Pitchers and catchers reported last week. Position players report today (though many of the players have already arrived in West Palm Beach). Davey Martinez is over watching pitchers throw bullpen sessions and wants to get started with full squad workouts and eventually the games that have to be played before Opening Day. It’s going to be a while, but at least there is baseball-ish activity taking place. Go read your links...
Kurt Suzuki Wants Out:
Suzuki takes the high road after Correa lashes out - (MASN)
"Kurt Suzuki wasn’t expecting to find himself in the middle of the war of words between the Astros and players around the majors who are now blasting the 2017 champs for cheating by illegally stealing signs."
Kurt Suzuki just responded to Carlos Correa’s comments yesterday by implying that he’s finished slinging mud. He repeated that he is enjoying the World Series with teammates and preparing for the season.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) February 16, 2020
Started with: “I’m too old for this.”
Suzuki on Astros: 'That’s their situation' - (MLB.com)
"Suzuki’s link to the situation heightened on Wednesday, when he was asked by the Washington Post if he thought Houston was stealing signs in the World Series."
Kurt Suzuki finds himself in surprising spot of headline maker - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Suzuki’s steady answers Sunday inside the Nationals’ clubhouse focused on two ideas: he’s enjoying the World Series and preparing for 2020."
Starlin Castro Fits In:
Upbeat Castro fits right in on first day with Nationals - (MASN)
"In their search to fortify an infield that lost Anthony Rendon, Brian Dozier and Matt Adams from their championship roster, the Nationals specifically targeted Castro this winter."
Notes: Castro's versatility; Scherzer's workout - (MLB.com)
"Washington has not named its starting third baseman -- Carter Kieboom will get a chance to earn the job -- and the team sees its flexible options as a strength. Castro has a cumulative .969 fielding percentage."
Astros villainy, Nats virtue are facility flip sides - (Washington Times)
"The villainous trash-can-banging, sign-stealing 2017 World Series champion Astros are the flip-side to the virtuous 2019 World Series champion Nationals -- who just happened to vanquish baseball's newest crime family in seven games in October."
Other Nats Notes:
When the Nationals need relief from missing Anthony Rendon, they should look to their bullpen - (WaPost)
"The players who must replace Anthony Rendon's production this year for the Washington Nationals all sit shoulder to shoulder in the team's spring training clubhouse."
Nationals spring training notebook: Thoughts on the three-batter minimum rule - (WaPost)
"Inside the Nationals’ clubhouse, the consensus on baseball’s new three-batter minimum rule is two-pronged: Bad for the sport. Good for Washington."
As position players report, Scherzer ready to face hitters - (MASN)
"Nationals position players officially report to spring training this morning, and there may be nobody in camp happier to hear that than Davey Martinez."
Washington Nationals are focused on run prevention - (WaPost)
"'This year, I talk about getting another edge,' Martinez said. 'And for me, it’s run prevention. Really focused on run prevention.'"
Will Harris: Nationals reliever feels for ex-Houston Astros team - (USA TODAY)
"Imagine showing up to a new school and wondering if everyone already hates you. Such is life this month for veteran reliever Will Harris."
How many games will the Washington Nationals win in 2020? - (USA TODAY)
"The Nationals' win total is set at 89.5. It represents a drop in 3.5 victories from 2019's 93 wins."
NL EAST UPDATES:
J.T. Realmuto’s arbitration hearing headlines big week for Phillies - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Realmuto's arbitration hearing is the most fascinating matter on tap for the week. The All-Star catcher, who made $5.9 million last season, is seeking $12.4 million. The Phillies have come in at $10 million."
Robinson Cano eyeing vintage campaign with Mets - (NY Post)
"Cano last season had three stints on the injured list, two of them caused by a left quadriceps strain. Then, in August, he sustained a torn left hamstring that cost him a month."
Effectively Wild Episode 1501: Season Preview Series: Braves and Phillies https://t.co/EtzUnITj0d— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) February 17, 2020
Notes: Mattingly on Kemp, pitching prospects - (MLB.com)
"Kemp, a three-time All-Star, is looking to bounce back after appearing in just 20 games with the Reds in 2019."
Braves extend contracts of Anthopoulos, Snitker - (AJC.com)
"The Braves made significant off-the-field moves with the promotion and extension of Alex Anthopoulos and the extension of manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff, the team announced Monday."