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Wire Taps: How will Washington Nationals respond to moves by NL East rivals? The culture in the Nats’ clubhouse + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before GM Mike Rizzo and Co. in the front office make their next move.

2019 World Series Game 7 - Washington Nationals v. Houston Astros Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

How will the Nationals and the rest of the NL East respond to the Braves signing lefty Cole Hamels and the Phillies signing Zack Wheeler? What’s going on with Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg’s free agent journeys? What is GM Mike Rizzo’s goal in putting together the roster for 2020 and beyond? Will the Nats be able to recreate the chemistry they were able to generate on the way to the World Series win this past season? We’ll find out...

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

The Nats want Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon, but keeping their culture is an even higher priority - (WaPost)
"If you think last season was riveting, and a constant illumination of people’s characters, then this off-season won’t be far behind."

If the Nationals don’t sign Anthony Rendon or Josh Donaldson, their options at third base are slim - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Rendon is rumored to be interested in a short-term, higher-salary deal, which could give the luxury-tax-weary Nationals pause about retaining him."

Sunset in Hagerstown? City, team fight for minor league survival - (WTOP)
"But for dozens of minor league teams this winter — including both the Suns and the Frederick Keys, a Baltimore Orioles affiliate — the hope and anticipation of the season to come has been replaced by anger and fear."

Rest of NL East now trying to unseat champion Nationals - (MASN)
"The National League East is a competitive division, if not always in the actual standings then at least in the mindset four of the five franchises take when trying to outdo each other."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Heat is on Nats, Mets to respond in NL East - (MLB.com)
"OK, Nationals, you’re on the clock. The Phillies and Braves just got better, and an entire sport is wondering how you’ll respond, because everything is connected to every other thing at this point in the offseason."

MLB Rumors: How NL East moves impact division - (Sports Illustrated)
"This should end up as a crucial offseason for the Nationals, fresh off their first World Series win. But it’s hard to tell just how much of their championship roster they’ll be able to retain."

Nationals Park home to 'world's largest Christmas light maze' - (Washington Business Journal)
"Crowds are headed back to Nationals Park just a couple months after celebrating a World Series title, thanks to the installation of Enchant D.C., an event billed as 'the world's largest Christmas light maze.'"

NL EAST UPDATES:

Joe Girardi receives honor, thrilled for Wheeler deal - (MLB.com)
"Coincidentally, the recognition from the IABF was the second big prize of the day for Girardi, whose Phillies reportedly agreed with starting pitcher Zack Wheeler that afternoon to a five-year, $118 million contract..."

Four things to know about Zack Wheeler’s departure from the Mets - (New York Daily News)
"The Mets attempted to make us forget that they neglected to make Zack Wheeler an offer by hijacking the news cycle with a colossal ownership announcement Wednesday."

Marlins moving in fences, changing from grass to synthetic surface - (MLB.com)
"Marlins Park will have a new playing surface and the ballpark should become more hitter friendly in 2020."

Leadoff: How the signing of Cole Hamels affects Braves' 2020 payroll - (AJC.com)
"Apparently, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei was serious a couple of weeks ago when he said the Braves would 'spend some money' this offseason."