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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ Victor Robles era; Max Scherzer having college number retired + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we wait for GM Mike Rizzo to make another offseason splash...

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

This is one of those cold winter days when we have to grab any links that even mention the Washington Nationals to fill out the post. There’s some Victor Robles love out there and there are a few mentions of Bryce Harper, who’s set to meet with the Philadelphia Phillies at home in Las Vegas over the weekend.

Also, Max Scherzer is having his number retired by the University of Missouri because no one should ever wear the number that he wore for the Tigers ever again! Ever! Read your links and stop bothering us now...

NATS BEAT:

Victor Robles is set for the chance he lost last season - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Spring training is five weeks away. Robles will enter his second stint on the big league side of things in Florida, but for the first time have a clear path to the Opening Day roster."

Local sports teams offering free tickets, reprieves during shutdown - (WTOP)
"The Washington Nationals are offering the chance for furloughed season plan holders to delay payment until the government reopens, while multiple schools around the area are giving federal government employees free tickets to various athletic events."

Fans' guide to spring training, Part 1: The complex - (MASN)
"If you’ve never been before, we hope this will provide some key information to help get you started. And if you have been before, perhaps there are some new bits of advice here you didn’t already know."

Chris Sale's slider voted nastiest pitch in MLB - (Yahoo!Sports)
"New Washington Nationals catcher Yan Gomes explained Sale’s angle helps with deception, and that it often looks like the pitch is coming from first base and then somehow ending up in the strike zone."

Astros are best team in 2019 according to Vegas - (Yahoo!Finance)
"[T]he St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays are projected to have more than 85 wins, but fewer than 90."

Rankings and predictions for every top remaining free agent - (ESPN)
"The Phillies and Nationals aren't desperate, but have been involved in prominent rumors for Keuchel (although balking at the five years)."

Bryce Harper Rumors: Phillies, Dodgers, White Sox, Nationals Seem To Be Top Contenders For MLB Star - (International Business Times)
"The Washington Nationals seem to still be in play to keep the superstar. Harper and Boras reportedly had a meeting at the California house of Nationals’ owner Ted Lerner that lasted a few hours on the Saturday before Christmas."

Missouri to retire MLB star Max Scherzer’s number on Jan. 18 - (The Kansas City Star)
"Max Scherzer is already one of Missouri’s most famous baseball alumni, as the Washington Nationals pitcher is considered one of the best in the major leagues. Now his number will never be worn by another Tigers player again."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Chris Sale's slider voted nastiest pitch in MLB - (Yahoo!Sports)
"New Washington Nationals catcher Yan Gomes explained Sale’s angle helps with deception, and that it often looks like the pitch is coming from first base and then somehow ending up in the strike zone."

Astros are best team in 2019 according to Vegas - (Yahoo!Finance)
"[T]he St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays are projected to have more than 85 wins, but fewer than 90."

Rankings and predictions for every top remaining free agent - (ESPN)
"The Phillies and Nationals aren't desperate, but have been involved in prominent rumors for [Dallas] Keuchel (although balking at the five years)."

Bryce Harper Rumors: Phillies, Dodgers, White Sox, Nationals Seem To Be Top Contenders For MLB Star - (International Business Times)
"The Washington Nationals seem to still be in play to keep the superstar. Harper and Boras reportedly had a meeting at the California house of Nationals’ owner Ted Lerner that lasted a few hours on the Saturday before Christmas."

Missouri to retire MLB star Max Scherzer’s number on Jan. 18 - (The Kansas City Star)
"Max Scherzer is already one of Missouri’s most famous baseball alumni, as the Washington Nationals pitcher is considered one of the best in the major leagues. Now his number will never be worn by another Tigers player again."

NATS MINORS:

2019 Prospect Projections: NL East rookies - (MiLB.com)
"Victor Robles is MLB.com's No. 4 overall prospect, with above-average to plus-plus grades for all five tools."

Potomac Nationals announce 2019 field staff - (Augusta Free Press)
"Manager Tripp Keister will return and lead the P-Nats for the sixth straight season, Luis Ordaz will come back as the hitting coach for the fourth consecutive season, while Sam Narron will serve as the pitching coach for the second season in a row."

Knorr named 11th manager in Fresno Grizzlies history - (hanfordsentinel.com)
"The Fresno Grizzlies and Washington Nationals, entering the first season of a Triple-A affiliation, have announced the Fresno field staff for 2019."

5 MLB Prospects Who Could Move Quickly In 2019 - (Baseball America)
"A year ago at this time, Juan Soto was just a couple of months past his 19th birthday and a veteran of 83 professional games, none of them above the South Atlantic League."