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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ pitchers and catchers report next week + Nats’ infield mix for 2020 + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we all wait for the official start of Spring Training next week...

St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

At this point next week, pitchers and catchers will have already reported to Spring Training and Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez will have addressed the media gathered in West Palm Beach, FL for the first time. So, enjoy your last few days of the offseason while we all wait for the defense of the Nats’ World Series crown to officially kick off. For now: Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Phil Rizzo, Mike’s father, lived a baseball life that won’t happen again - (WaPost)
"Phil Rizzo’s death isn’t just another old baseball man, his life lived fully, passing on. It is the end of an era."

Heart of Nationals’ lineup was NL East’s best in 2019. Will it be once again in 2020? - (NBC Sports Washington)
"As far as the middle of the order goes, the Nationals will hope that Kendrick and Zimmerman can stay healthy splitting time with the likes of Castro, Thames and Asdrúbal Cabrera."

New-look infield must answer plenty of questions this spring - (MASN)
”Third base is legitimately up for grabs this spring, the first time that’s ever happened since the franchise arrived in D.C.”

The big question for Nats: Can they repeat? - (MLB.com)
"While the rotation is intact, addressing the vacancy left by Anthony Rendon is key to making another title run."

Former manager A.J. Hinch thinks it is fair to ask if the Astros title is tainted - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Questions remain about who was the ultimate architect of their schemes, but manager A.J. Hinch, who has since been fired by the Astros, was one of the people responsible."

Baseball America Nats No. 8 prospect: RHP Mason Denaburg - (MASN)
"The Nationals would like to see 2018 first-round selection Mason Denaburg build innings this upcoming season after battling through nagging injuries in 2019."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Five Interesting MLB Free Agents Still Available - (Forbes)
"[Brian] Dozier was the primary second baseman last season for the Washington Nationals when they won the first World Series title in franchise history."

A Bryant blockbuster could fit for these 5 teams - (MLB.com)
"Having lost Anthony Rendon to the Angels via free agency and missed out on Josh Donaldson (signed with Twins), the Nationals’ third-base situation remains in limbo, with Asdrubal Cabrera and/or Carter Kieboom penciled in at the hot corner."

NL EAST UPDATES:

What is Kris Bryant doing with Phillies prospect Bryson Stott? - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Bryson Stott, the Phillies' first-round pick last summer out of UNLV, posted this Instagram story with Kris Bryant. Bryant, of course, has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason."

Proposed Sale Of New York Mets To Billionaire Steve Cohen Officially Called Off – (CBS New York)
"Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and the New York Mets say talks have ended over the proposed sale of a controlling share of the team from the families of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen."

'It's time to start moving forward' for Marlins - (MLB.com)
"In many ways, the third year of the build is being viewed as a turning-point season, as the franchise aims to push the wins total closer to 81."

Braves roster preview: Infield should be one of baseball’s best - (AJC.com)
"Third base is the center of the Braves’ infield conversation. Johan Camargo and Austin Riley will compete for the job in spring and, given the situation’s fluidity, quite possibly through the summer."