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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals assuming no DH in NL in 2021; Max Scherzer contract talk + more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we all wait to see if Mike Rizzo and Scott Boras work some magic again this winter...

Press conference for newly acquired pitcher Max Scherzer Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mike Rizzo told reporters on Tuesday that he is moving forward as if there will not be a DH in the National League in 2021, after both leagues used a designated hitter in 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign. MLB reportedly sent out a memo instructing teams, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote recently, “... to proceed under the assumption the DH will not be used in the NL this year, though few will complain if the league and union reach agreement to the contrary.”

“We’re going to make some assumptions,” Rizzo explained. “We’re going to assume that we’re not going to have the DH in the National League this year, that’s just the way we’re planning it, and if that changes like it changed last year we’ll make an adjustment.

“That’s kind of how — for our preseason planning stages — that’s how we’ve done it, we’re going to kind of build a National League style of team, without a typical designated hitter involved in it, but a team that will compete without a designated hitter, but still — that’s just the way we’ve attacked it early on in the [offseason] and again, we’re at the infancy stages of putting together the final parts of this roster.”

No DH in the NL. Happy? Or don’t want to see pitchers swinging and running the bases? Go read your links either way...

NATS BEAT:

Mike Rizzo: Nationals operating as if there will be no DH in NL for 2021 - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The lack of a DH likely takes the Nationals out of the running for free agents such as Marcell Ozuna and Nelson Cruz..."

After unusual season, Nationals expect rotation to rebound in 2021 - (Washington Times)
"As Martinez and the Nationals prepare for the 2021 season, they believe there will be a return of some normalcy, at least where their pitching staff is concerned."

Nationals say Stephen Strasburg is having a ‘regular’ offseason - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Nationals expect Stephen Strasburg to be ready at spring training. Both Davey Martinez and Mike Rizzo said as much Tuesday during Zoom calls with reporters."

Max Scherzer, Nationals to discuss contract extension 'after the new year' - (Washington Times)
"The Washington Nationals and Max Scherzer have yet to seriously discuss a possible contract extension as the three-time Cy Young winner enters the last year of his contract."

Max Scherzer’s future still being discussed by Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, agent Scott Boras - (WaPost)
“Since Jan. 18, 2015, when a late-night deal tied a team and player’s fate together, Max Scherzer has thrown 1,118 innings for the Washington Nationals.”

Nats focus on Robles' speed and agility heading into 2021 - (MASN)
"Did Robles’s bulking up to add power to his game actually take away from his speed and agility?"

Nationals plan for Gomes to catch majority of games in 2021 - (MASN)
"If they are seriously pursuing Realmuto, it would contradict everything else Rizzo and manager Davey Martinez said Tuesday about the Nationals’ 2021 plans behind the plate."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Reports: Matthew LeCroy to be new manager of Rochester Red Wings - (WHEC.com)
"Matthew LeCroy will return to Rochester to become the first manager of the Rochester Red Wings' affiliation with the Washington Nationals."

MLB owners want to delay start of 2021 season, per report; MLBPA says players are planning to start on time - (CBSSports.com)
"USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that MLB team owners want players to be vaccinated before spring training begins, and that heavy logistical lift in tandem with the limited availability of vaccines would mean spring training camps wouldn't open on time."

Tanner Rainey is Taking the Next Step - (Pitcher List)
"Tanner Rainey has had some control problems in his career. Before 2020, he had never registered a walk rate below 10% at any level of professional baseball."

MLB rumors: Phillies ‘optimistic’ about re-signing J.T. Realmuto after Mets, Yankees go in different directions - (nj.com)
"Dave Dombrowski is ready to hit the ground running in Philadelphia."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Scott Boras on Bryce Harper, Phillies - (MLB.com)
"Everybody knows how Bryce Harper feels about J.T. Realmuto and how badly he wants the Phillies to re-sign him."

MLB rumors: Rockies want to engage Mets in Nolan Arenado trade talks - (CBSSports.com)
"According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi (hat tip to SNY), the Rockies are hoping to engage the Mets in trade talks for third baseman Nolan Arenado."

ZiPS 2021 Projections: Miami Marlins - (FanGraphs)
"The temporary (crossing fingers) expansion to the playoff field and some fortune also aided, allowing Miami to play October baseball despite a record right around .500 and a Pythagorean record of 26–34. But again, flags fly forever!"

Atlanta Braves need to re-sign Marcell Ozuna – (The Athletic)
"If you’re the Braves, you really should think long and hard before passing on Ozuna, aka the Big Bear, who led the NL in home runs and RBIs in 2020 and brought an energy and positive vibe to the clubhouse, dugout, team bus and everywhere else."