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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ prospect rankings; Carter Kieboom stories; Mr. National had suitors outside D.C. + more...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before Max Scherzer takes the mound against the O’s this afternoon...

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Washington Nationals v Houston Astros Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

There’s some Carter Kieboom talk below. Skipper Davey Martinez and GM Mike Rizzo talk about the World Series win one more time. There is lineup talk (with the necessary caveat that lineups are not high on the list of concerns in the front office). Mr. National talks about season No. 16 in the nation’s capital (and the fact that there was some interest from teams outside of D.C. this winter) Just dig in. Also: Max Scherzer is pitching today. Go read your links.

NATS BEAT:

Carter Kieboom one of the most promising members of the rookie Class - (Washington Times)
"Anthony Rendon’s departure in free agency created an opening at third base for the Nationals, and the reigning World Series champions are looking to Kieboom to fill the role. Kieboom spent most of last year with Triple-A Fresno, hitting .303 with 16 homers and 79 RBIs in 109 games."(

Davey Martinez and Mike Rizzo look back at the moments right after the Nationals won the World Series - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Amidst the celebration on the field at Minute Made Park, Rizzo and Martinez found one another and embraced in a big hug, both with huge grins on their faces."

Shuck may be valuable two-way player for Nats - (MLB.com)
"A popular meme from a few years ago said to 'get you a man who can do both.' The Nats have done just that in non-roster invite JB Shuck."

Sean Doolittle, Nationals’ top relievers easing into spring training - (WaPost)
"The left-hander, whose normal heavy metal intro music was replaced by 'Cotton-Eyed Joe,' allowed just one flare single to left while striking out two New York Mets over 15 pitches (10 strikes)."

Martinez on Kieboom, Harris, Robles and World Series (Nats win 3-2) - (MASN)
"Martinez has made a point of having 'daily conversations' with Kieboom to ensure him that the Nationals believe in him."

How Nationals plan to protect Soto without Rendon - (106.7 The Fan)
"Nationals GM Mike Rizzo doesn't expect a significant drop-off from Juan Soto with Anthony Rendon now on the Angels."

Other teams had interest in Ryan Zimmerman, but there was never a consideration he would leave the Nationals - (NBC Sports Washington)
“'Everyone knew I wasn’t gonna sign,' Zimmerman said on the Sports Junkies Monday. 'But we had probably four or five teams call.'"

Versatile Bonifacio has utility role down to a science - (MASN)
"What does Bonifacio remember about his time as a National on that 59-102 team? 'Not much,' he laughed. 'Wally and (Ryan) Zimmerman. That’s about it.'"

The Nationals’ batting order used to generate itself. That won’t be the case this season - (WaPost)
"Before getting into the most likely ways they will do that, know this: Analytics departments will tell you that, of the minutiae about which to obsess — and there are plenty — the construction of the lineup ranks well down the list."

Daniel Hudson, World Series closer, still can’t forget being cut last spring - (WaPost)
"Manager Dave Martinez thought Hudson started well, even though his first two batters doubled and singled."

Mike Rizzo on playoff expansion: ‘I don't know how it could get more exciting than it was last year’ - (NBC Sports Washington)
“'I like it the way it is. I don’t know how it could get more exciting than it was last year. I guess getting more teams involved at the end, playing for something, is important.'"

Wrapping up a 3-2 victory - (MASN)
"Right now, Ross is focusing less on the fifth-starter competition and more on the notion of improving every start."

Nationals nuggets from West Palm Beach - (106.7 The Fan)
"Fresh off a World Series victory, Rizzo believes the Nationals – despite losing [Anthony] Rendon to the Angels in free agency – have a roster that's fully capable of defending their championship."

LOCAL STORIES:

Mr. National on the 2020 season - (WJLA)
"But playing time is not a number one concern for 'Mr. National' this spring, just getting the necessary at-bats to get his early-season timing down is key."

Reading with Doolittle | How one Nationals pitcher is inspiring a generation from off the mound - (wusa9.com)
"Recently, Doolittle even teamed up with United Through Reading to help children in the military become more exposed to books and reading. He even attended a Yellow Ribbon event en February to help further the cause."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Who could be this year's Nationals? How all 30 MLB teams stack up - (ESPN)
"The Nationals got 123 starts in 2019 from Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, with only Scherzer missing a chunk of time. They never really did solve the No. 5 spot in the rotation..."

Keith Law’s prospect rankings: Washington Nationals – (The Athletic)
"The Nats’ system is way down, probably the worst shape it’s been in more than a decade, with no real strengths right now and … oh, who cares? The Nats won the World Series!"

Park Vista grad Trea Turner does not forget roots even after helping Nationals to World Series title - (The Palm Beach Post)
"Sure, Trea Turner is proud to be a Park Vista High alumnus. But does the Washington Nationals’ shortstop ever boast about his Palm Beach County playing days?"

MLB preview 2020: The NL East is a pressure-packed four-team derby - (Yahoo!Sports)
"There’s a lot to watch, whether that’s young studs like Juan Soto and Ronald Acuña Jr., or ace pitchers like Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. This year? The NL East could be as entertaining as advertised."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Yankees just start of Mets' delicate Steven Matz trade dance - (NY Post)
"Mike Puma and I reported Monday that the Mets and Yankees have discussed the Mets’ surplus and the Yankees’ shortage in the starting-pitching department, with Matz the most obvious tradeable piece at Citi Field..."

Notes: Cabrera hits 100; Boxberger impresses - (MLB.com)
"There was a little more purpose in Edward Cabrera's fastball on Monday, especially after the 21-year-old surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced in the fifth inning."

He may not like it, but Freeman needs an occasional day off - (AJC.com)
"Freddie Freeman loves to play. He hates to sit for any reason, including injuries. If the doctors say it’s OK, Freeman is going to play. That work ethic is one reason Freeman is the best Braves hitter since Chipper Jones retired."

Hector Neris more indispensable than ever in 2020 - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Neris was not expected to be the Phillies’ closer in 2019. Heading into the season, David Robertson and Seranthony Dominguez both appeared to have the advantage."