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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ Cabbage Race 2020; Ryan Zimmerman talks Astros + more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we wait for a new player to speak out against the Astros...

MLB: Washington Nationals-Workouts Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Zimmerman talked about the Houston Astros at length on Monday, discussing the sign stealing controversy, the back and forth between players in the media, the anger, on display this Spring, and how the baseball world has adjusted to the availability of video and data in the past five seasons, but summing it all up, the 15-year veteran said that full picture of what the Astros did over the last few seasons is unclear.

“You can speculate about all the other stuff,” Zimmerman said. “Whether they only did it in ‘17, they did it — that will go back and forth till the day those guys die, I’m sure, so — they needed better video to beat us. That’s how I’ll end it.”

Word. Also, the NationalsWorld Series championship signage arrived in West Palm Beach yesterday... Go read your links:

NATS BEAT:

Soto Talks:

Sudden fame, success hasn't changed driven Soto - (MASN)
"Yeah, there’s no question who will be in left field for the Nats on opening day. Or for the vast majority of their games throughout the season (barring injuries)."

What's Juan Soto's goal in spring training? Just 'to make the team' - (NBC Sports Washington)
"With the departure of third baseman Anthony Rendon, the Nationals are counting on even more out of their left fielder, who's become the most feared hitter in Washington's lineup."

Juan Soto hasn't let success dull love for game - (Washington Times)
"Juan Soto could have walked into the clubhouse at the Washington Nationals’ spring training complex in West Palm Beach with a Mike Tyson-like entourage. He could have strutted into the room like a social media GIF."

Think Soto had a good '19? Don't tell him that - (MLB.com)
"How does belting five home runs in the postseason en route to a World Series championship and making a name for himself in Major League Baseball change Juan Soto’s mindset heading into Spring Training?"

Zimmerman Speaks:

Healthy Zimmerman sets goal to avoid IL in 16th MLB season - (MASN)
"Zimmerman has avoided at least a brief trip to the IL only once in the last nine seasons. He has failed to play in at least 100 games in four of the last six seasons."

Cabbage Race + more:

Sean Doolittle says Rob Manfred seems 'out of touch' after trophy joke - (NBC Sports Washington)
"'It bothered me, man. I hated it. It made him sound really out of touch,' said reliever Sean Doolittle, a member of the 2019 title-winning Washington Nationals."

Yan Gomes was briefly a free agent but didn't want to 'restart' with a whole new team - (NBC Sports Washington)
"There was a brief time last offseason when Yan Gomes was a free agent. This was new. He had just won the World Series, everything was fantastic, a $9 million team option existed on his contract, then he was unemployed. Briefly."

The champs are here: Cabbage race, Soto arrive at Nats camp - (Washington Times)
"(And two of the reasons the Nationals did what they did last season — and, more significantly, figure repeating is a realistic goal to pursue this season — also showed up Monday: Soto and an enthusiastic cabbage race."

Notes: Kieboom prepared for 3B; 'Cabbage Day' - (MLB.com)
"The Nats commemorated National Cabbage Day with a race among pitchers and catchers divided into Team Scherzer and Team Strasburg."

Davey Martinez provides some clarity on the Nationals’ infield plans - (NBC Sports Washington)
"If things go according to plan for the Nationals, top prospect Carter Kieboom will show promise at third base and Castro won’t need to get many reps there."

All of the Nationals have arrived at spring training, and so has the post-World Series glow - (WaPost)
"Hammers nailed in '2019 WORLD CHAMPIONS' signs around the facility. Names were yelled as position players trickled into a buzzing clubhouse. Cabbages were smashed in a spirited relay race, which served as a team-building exercise and doubled as Washington’s celebration of National Cabbage Day for a second straight year."

The infield and catching plans, cabbage race and title sign - (MASN)
"If it wasn’t already clear before, Davey Martinez today made his plan for the Nationals infield this spring very clear."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Examining Kris Bryant’s Trade Value - (FanGraphs)
"If the Cubs want young pitching, they aren’t likely to get it from the Nationals, who don’t have a strong farm system. The only real possibility is a one-for-one swap of top prospect Carter Kieboom for Bryant, as the Nationals need all the other young talent..."

Washington Nationals Are At Spring Training And ... Smashing Cabbages? - (DCist)
"The first few days of National’s spring training have been centered on the Houston Astros, whose sign-stealing practices are now widely known, and who the Nats still beat for a World Series title."

Astros, Nationals have odd first day of work at spring training - (USA TODAY)
"Their sign-stealing scandal roiled the industry all winter, and draped against the Nationals’ backdrop, only looks all the worse as they take a media pummeling while the Nationals figure out where, exactly, to fit all the championship signage on their side of the facility."

Millbrook senior scores scholarship to baseball analytics conference - (Winchester Star)
"Last fall while some of her classmates were at homecoming festivities, Millbrook High School senior Sophia Young was at a Washington Nationals baseball game."

EDITORIAL: Take me out to the (hometown) ballgame - (fredericksburg.com)
"For baseball fans in the Fredericksburg area, this will be a spring like no other. Real baseball fans have a special appreciation for the minor league game."

Here’s what the other NL East managers have to say about Braves in 2020 - (WSB-TV2)
"Nationals manager Dave Martinez: 'They’re going to be tough. They’re always tough. They won divisions two years in a row. My focus and my concern is the Washington Nationals and what we did. I think we filled in some voids that we needed.'"

NL EAST UPDATES:

Joe Girardi asks Phillies players to give him their hearts — and their trots - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Joe Girardi officially opened his first Phillies spring training camp by telling the players to give him their hearts."

Luis Rojas quickly shows Mets he isn't messing around - (NY Post)
"Luis Rojas’ first full-squad meeting with the Mets on Monday included a show of hands as to how many players had previously played in the minor leagues for the new manager."

Marlins brass tout improved talent level after 105-loss season - (South Florida Sun Sentinel)
"Even the Miami Marlins can be optimistic at the start of spring training, which is why president of baseball operations Michael Hill stood facing the practice fields before the first full-squad workout Monday and didn't flinch at what's to come."

After string of adversity, Charlie Culberson begins bid to make Braves... - (AJC.com)
"For Culberson, the Braves’ human Swiss Army knife, those swings unofficially began his comeback."