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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ pitching depth in minors; big bat search still on; NL East updates + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see if Mike Rizzo wants to add pop or improve the defense with his next moves... why not both?

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Mike Rizzo said after the Washington Nationals acquired first baseman Josh Bell from the Pittsburgh Pirates that it wasn’t necessarily the last big move of the winter for the club.

“This is a big upgrade for us,” Rizzo told reporters. “Middle of the lineup presence that we’ve been looking for. We never stop trying to improve the club. We certainly won’t this offseason, but this fulfills a big part of our wish list in getting this middle of the lineup bat.”

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the Nationals are still in the market for another middle of the order hitter.

One player who officially won’t be returning to the nation’s capital, or playing in the U.S. at all in 2020? Eric Thames, who struggled in 2019 in D.C. and is now heading to Japan:

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Nats' minor league pitching depth still a position of strength - (MASN)
"The Nats’ top 10 prospects were all pitchers prior to the move that acquired All-Star first baseman Josh Bell, so now it is top eight, according to MLBPipeline.com."

Defense a need for Marcell Ozuna and other possible Nats bats – (The Athletic)
"This past season was a different story. The Nationals finished in last place and were the worst fielding team in baseball."

Cubs' teardown is a cautionary tale for Nationals - (MASN)
"And it should serve as a cautionary tale to the Nationals and everyone in the region who loves this franchise. Take nothing for granted, because success can be fleeting."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Philadelphia Phillies acquire lefthander Jose Alvarado from Tampa Bay Rays in three-team trade - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Dave Dombrowski made his first trade since joining the Phillies and he gave the team's beleaguered bullpen a much-needed velocity upgrade."

Mets's Steve Cohen makes 500K donation to River Fund New York - (NY Post)
"Steve Cohen’s Mets ownership has already been felt within the community."

Best Braves player to wear each uni number - (MLB.com)
"1 -- Rafael Furcal - We’ll recognize Furcal for now, with the understanding this spot will soon belong to Ozzie Albies."

Blake Snell trade shows us exactly what Marlins’ Pablo López is worth - (Fish Stripes)
"Despite their obvious differences, Snell and López have similar trade value right now."