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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ new Triple-A affiliate reportedly in Rochester, NY; Nats sign Sam Clay + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see what kind of low-key move Mike Rizzo makes next...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Clay, who pitched for six season in the Minnesota Twins’ system, and spent 2020 at the club’s Alternate Training Site without getting a call to the majors, got a major league deal in D.C. on Wednesday, and the 27-year-old lefty said he’s excited about the opportunity to join a roster that includes some pretty impressive pitching talent in the rotation and bullpen. It’s something he’s looking forward to...

“It’s incredible,” Clay said on Wednesday, after his deal with the Nationals was announced.

“I grew up watching [Max] Scherzer,” he added, “and I remember when [Stephen] Strasburg was drafted, this big tall flamethrower, and I‘ve followed their careers.

“I’ve watched them on TV and I’m very, very excited to be able to play with them and pitch behind them.

“I actually played with Ryne Harper back in 2018, and he’s a good friend and I’m excited to be his teammate again.”

He didn’t reach out to Harper to reconnect because he was waiting to get everything done before doing so, but the reliever said he did get plenty of supportive messages from family and friends.

“My phone has been blowing up just from a lot of friends and family,” Clay said. “It really is incredible to see the amount of support that I have. It’s very heartwarming. I can’t describe how incredible it is.”

Enjoy that positive note. Go read your links...

BREAKING NEWS:

Washington Nationals become new Rochester Red Wing parent club - (Democrat and Chronicle)
“The Rochester Red Wings have a new parent club: the Washington Nationals.“

NATS BEAT:

Sam Clay Gets Major League Contract:

Clay 'shell-shocked' by contract with Nats - (MLB.com)
"Sam Clay spent the past seven seasons working his way up the Twins' Minor League system, so when the Nationals presented an offer, he thought he had an idea of what it would be."

Nationals sign left-handed reliever Sam Clay - (Washington Times)
"The Washington Nationals addressed an area of need Wednesday, bolstering their left-handed bullpen options with the signing of Sam Clay to a major league contract."

Clay can take on any role necessary in Nats bullpen - (MASN)
"After all the time and work in the minors, Clay was excited and relieved to get the call from his agent this week that the Nats wanted to sign him to a major league contract."

Washington Nationals sign lefty reliever Sam Clay - (WaPost)
“The Nationals will have six years of team control with Clay, who puts their 40-man roster at 31 players. The addition fills the specific need for a left-handed arm — and any arms at all.”

Nats sign former Twins minor league lefty Clay to MLB deal - (MASN)
"Clay has put a sizeable number of runners on base - his WHIP since 2017 is 1.468 - but his success has come from his ability to keep the ball on the ground and in the park."

Nationals sign left-handed reliever Sam Clay in one of first offseason moves - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Clay spent seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins. He has never pitched in the major leagues."

Other Nats Stories:

Romero on track to return healthy for 2021, update on Lee - (MASN)
"Nationals minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman said Romero rehabbed to the point in October where he was back to pitching bullpen sessions and actually catching the return throws from the catcher with his right hand."

From the Community: An interview with Jennie Finch Empowerment Award Recipient Cheyenne DeGross | by Nationals Communications - (Curly W Live)
"Typically in this series we highlight the philanthropic efforts of the Nationals in and around the DMV, however, in this post we are highlighting a very special member of the Montgomery County RBI (MoCo RBI) program who was a recipient of the 2020 Jennie Finch Empowerment Award."

As GM carousel keeps turning, Nats still have rock in Rizzo - (MASN)
"It’s easy to take that for granted, but we shouldn’t. The Nats are incredibly fortunate to have that kind of stability in their front office."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Signs point to Giants' Double-A team returning to RVA, with Nats' Triple-A team elsewhere - (richmond.com)
"The Nationals for Triple-A may now be seriously considering Rochester, which recently lost the Minnesota Twins’ top farm club, expected to move to St. Paul, Minn., a new Triple-A market."

Minor League Transactions - (Baseball America)
"Washington Nationals - Signed: RHP Matt Merrill."

MLB Futures: Will champion Dodgers survive long, cold winter? - (nj.com)
"The 2019 Washington Nationals were somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-1 to win the World Series before the season and cashed some large tickets."

Red Wings waiting, hoping new affiliation will be a good one - (Rochester Business Journal)
"Surviving franchises are being realigned into geographic clusters closer to their parent clubs, and this makes perfect sense for teams like the Washington Nationals, who would rather have a Triple-A franchise on the East Coast instead of 3,000 miles away in Fresno, Calif."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Source: Phillies will reach out to Theo Epstein and see what he says - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"The answer is yes. Yes, the Phillies, according to an industry source, will check in with Theo Epstein..."

Chernoff leader in Mets' search (sources) - (MLB.com)
"Indians general manager Mike Chernoff has emerged as a leading candidate to become the Mets’ new president of baseball operations, sources told MLB.com."

Kim Ng’s Hiring Could Be The Start Of Something Special In Miami - (FiveThirtyEight)
"Long-overdue baseball history was made late last week when the Miami Marlins announced they had hired Kim Ng as general manager."

Atlanta Braves pivot fan engagement strategy after fan-less season - (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
"While Major League Baseball teams collectively have experienced a decline in attendance over the last decade, the Braves saw its best season turnout in 12 years in 2019."