Well, the Mets had something go right for them this year (aside from sweeping the Nats in May). Good on them.
Here’s what’s popping at Progressive Field:
Scott Boras: It's the Nationals' move in Anthony Rendon contract talks (NBCSW)
Scott Boras made it clear: his camp has leverage, and the Nats will need to come to them if they want to make a real deal. Don't pay any attention to his visit to Nationals Park last week; he visits lots of ballparks. Sure, he and the Lerners often work things out – but that's just "usually" and not a guarantee. It's in "the Nats' corner," in his words.
Anthony Rendon skipped the All-Star Game, but it’s getting harder for him to avoid the spotlight (WaPo)
Bryce Harper and Manny Machado signed baseball's biggest deals this offseason. Neither were invited to the All-Star Game. Anthony Rendon, who likely will get next offseason's biggest deal, isn't there either (though by choice) — and everyone who did head to Cleveland, from Kershaw to deGrom to Freeman, can't believe he isn't the talk of the league right now what with his impending free agency. Soon, the spotlight will finally land on him — unless there really was something to Scott Boras' meeting with Ted Lerner.
Nationals are a go-for-it-now team, with the birth certificates to prove it (WaPo)
After an offseason during which MLB teams pivoted to younger players, the Nationals have 17 players age 30 or older. If the ages of the big three starters and the best bats in the lineup save Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon are any indication, it's time for the Nats to go for it now and throw caution to the wind.
Why Max Scherzer Is Being Underpaid in $210 Million Free-Agent Megadeal (Bleacher Report)
Scherzer has won two Cy Youngs as a National, came in second for a third, pitched to a 2.71 ERA over the previous four seasons, and struck out twenty in a game. It could've all well been a warmup for this year, during which he's pitched to a 2.30 ERA and leads the Majors in strikeouts and innings. He won't stay this hot forever, obviously (now is a fantastic time to knock on the nearest piece of wood), but he is without question the most valuable pitcher in baseball who adapts constantly and has only improved over the last few years.
By sticking together in tough times, Nats turned season around (MASN)
You know the story by now: 12 under on May 23rd, swept by the lowly Mets. Then they won 28 of 39, 10 of 12, and catapulted over .500, straight into second place. The team has built some character, and is still rallying behind Davey Martinez for keeping the ship floating in troubled waters. Now, the biggest test of all: can they keep up the pace?
Scherzer, Rendon prioritize Nationals over ASG (MLB.com)
“I just think [my back] needs a few days rest,” Scherzer said. “I think this is a perfect time to have to need some rest, and I get a chance to take it. So hopefully I get healed up, good to go and have a good second half.”
Rumors: What do the Nationals do with Anthony Rendon? (BtBS)
The Nationals are beyond the point where trading Anthony Rendon makes any sense. They also don't look like they're willing to pay him, bearing the question: what should the Nats do with Rendon? Should they let him walk, hope his value drops and re-sign him, or try to lock him up now? Right now, the first option looks the most likely, and it's not great news.
Patrick Corbin is on a tear and going simple: Keep the fastball low, and proceed from there (WaPo)
If Patrick Corbin can lock in his fastball into the lower half of the zone, he sets up his lethal secondary pitches, making him better than advertised. He's struggled to do that at points this year, but strike one came easily over the last month, and everything else followed.
Nationals close to signing former all-star reliever Brad Boxberger (WaPo)
If there's a washed-up reliever out there, the Nats have to get him. Brad Boxberger is no exception to the rule.
The 30: White Sox pitchers build a foundation, bleak news for Boston’s bullpen and Shane Bieber keeps rocking (The Athletic)
The Nationals cracked the top ten (10th overall). There's no blurb on how bad their bullpen is this week. Is this what it's like to make it?
Three MLB Teams That Could Make A Second Half Playoff Push (The Big Lead)
"With top-tier starting pitchers in Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin alongside a solid core of position players in Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and Trea Turner, the Nationals have quietly established themselves as a playoff contender in the National League, and should be considered a threat to earn a wild-card spot. No Bryce, no problem."
Notes on Kieboom, Taylor, Barraclough and Scherzer (MASN)
Since he got sent down to Fresno, Carter Kieboom has done well, slashing .320/.431/.590. In the meantime, Michael A. Taylor is hanging out in Harrisburg and is striking out less, and Kyle Barraclough is blowing saves in the minors!