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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ pitching coach Jim Hickey and changeups; Nats’ farm system; depth chart + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we wait to see if Jim Hickey has anything equivalent to the ole Menhart magic...

Washington Nationals spring training game: New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Whose changeup grip is that? Readers who correctly guess which pitcher it is will win the respect of their peers and nothing else. Our lawyers are not big of giveaways...
Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

“I’m a huge believer in the changeup,” Washington Nationals’ pitching coach Jim Hickey told reporters after he was hired as part of Davey Martinez’s staff earlier this winter.

“I don’t force anybody to throw changeups,” Hickey added, “but if I see something — a lot of guys don’t like the changeup because it’s not a sexy pitch — it’s not a huge swing and a miss pitch for a lot of guys, but there’s a lot of outs in there and there’s a lot of efficiency in there and at the end of the year, there’s a lot more innings in there as well if you can do that.”

Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty dug into what that might mean for some of the pitchers on the Nationals’ staff in 2021 in one of the interesting links we collected for you below. Go read your links so you know what Hickey’s influence will be, even if we do not believe in hyphenating changeup and the WaPost does. They’re probably right...

NATS BEAT:

How Jim Hickey’s focus on the change-up could help the Nationals’ pitching staff - (WaPost)
“In his first remarks after becoming their new pitching coach, Hickey stressed his affection for change-ups. He made it the crux of billing himself as a blend of modern and old school.”

A 2020 MLB problem remains a 2021 problem: what to do with fans - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Grappling within specific jurisdictions is sure to occur. It happened in 2020 when the Nationals had to apply for a waiver from the District in order to operate at Nationals Park."

Sportsbook gives Nats good odds on Bryant, Ozuna and Turner - (MASN)
"The Nats are mentioned on the list for coveted catcher J.T. Realmuto, but have to stand in line behind the Mets, Angels and Yankees, according to the sportsbook."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Here's the state of the Nationals' farm system - (MLB.com)
"And while the Nationals inevitably will face a starting-pitching turnover in the coming years given the collective age of their staff, the organization has done well in preparing for such an event, using the Draft and international market to flood its farm system with quality young arms."

The Nats investigated Richmond once before; Triple-A would be blast from past - (richmond.com)
"The Washington Nationals are exploring the possibility of moving one of their minor league affiliates to Richmond. In a way, this is a 10-year-old story."

What would a Nolan Arenado trade to the Nationals look like? Let’s brainstorm – (The Athletic)
"How would Washington general manager Mike Rizzo and his Colorado opposite, Jeff Bridich, find common ground?"

NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves sign veteran lefty Drew Smyly to one-year deal - (AJC.com)
"The Braves have struck quickly this offseason, just as they did last winter. They signed 31-year-old lefty Drew Smyly to a one-year, $11 million deal Monday afternoon."

Phillies managing partner John Middleton should look to alma mater Amherst College to shape future of front office - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Amherst College has produced several baseball executives, including Dan Duquette and Ben Cherington, both of whom would be good options to lead the Phillies’ in-flux baseball ops department."

Mets should avoid Francisco Lindor trade temptation - (NY Post)
"Steve Cohen’s money is valuable. Of course it is. But it has significance now in a greater way because of how the Mets are constructed."

Miami Marlins' Ng says reaction 'beyond my expectations' - (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Ng showed women can get in the room where it happens in sports. Now, she just has to succeed -- with the Marlins."