Pitchers and catchers report today! Pretty soon there will be bullpen sessions! And then the live bullpen sessions! And Grapefruit League games! Whatever. It’s easy to be cynical about today since nothing really happens, but it’s another step on the way to Opening Day, and it’s a good day to officially move on from 2019. That World Series win was fun. Now do it again, Nationals. Go read your links!:
“It was amazing once we were playing the Astros how many people came out of the woodwork to let us know what they were doing.” As spring training opens, a look at the open secret that affected every Houston opponent. https://t.co/A1GBdEwOTh— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) February 12, 2020
Astros cheating was an open secret in MLB for years - (WaPost)
"As one member of the Nationals put it, 'It was amazing, once [it was assured] we were playing the Astros, how many people were coming out of the woodwork to let us know what they were doing.'"
Report: Nationals were tipped off about Astros' cheating by Dodgers, Cora - (NBC Sports Washington)
"According to the report, Houston's sign-stealing tactic was well known throughout baseball."
Spring Training Storylines:
5 storylines to watch at the start of Nationals spring training - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Thursday is the day. Well, Wednesday is the day, then Thursday is the first action for reporters, onlookers and everyone else who shows at the Nationals’ spring training facility in West Palm Beach."
Spring training storylines: Life as defending champs - (MASN)
"If winning a title is the hardest thing to do in professional sports, winning back-to-back titles feels near-impossible."
Nationals face short list of roster questions heading into spring training - (WaPost)
"The Nationals will carry 13 position players on an expanded 26-man roster. If Kieboom makes the team out of spring training and earns regular work at third base, he would be the 13th and final player..."
I guess now is as good a time as any to post my brief interview of noted @Cubs fan Bill Murray from last weekend at Pebble Beach @Davey_Martinez4 @FightinHydrant @whatwouldDOOdo @EireannDolan @MarkZuckerman @Britt_Ghiroli @dcsportsbog @ScottSAllen pic.twitter.com/hHhimatof8— NavyNatsFan (@NavyNatsFan) February 11, 2020
5 Nats players to watch during Spring Training - (MLB.com)
"If [Juan] Soto continues his momentum and growth at the plate, his production could help fill the gap from [Anthony] Rendon’s departure."
Spring training storylines: Is Kieboom the answer at third? - (MASN)
"There may be no player in uniform this spring at Nats camp watched as closely as Kieboom, the 22-year-old infielder touted as a future star since he was drafted in 2016 but now about to be thrust into the spotlight with way of knowing how it’s all going to turn out."
Other Nats Stories:
Baseball America Nats No. 6 prospect: 3B/1B Drew Mendoza - (MASN)
"Former Florida State standout Drew Mendoza has a shot to turn some heads in the near future and become that top candidate for a corner infield spot, similar to the track Carter Kieboom is hoping to attain at third base this season."
Sean Doolittle is latest MLB player to weigh in on playoff format proposal - (NBC Sports Washington)
"If MLB is seriously considering expanding its playoff format to include more teams in the hunt for Wild Card spots, count Nationals closer Sean Doolittle among those opposing the change."
Feast your eyes on each uniform change for '20 - (MLB.com)
"There's a clean, white alternate with 'Nationals' in navy script across the chest, but the real headliners are two alternate caps, both of which hearken back to the old Washington Senators logo..."
Austin Voth is/was a natural cut guy who may have been bettered and is now a real backend piece. https://t.co/cqUaNZxNUN— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) February 10, 2020
NL EAST UPDATES:
J.T. Realmuto’s contract talks shaping up as Phillies’ biggest spring training drama - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"But if you find daily bullpen sessions and live batting practice under the Florida sun to be monotonous, don’t fret. J.T. Realmuto’s arbitration hearing next week in Phoenix and the concurrent talks about a multiyear contract extension might not be as popcorn-worthy as tracking the flight patterns of Air Middleton..."
NY Mets who must make a name for themselves at spring training - (NorthJersey.com)
"Spring training is underway, but only barely. There are still many questions surrounding the 2020 Mets, who won't play in a game until a week and change from now."
Scouts assess Marlins position players and prospects - (Miami Herald)
"What do the Marlins have in their offensive players? We solicited input from two veteran scouts from other teams who - between the two of them - have seen all of these players."
Braves New North Port Spring Training Home Has More Than Meets The Eye - (Baseball America)
"Now it's 2020 and the Braves’ new facility in North Port, Fla., opens this week for its first full spring training, but fans won’t notice a massive change from the site in Orlando."