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Wire Taps: Craig Kimbrel could make Nationals great; Carter Kieboom hits two off Justin Verlander; Victor Robles will get playing time

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of this afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the Braves.

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MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Carter Kieboom seems like he could be good. Just a suspicion, though. (Though with Luis Garcia behind him, does it make sense to ship one or the other off for another starting pitcher or another late inning arm?)

Here’s the news from West Palm:

The Nationals roster is good, not great. Craig Kimbrel would be the difference. (WaPo)
Sean Doolittle knows that adding Craig Kimbrel would kick him out of his closer's slot. He doesn't really care — he likes winning more than saving games. Kimbrel would cost about $5 million in luxury tax penalties. Why not add the final piece as the Nats are smelling a title — one that it seems like the team doesn't really need but will ultimately come in clutch? (That is, if he can maintain anything near his previous performance, which Tom Boswell thinks will be pretty cheap.)

Ghiroli: What I’ve learned, heard and seen at Nationals spring training (The Athletic)
Brittany Ghiroli thinks that Victor Robles will get the Opening Day nod, though he may also see some time in right as Michael A. Taylor plays center — and people are bullish on him if his new adjustments to his swing can improve his average. The Sammy Solis decision seems confusing, as does the team's decision to stay out of the Kimbrel sweepstakes. Also, Davey Martinez is super impressed by Carter Kieboom and Aníbal Sánchez.

Kieboom enjoys two-homer night vs. Verlander (MASN)
Carter Kieboom, the prospect who just got to drink legally this year, hit two homers off of perhaps one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. Sure, it was Spring Training — sure, it was just a few fastballs — but boy, was it still impressive.

Union chief says players are "engaged and unified" (MASN)
“They are engaged and unified in everything that they’re doing,” MLBPA leader Tony Clark said. “The guys are in tune. They’re in tune in this clubhouse, and this clubhouse is in tune with all the other clubhouses that we’ve seen, and is doing so in a way that we haven’t seen in some time.”

Nationals want to rebound in NL East (
The window doesn't seem like it's closed — not quite yet. So the Nats will try and continue their sustained winning, hopefully riding their starting pitching back to October. If it falters, though, watch out — because the bullpen might follow.

Nationals sorting out playing time in outfield (
“We’ve got four really good outfielders,” Davey Martinez said prior to Tuesday night’s Grapefruit League game against the Astros. “I think they’re all going to play. Victor’s going to play because he’s young and we’ve actually got to see what he can do. But Michael’s just as important as anyone, and I want to get him playing time.”

If Bryce Harper is a Magnet for Talent, Then he is a Steal (Baseball Essential)
Harper has ties to Kris Bryant, Zach Davies, Carter and Spencer Kieboom, Mike Trout, and so many others from both his travel ball career and his new city. Could he be the new LeBron of MLB, taking talent with him wherever he goes?

Vidal Nuno could be the lefty the Nationals need. But he’s not thinking about that. (WaPo)
Vidal Nuño hasn't lost out on an Opening Day spot yet. He isn't really worried about it yet, but with Justin Miller, Doolittle, Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough, Matt Grace, and Wander Suero already slotted in, there's still one or two spots left. Nuño can go long or short, helping Matt Grace (though Tony Sipp could do the same).

2019 Season Preview: Washington Nationals – M-SABR
A huge, comprehensive preview of the Nationals in 2019. A division title isn't "out of the picture."