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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ Spring storylines; Carter Kieboom, Luis Garcia invited to camp; Bryce Harper unfollows Capitals

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before pitchers and catchers report to West Palm Beach for the start of Spring Training...

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. Welcome to Spring Training. Can we stop talking about Bryce Harper now?

(Apparently not.)

Here’s what’s new in West Palm:

As spring training opens, the Nationals have built a team, and Bryce Harper isn’t on one - (WaPost)
"The Nats’ 10-year, $300-million offer to Harper is the only real offer we know of. But here’s the thing: It doesn’t exist anymore."

Top prospects Carter Kieboom, Luis Garcia lead Nationals’ spring training non-roster invitees (WaPo)
Kieboom and Garcia will likely spend most of their time at second in an effort to see which young middle infielder will pair with Trea Turner in the future.

2019 Spring Training Thoughts (Nationals Prospects)
It's not quite as exciting of a Spring Training as in years past: we've already seen Juan Soto, Victor Robles looks like he has a job in the majors, and Bryce Harper doesn't seem all too intent on signing.

Kieboom, Garcia invited to Nats' spring camp (MLB.com)
Kieboom is the highest ranked prospect on the list not named Victor Robles — but Aaron Barrett, Henderson Alvarez, and Wil Crowe will all make the trek to West Palm as well.

30 MLB acquisitions who could pay off big (MLB.com)
Brian Dozier was nowhere near the marquee signing for the Nats this winter — but if he reverts to his mean of 4.5 WAR a year, the Nationals' lineup will become that much more deadly.

MLB patch to mark 150 years of pro baseball (MLB.com)
Uniform news! It's a horizontal patch with sans-serif font in the bold colors of... red and blue.

Three roster battles to watch during Nationals spring training (WaPo)
The Nationals have Scherzer, Corbin, Strasburg, and Sánchez pencilled in already. Now, the question: does the team fall back on Jeremy Hellickson or take a chance on either Erick Fedde or Joe Ross in the five slot? (And who will round out the bullpen and the outfield?)

Tom Wilson jokes about Bryce Harper's looming decision (NBCSW)
Tom Wilson and the Caps noticed that their Twitter followings were one lighter than before (guess who the one was?)

Everything said about Bryce Harper ahead of Spring Training (NBCSW)
He doesn't want a short-term deal. The Giants are serious, though. As are the Padres. What?

Spring training storylines as Nats prepare to report (MASN)
Is Howie Kendrick ready to contribute from the get-go? Will he, perchance, win a starting job in the infield, or is his achilles in the way? Is Robles ready for Opening Day? Did the Nats really improve the rotation — and what will Davey's year two look like in Florida?

Barrett, C. Kieboom, Garcia headline non-roster invitees to camp (MASN)
"Other non-roster invitees are right-handers Henderson Álvarez, Scott Copeland, Wil Crowe, J.J. Hoover and Ronald Peña; left-hander Vidal Nuño; catchers Tres Barrera and Taylor Gushue; infielders José Marmolejos, Jake Noll, Matt Reynolds, Brandon Snyder and Jacob Wilson; and outfielders Hunter Jones and Chuck Taylor."

Nationals Swim Against the Tide with Commitment to Playoff Contention (Baseball Essential)
The Nationals look like they're going to be relevant for their eighth consecutive season since 2012. It makes them an outlier in the majors.

Souhan: Hey, Twins: Make a statement and sign Harper, Kimbrel (StarTribune)
What if the Twins, who have been relatively cautious this offseason, threw a bunch of money to bring Harper and Kimbrel to the Twin Cities? How easily could that team win the AL Central?

Yankees were smart to pass on Bryce Harper, Manny Machado (NY Post)
"If you ran baseball operations, would you have used the allotted money to sign Machado or Harper and then settle for, say, Brad Brach and Sergio Romo to round out the pen? Or do what the Yankees did to address every phase: diversify the talent, limit the long-term risk?"

By the way, the Reds have no excuse not to pursue Bryce Harper (Red Reporter)
"Bryce Harper wants a long contract that makes him the highest-paid player in baseball history. The Reds should offer that to him... After the 2019 season, the Reds will see the contracts of Matt Kemp, Scooter Gennett, Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig, Tanner Roark, David Hernandez and Zach Duke all fall off the books. That amounts to a whopping $64.73 million freed up in payroll in just one season."