Folks, here it is: the news you’ve been waiting for all winter. Ready?
Okay. Here we go.
Nats’ Sean Doolittle calls his 2019 Star Wars bobblehead ‘one of the highlights’ of his career (WaPo)
Sean Doolittle was involved in the creation of his "Obi-Sean-Kenobi" bobblehead, especially regarding the color of the lightsaber (it's blue, for crying out loud!).
Wait — you thought this would be Bryce Ha— oh. That’s awkward. I’m so sorry you thought that.
Anyhow, here’s the rest of the news from West Palm Beach:
Rosenthal: With Arenado talking to the Rockies about an extension, what does that mean for Harper and Machado? (The Athletic - $$)
Nolan Arenado might sign a ten-year contract with Colorado that makes him a Rockie for life before he hits the free-agent market. The biggest winners, aside from Colorado and Arenado? Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, who will have a strong argument for a ten-year deal given that they're both younger than Arenado. (And Anthony Rendon would suddenly be a whole lot more likely to test the open market.)
Q+A (Nationals Arm Race)
The Nationals made a splash last week by... going after Michael A. Taylor in arbitration for $250,000, further ruining their relationship with him. Also, do the Nats need another lefty in the bullpen (answer: they have no more money), and would they ever go after Dallas Keuchel?
Tampa Bay Times: The Rays should consider Bryce Harper for a one-year deal (DRaysBay)
Hear out DRaysBay: what if Bryce Harper went to the Rays for a year, pushed them into the AL Wild Card, got his $30 million, and moved on with his life — but not before giving the Rays some playoff revenue?
Washington Nationals Announce 2019 Promotional Schedule (Curly W Live)
The radio lanyard is finally coming, Sean Doolittle gets an Obi-Sean-Kenobi bobblehead, and the Nationals (finally) lean into the D.C. three-stars branding. Single game tickets will go on sale on February 13th.
Collier, Dougherty, Dybas: As the Nationals equipment truck rolls south to Spring Training, still no answer on Bryce Harper (NBCSW)
"The eventual jolt from the signing should wash away the bad taste from the tease-filled wait. However, it won’t clear the ideas formed during it, namely that MLB owners are proactively suppressing player salaries and that baseball at-large has yet another issue to deal with in the modern media landscape." (Also, a roundtable featuring Todd Dybas, Jamal Collier, and Jesse Dougherty!)
Jefry Rodriguez Could Fit In The Cleveland Indians' Big League Pen (Baseball America)
Rodriguez, who the Nationals sent to Cleveland in exchange for Yan Gomes, has the stuff to be useful for short-inning stints in the majors.
The Oakland Athletics Should Pursue a Gio Gonzalez Reunion (Baseball Essential)
Gonzalez, who began his career in Oakland, could help the A's continue to compete in 2019 and keep pace with the pitching-heavy AL.
Monday Quickie - Is this the week? (Sweetspot Network — Nationals Baseball)
It's looking like Michael A. will remain a fourth outfielder for 2019, while Wilmer Difo will slot in as a utility man (unless the Nats sign Jose Iglesias, which would be cool), and the Nats' bullpen suddenly seems deceptively weak (though they could sign Craig Kimbrel, which would make it, uh, less weak.)