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Wire Taps: Giants back in Bryce Harper mix; Nationals hold bullpen cart tryouts; Jeremy Hellickson successful in spring debut...

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Catch up on that last 24 hours in Nationals news before Max Scherzer takes the mound in Grapefruit League action this afternoon...

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

Koda Glover is an injury risk. Trevor Rosenthal is an injury risk. Sean Doolittle has had some rough injury history. One of the best closers of this generation is available, and probably for a low price. What—if the Nats are willing to defer and backload his deal—is stopping the team from going after Craig Kimbrel?

Here’s the news from Nationals Park:

Sources -- Giants have 2nd meeting with Bryce Harper (ESPN)
Larry Baer and Farhan Zaidi, the top two operations personnel in San Francisco, were in Vegas on Tuesday — and a ten-year deal isn't out of the question.

How Nolan Arenado’s new deal influences Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper (NBCSW)
Anthony Rendon has been stuck as second-fiddle to Nolan Arenado — and the Nats know they now won't have to pay him more than a mere $260 million over eight years to keep him in town.

Meet the man(nequin) keeping Nats' endless uniform combos straight (ESPN)
The Nationals updated their spring training wardrobe this year, which now features three caps, three jerseys, and two pairs of pants. In short, nobody knows what to wear — except Manny, a mannequin who models the uniform of that day. It's a phenomenal addition — though somewhat disconcerting at 5:00 in the morning for Ryan Zimmerman.

Bruce Bochy's take on Bryce Harper decision: 'Got to think it's close' (NBC Sports Bay Area)
The Giants have discussed with Harper a ten-year deal worth upwards of $300 million, and this may be the week after which he finally makes a decision.

The Nationals let me drive the bullpen cart. It went poorly. (SI)
"This was not hell, but it might as well have been purgatory—the cement concourse of an otherwise empty baseball stadium in winter... A tough audition was fitting. The bullpen cart might look like nothing more than a slice of cutesy kitsch, but the driver must take it seriously—you’re hauling precious cargo, after all." (Also, all the fans who tried out are hysterical and dorky and super fun to hear from.)

Not rushed this year, Hellickson ready to extend himself for Nats (MASN)
Jeremy Hellickson had to sprint to Opening Day last season, signing on March 17th with almost no time to prepare. This year, he signed long before Spring Training (at least by 2019 standards), and enjoyed a nice two-inning start in West Palm Beach.

Illness delays Ryan Zimmerman's spring debut (Nats win 14-8) (MASN)
Yan Gomes, Spencer Kieboom, and Ryan Zimmerman all came down with the same virus, so Zimmerman got the day off and will likely play on Saturday.

‘There was a big number’: Trevor Rosenthal impresses right away for Nationals (WaPo)
Jay Robertson, the Nationals' scout at Trevor Rosenthal's October showcase, made it expressly clear that the Nats *needed* Rosenthal. Mike Rizzo bit, and if his first pitches in a Nats uniform are any indication, he'll be a welcomed addition to the late-inning crew.

Chuck Todd joins Racing Presidents, explains why he's optimistic about 2019 Nationals (NBCSW)
Chuck Todd doesn't get riled up over much — but the Nationals can spark some energy in him. He thinks the Nats are built well for this season, and has a nice slogan for the year: "Let's not screw this up."

No team, no problem - Harper favored for NL MVP (ESPN)
This, despite the fact that Nolan Arenado and Christian Yelich (and Anthony Rendon, and Juan Soto) exist. Max Scherzer is also favored for his third Cy Young.

Giants should forget Bryce Harper, shoot for Mike Trout (SFChronicle)
The Giants could get Harper — a prime player — or they could get the best player of this generation if they skip out on Harper. It makes more sense, anyway: San Francisco will have very little money on the books come 2021, and will be on the right side of a rebuild.

Nationals' bullpen cart tryout opens door another crack for old-school novelty (Sporting News)
“I think a part of it, too, is that we’re one of three teams that does it,’’ Nats director of entertainment Tom Davis said, “so the idea that it’s starting to be embraced again is something that not just Nats fans, but fans in general, have kind of gotten behind. So the opportunity, once in a lifetime, to be that person, obviously shows with the amount of people that applied.’’

Bryce Harper’s biggest decision: A custom D.C. doughnut or free Philly pastries for life (WaPo)
Free pastries for life? Or free donuts for life? (Also, the head baker of Frangelli's in Philly says that Philadelphia's offseason won't be a failure without Harper.)