Should we start writing about replays from the 2019 championship season? Should we play out a simulated 2020 season on MLB’s The Show 20 and write about it since there won’t be any real baseball played for a while now? We are all adjusting to the new reality we’re stuck in for now. We’ve spent the last few days since the abrupt end of Grapefruit League games and the announcement that the regular season would be postponed for potentially as long as a total of eight weeks, catching up on TV shows (Season 3 of The Deuce; Season 3 of the Netflix show Babylon Berlin; Kidding on Showtime + more) and reading out in the warming weather (Caroline Weber’s Proust’s Duchess - a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist; Sword Daughter - Brian Wood’s graphic novel series; HP Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness; and Shaun Tan’s The Inner City). It’s really our first break since we took some time to rest in November, after a long-a$$ season and some serious celebrating. But then it was the Winter Meetings, the holidays; travel to D.C. for WinterFest, a few weeks of cranking out content, and then the start of Spring Training.
We needed a little rest, and unfortunately the current circumstances provided it.
We’ll figure out how we’re going to proceed with coverage soon, I’m like totally sure. Until then, go read your links (including a story about how baseball might skip this year’s draft, which is ... just a sign of the times, we guess). Go read your links...
NL East infields could all use Anthony Rendon - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Who will play third base? Is it Carter Kieboom? Asdrúbal Cabrera? The man on the moon? It’s not Anthony Rendon. Otherwise, things are clear."
Nationals are defending champs, but NL East has no pushovers in 2020 - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Braves and Nationals still don’t know what is happening at third base. New York thinks its bullpen will be better. The Phillies are unclear on their rotation. The Marlins are...the Marlins."
Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NL wild card game - (MASN)
"Yes, it’s time to re-watch - and re-live - the 2019 postseason. The plan is to watch all 17 games from last October, even the losses. But that plan - just like everything else in the world at this moment - is subject to change."
Hunter Strickland is gone, but he provided the most ironic moment in Nationals history - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The trajectory of Hunter Strickland’s relationship with Washington, D.C, has been an interesting one."
Nats prospect watch: Rutledge focusing on harnessing strength - (MASN)
"Over the next couple of weeks, we will ask him about several Nats' prospects, based on the MLB Pipeline Nats Top 30. We begin with the Nats’ top pitching prospect."
Which roster decisions do Nats have on hold? - (MLB.com)
"Before Spring Training ended early and Opening Day was delayed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Nationals had multiple players contending for some key roles."
Bounceback seasons will determine which NL East bullpen is the best in 2020 - (NBC Sports Washington)
"They were 29th by ERA, 25th by FIP, and 22nd in fWAR. By lore, a much less math-based assessment, the Nationals' 2019 bullpen was a gasoline truck driven into a bonfire, a GIF- and meme-producing mess..."
AP sources: MLB could skip draft; service time big issue - (APNews)
"Major League Baseball is considering skipping its amateur draft this year and putting off the next international signing period as a way to preserve cash while games are affected by the new coronavirus, people familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press."
AP sources: MLB could skip draft to preserve cash; service time a big issue in talks with union. https://t.co/SB3wI6VQgz— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) March 19, 2020
Once Upon A Fractured Season: Matt Williams And The 1994 Home Run Chase - (Forbes)
"Matt Williams shouldn’t be remembered primarily for his unsuccessful stint as Washington Nationals’ field manager; he was a pretty darned good player, a strong defender and good enough athlete to play shortstop early in his MLB career."
Breaking down MLB's top 10 rotations for 2020 - (MLB.com)
"The 102 1/3 innings Washington got from its great rotation last October was the most by a World Series champion in a single postseason since the D-backs’ 120 1/3 innings in 2001."
Here’s a homemade version of the Codebreaker algorithm — and how to break it – (The Athletic)
“'You might have been able to get the first set of signs with no one on because I kept it pretty simple, but if you’re able to crack through here …' Max Scherzer said two weeks ago as he was shown this video."
NL EAST UPDATES:
Phillies minor leaguers scrambling to make ends meet during coronavirus shutdown - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Even before spring training began, really until last weekend, Luke Leftwich figured he would spend the last half of March in daily competition for a spot in the Phillies’ triple-A bullpen.
"Instead, he will be peddling trendy yoga pants at Lululemon — and that’s if he’s lucky."
Pete Alonso makes cancer-stricken Mets fan's day - (NY Post)
"Baseball may be on hiatus, but Pete Alonso still managed to hit it out of the park for one Amazin’ fan in need of a boost."
Relive Miami's 2019 wins on FS Florida - (MLB.com)
"The regional television home of the Marlins plans to air a game per day, each starting at noon, through March 31. The game will be shown again the same night, with times varying."
Freddie Freeman pledges several donations toward coronavirus relief - (AJC.com)
"Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman won’t step up to the plate for the foreseeable future, but he did step up in helping his community on Wednesday."