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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ 2021 rotation; Runner on 2nd in extras + more

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to find out where Mike Rizzo finds a big bat this winter.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Commissioner Rob Manfred talked last month about which of the rules instituted for 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign might remain for 2021, and said there were two particular things he would like to see return: the expanded postseason field and a runner starting on second base in extras. Hmmm. No. No? Right? To both those things, but really no to the free runner.

“I think the players like it,” Manfred said. “I think it’s really good from a safety and health perspective that keeps us from putting players in situations where they’re out there too long or in positions they’re not used to playing.”

Sean Doolittle shared his thoughts on the runner on second in extras in a late-season Zoom call with reporters in September.

“That rule stinks,” Doolittle said succinctly. He had just one experience with the runner on second in extras personally this past season, coming on in the bottom of the 10th in a 5-5 game with the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank where a sac bunt, two intentional BBs, and a sac fly decided things in the home team’s favor.

“The inning where I didn’t give up a hit and still got walked off?” Doolittle asked rhetorically.

“That was cool.”

Leave that rule behind in 2020, with the rest of 2020. Go read your links...


Nationals free agency hunt: Kevin Gausman - (NBC Sports Washington)
"All week, we’re going to take a look at individuals who could fit in different places for the Nationals. Here’s a look at former Baltimore pitcher Kevin Gausman."

Nats could go in one of several directions for rotation help - (MASN)
"Some teams don’t prioritize a No. 4 starter. The Nationals do. Look back at their best seasons over the last near-decade, and they’ve pretty much always had a good fourth starter."

From the Community: Voters at Nationals Park share their stories - (Curly W Live)
"Our blog post today features a series of interviews with voters who came out to Nationals Park to cast their ballot during the week leading up to Election Day."

Mark Scialabba on progress of draft picks and free agents - (MASN)
"The Nats were thrilled to begin the draft by getting what could be a pair of front-line starters in Cavalli and Henry, Scialabba said. And he also likes the selections of Infante and Parker."


Marcus Semien could return, Liam Hendriks leaving A's, Mark Feinsand says - (NBC Sports Bay Area)
"I think there are plenty of high-profile teams with big payrolls that are really in need of help. Teams like the [Boston] Red Sox, teams like the [Philadelphia] Phillies. I think you’re going to have some [Washington] Nationals maybe."


MLB insider: Yankees, Mets will battle for Phillies' J.T. Realmuto in free agency - (
"Signing Realmuto from a division rival and keeping him from going to Bronx would be a nice way to hit the ground running in Queens."

Three issues that will dictate Mets, Yankees decisions in free agency - (NY Post)
"Add George Springer, Stroman or another eight-figure starting pitcher (Charlie Morton? Jake Odorizzi?) plus a cheaper one (Cole Hamels?), a catcher (James McCann) and a fleet of relievers (Brad Hand? Liam Hendriks?)..."

Podcast: Expect a slow start to Miami Marlins offseason - (Miami Herald)
"So expect the Miami Marlins, fresh off a playoff run and hoping to keep that momentum going, to make a big splash early, right?"

Braves’ Fried wins first Gold Glove award - (
"Braves left-hander Max Fried won the National League Gold Glove for pitchers Tuesday evening. It was the first Gold Glove of Fried’s career."