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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ level of interest in J.T. Realmuto; Scouts in parks + more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see what Mike Rizzo and Co. in the front office in the nation’s capital do to bolster the catching corps in D.C. for 2021 and beyond...

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals - Game One Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Washington Nationals’ General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters last week that the club has talked to J.T. Realmuto’s representatives this winter.

“We talked to his representation on several different topics,” Rizzo explained. “He’s also [Ryan Zimmerman’s] agent, and many other clients, so we’ve had conversations with his representation.”

Asked specifically if Washington was in the mix for the free agent catcher, however, the GM and President of Baseball Ops in D.C. declined to elaborate on the club’s level of interest.

“I’m not going to kind of elaborate on specific free agents and what are levels are,” Rizzo said.

As you’ll see below though, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman wrote on Twitter over the weekend that the Nationals have interest, but that, “... it will come down to whether the Lerners approve the expenditure,” to sign Realmuto this winter.

Are you buying it? Do you think Realmuto will end up in D.C.? Or will Yan Gomes and a less splashy catching addition share the duties behind the plate for the Nationals? While you’re pondering your answers to those questions, go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Nationals finished with seventh-highest payroll in 2020 - (MASN)
"Had they played the full 162-game slate, the Nationals’ 2020 payroll total would’ve been $205.7 million, nearly identical to their 2019 total."

De La Rosa stepped into leadership role at instructional league - (MASN)
"Former major league outfielder Gary Thurman has been the outfield/baserunning coordinator for the Nats since 2017 and likes what he has seen from De La Rosa."

Rizzo makes pitch for scouts to return to ballparks in 2021 - (MASN)
"They stood pat at the deadline, making no trades whatsoever. And to listen to Rizzo explain it now, some 3 1/2 months later, they did nothing in large part because they could not scout potential acquisitions in person."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Ryan Zimmerman Intends To Play In 2021 - (MLB Trade Rumors)
"There’s no timetable for when Zimmerman might sit down with the Nats, but it’s safe to assume he’s not looking to relocate."

Nationals' top 5 catches of 2020 - (MLB.com)
"Statcast measures the Nationals top five catches of the 2020 season, highlighted by Adam Eaton and Juan Soto."

MLB rumors: Nationals have interest in J.T. Realmuto; Padres among teams chasing Sonny Gray - (CBSSports.com)
"Washington has had rumored interest in Realmuto for years, dating back to the Bryce Harper era."

Sale marks the end of Suns - (heraldmailmedia.com)
"For four decades, Hagerstown’s entry in minor league baseball tried to shine at Municipal Stadium. On Saturday, the team penned one last chapter in its saga. The Suns liquidated."

NL EAST UPDATES:

What should Phillies fans expect from Scott Kingery in 2021? - (Philly Sports Network)
"It wasn’t too long ago that Scott Kingery was a prized prospect in the Phillies’ farm system."

Mets' James McCann has amazing rags-to-riches tale - (NY Post)
"James McCann’s rags-to-riches baseball tale might fit best on HGTV. Shoot, about half of that channel’s programming sounds ready-made for the Mets’ new catcher."

Atlanta Braves Manager Says Young Club, New Starters Boost Bid For 4th Straight Division Title - (Forbes)
"With a week to go before Christmas, Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker has already received two terrific presents."

With time, Jazz Chisholm’s tools should translate into more MLB success - (Fish Stripes)
"Even though the 22-year-old shortstop didn’t have the season he probably wanted, he’s still among the most intriguing prospects in the organization."