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Wire Taps: Nationals sign Asdrúbal Cabrera (again); Rotation missing Max Scherzer; Nats’ new bullpen order becoming apparent

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the second of three in San Francisco...

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Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Sure, add Asdrubal Cabrera to this season, that makes about as much sense as the rest of it.

Here’s what’s pertinent atop the peninsula:

With Scherzer still out, Nationals need others to step up (MASN)
Max Scherzer played catch on flat ground but still hasn't touched a bullpen mound, and is now officially in the territory of missing serious time, only pitching once in the last month.

Washington Nationals will be terrifying postseason opponent (USA Today)
The Nats, even though they stumbled through the last week or two, are feeling good about themselves. They're relaxed, having fun, hitting well (and the pitching should follow soon), and they know that if they make the playoffs, they pose a serious threat to the Dodgers in the NL side of the playoffs

MLB Tiers: Sorting all 30 teams, from the superpowers to the rebuilds (The Athletic)
"The NL East race has not been conceded. But if the Braves’ lead holds up, consider this: outside of the Cubs and the peculiar Diamondbacks, the Nationals have the best run differential of any possible NL wild-card team."

Cabrera addition could help depleted bench (MASN)
Asdrúbal Cabrera will come back to the Nats as a cheap addition who can provide some much-needed depth down the stretch now that the Nats are relying on Matt Adams and Gerardo Parra on a daily basis.

Source: Nats bringing back Asdrúbal Cabrera (MASN)
Cabrera has experience at second base, shortstop and third base and probably could be used at first base if the club needed it. He returns to Washington five years after he was acquired in a July 31 trade with the Indians. Cabrera wound up the Nationals’ starting second baseman down the stretch in the 2014 season and throughout the National League Division Series that fall.

Update on three southpaws at Potomac: Cate, Raquet and Teel (MASN)
Tim Cate was the Nats' second-rounder last year, and is 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA in Potomac, while Nick Raquet and Carson Teel are chugging along as well at high-A.

Dave Martinez hints at his plans for Nationals’ new-look bullpen (WaPo)
Davey Martinez hasn't officially told anyone how he's going to use his newfangled arms, but it looks like Matt Grace will move back to being a long man, Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey are coming to their logical places in middle relief, and Doolittle and Rodney along with the new trio will handle the late innings.

Tony Sipp won’t remain with Nationals after being designated for assignment (WaPo)
Tony Sipp was a hit-or-miss project, and he missed all year long, compiling a 4.71 ERA over the season. He's decided to leave Washington altogether, but he may well find a spot in some other bullpen soon enough.

Nationals sign veteran Asdrúbal Cabrera to bolster infield depth (WaPo)
Cabrera cleared waivers, and the Nats added him to provide some depth on the bench while the roster is shorthanded.

Asdrúbal Cabrera Nationals deal (MLB.com)
“It’s tough,” manager Dave Martinez said. “Even pinch-hitting fairly early when you don’t have those guys, it’s tough. And I know [Andrew] Stevenson has done a good job. [Adrian] Sanchez is actually swinging a lot better off the bench.”

Here is the 2019 postseason schedule (MLB.com)
It *finally* happened in a year the Nats are in the playoff hunt: the NL will get to play their Wild Card game first, meaning they'll have a shorter break before the playoffs (a positive if they win the division, meaningless if they don't). In the meantime, the season will end on or before October 30th if weather or other events don't interfere.