and they even have the flight plans laid out. But it also means the team may be willing to leave their best prospects—think Kieboom–in Harrisburg for longer in the event of a call-up.

MLB rumors: How more utility players are killing player salaries (
PEDs are gone, and teams are happier to run with a piecemeal roster instead of slotting in the same guy in his mid-thirties every day who can't hit a fastball as well as a young gun — meaning that Brian Dozier, whose comps got around $30 million in 2013, only got $9 million. (And a similar comparison applies to the large contracts that "innings eaters" once got but have now lost in the era of bullpenning.)

Nationals Dream Foundation aids federal staff (
"‘We see it as a responsibility to help our fellow citizens, particularly in a time of acute need,’ Tal Alter, the chief executive officer of the Nationals Dream Foundation and Youth Baseball Academy, said in a statement."