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Wire Taps: Rain may delay Tony Sipp, Howie Kendrick; Mike Trout eclipses Bryce Harper; Joe Ross in the ‘pen?

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news and enjoy a day off from Grapefruit League action.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Boy, it’s great that Bryce Harper spent the entire winter holding out for such a high contract, because it’s never going to be topped, at least not for a few yea–oh? Well, at least he can play with Mike Trout when he returns to Philly in 2020, right? Right? Right?

Here’s the scoop from South Capitol:

Anthony Rendon extension talks come to a 'halt' after he turns down recent offer - (NBC Sports Washington)
"A new deal was offered in late February when Arenado, expected to provide the framework for a future Rendon deal in the District or elsewhere, re-upped with the Rockies. Rendon declined."

After long, rainy trip Aníbal Sánchez happy with start vs. Braves - Nationals Pastime
"There was no avoiding this one — with only two tune-ups remaining before the regular season begins, Sánchez needed to face a big league lineup, even if that meant making the two-and-a-half-hour drive up Florida’s Turnpike to Walt Disney World."

Weather pushes back prep for Howie Kendrick, Tony Sipp (MASN)
The Nats have something of an ultimatum regarding Howie's health soon, after which they'll need to decide if they'll bring him north or leave him in Florida to get more minor league at-bats and rehab.

The Braves have The Freeze. Now a Nats affiliate is introducing ‘The Anti-Freeze.’ (WaPo)
The Harrisburg Senators will suit up a not particularly fast staffer in the Freeze's suit. A faster fan will get the chance to catch them. You see where this is going.

Nationals promote Mike DeBartolo and Sam Mondry-Cohen to assistant general managers (WaPo)
DeBartolo spent the last three years directing baseball ops, while Mondry-Cohen directed baseball R+D. They'll keep their focuses on those spots, but will probably get a raise and a little closer to Mike Rizzo's ear, helping to fill the spot Bob Miller once held. Both are relatively young and one could see them as Rizzo replacement candidates in the far future.

Once a surefire starter, Joe Ross is now being considered for Nationals’ bullpen (WaPo)
The combination of Tommy John surgery, two disappointing seasons, and a relatively set rotation may force Ross into the bullpen, at least this season — if it seems like it'll be worth it for all involved — but they plan for him to start in the long-term, which is why converting him into a reliever presents a danger.

Mike Trout upstages Bryce Harper again (WaPo)
Harper waited all winter to get his $330 million. Three weeks later, Mike Trout absolutely decimated his record. (And, the two will never play together!)

So what does Juan Soto need to do to hit better this season? Not much. (WaPo)
Everyone wants to keep their hands off Juan Soto while simultaneously wrapping him in bubble wrap. But the phenom has his own plan that seems pretty smart while aggressive in other ways — and the team is behind him.

Post-Bryce Nationals eye turnaround with Max Scherzer, new faces (AP)
Ryan Zimmerman thinks team chemistry is good. He thinks it has nothing to do with Harper — though he wasn't *totally* sure if it would be the same if he were still a National.

Closers for every MLB team (
If it isn’t Craig Kimbrel (hint hint, Rizzo), then it’ll be Sean Doolittle. Shocking!

Aníbal Sánchez faces former teammates (
Sánchez ended up with the Braves as an addition straight off the trash heap, with Atlanta willing to take a chance on him. As he returned for the first time, he couldn’t help but feel a touch of nostalgia in a rainy but successful outing.

Rain delays Tony Sipp and Howie Kendrick recovery (
Tony Sipp needs live batting practice. Howie Kendrick needs at-bats. The rain needed to fall, and it superceded both of them — meaning that the two lost a valuable day on the road to Opening Day.