Jon Lester. Ryan Zimmerman. Brad Hand. All in the last week. Mike Rizzo ain’t messing around. Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office have been hard at work since the 2020 COVID campaign finished up with Washington 24-36. After “attacking the fringes” of the roster with some low-key-ish signings and 40-man additions, a trade with the Pirates for Josh Bell and a free agent deal with Kyle Schwarber, the 2021 roster in D.C. is taking shape and the club appears to be into competing along with the rest of the bulked-up division. Catch up on the latest news.
Go read your links...
Nationals sign Hand:
Nationals bolster bullpen with top available lefty Hand - (MASN)
"Once the deal becomes official, the Nationals will have added one of baseball’s best lefty relievers over the last five seasons to a bullpen that also has three late-inning right-handers returning in Daniel Hudson, Tanner Rainey and Will Harris."
Nationals, Brad Hand agree to one-year deal - (WaPost)
“Hand’s agreement with Washington was first reported by ESPN. It is still contingent on Hand passing a physical in the coming days.”
Nationals, Brad Hand agree on 1-year deal: Sources - (The Athletic)
"Hand had long been linked to the Nationals, who are in win-now mode and a veteran-heavy team."
Report: Nationals agree to one-year contract with closer Brad Hand - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Washington also has Daniel Hudson and Will Harris as right-handed options to close out games, though it remains to be seen whether manager Davey Martinez will distinguish a single closer."
MLB free agency: Nationals, Brad Hand agree to one-year, $10.5 million deal, per reports - (CBSSports.com)
"What's interesting here is that toward the beginning of this offseason, Cleveland placed Hand on outright waivers, hoping another club would take him for one year and $10 million off its hands."
Ryan Zimmerman returns for 16th season with Nationals, eager to show what he can do - (WaPost)
“Last summer, as baseball readied to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan Zimmerman chose to stay home.”
Bell-Zimmerman combo at first base could work nicely for Nats - (MASN)
"What kind of production can the Nationals expect from their first basemen in 2021?"
#Nats' backup 1B/bench bat Ryan Zimmerman on there not being any decision on whether the NL will have a DH in '21 or not as Spring Training approaches (and teams are well into the process of building rosters, etc.): pic.twitter.com/nEGk8upBz0— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) January 23, 2021
Ryan Zimmerman's ready to show return to Nationals isn't a 'victory lap' - (Washington Times)
"What Ryan Zimmerman missed most during his one-season absence from playing wasn’t the home runs or the web gems, the standout moments from games that make the highlight reel."
Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman: 'Playing anywhere else would've been really weird' - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Ryan Zimmerman reaffirmed on Saturday what he said in December: He never wanted to play anywhere but Washington."
The coolest part of Ryan Zimmerman's one-year, $1 million contract is that it once again includes the use of Nationals Park for his charity event. He has a full no-trade clause with $500,000 in potential incentives https://t.co/QsDLS7n13w— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 23, 2021
Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman says 2021 is no ‘victory lap’ to close out career - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Zimmerman’s role will be different from what he’s been used to over the past few seasons."
Ryan Zimmerman returns to the Nationals for 2021 – (The Athletic)
"He missed his teammates. He believes he still has something left in the tank and that the Nats — a team focused on winning now — could use that something."
On Ryan Zimmerman’s inevitable return and what’s next in DC: https://t.co/rvHi1MVIzz— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) January 24, 2021
Zimmerman returns to Nats. What's his role? - (MLB.com)
"Zimmerman, 36, has played every game of his 15-year Major League career with Washington, after the franchise selected him in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2005 Draft."
Davey Johnson back home after hospital stint with COVID-19 - (MASN)
"Former Nationals manager Davey Johnson was hospitalized this week with COVID-19 but was back at his Florida home resting comfortably Friday evening."
Ryan Zimmerman seals deal with Washington Nationals, says this might not be last year - (AP/ESPN)
"Now that he's set to play for the Washington Nationals this season, Ryan Zimmerman might stick around a little longer, too."
Nats have emerged as a potential player for closer Brad Hand. They could use a lefty in pen but some question whether they have the $. Jays made a bid, Mets are monitoring, Angels and Dodgers are at least weighing Hand. Philly and Braves seek pen hep but haven’t been linked yet.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 23, 2021
Hand deal with Nats is expected to be for one year— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 25, 2021
Detroit Tigers sign Derek Holland, Drew Ward to minor-league contracts - (Detroit Free Press)
"The team signed left-handed pitcher Derek Holland — a 12-year MLB veteran — and infielder Drew Ward, a source with knowledge of the agreements told the Free Press on Saturday."
NL EAST UPDATES:
Is Atlanta a serious destination for J.T. Realmuto? - (The Good Phight)
"Could the Braves swoop in and steal Realmuto from the Phils?"
Trevor Bauer’s dark social media episode should disqualify him from Mets - (NY Post)
"They can find plenty of other ways to bolster their club, even if they want to stay under the $210 million luxury-tax threshold, without signing Bauer, who has set off red flags with his online conduct."
What Marlins pitching staff would be if 2021 season started today - (Fish Stripes)
"Although a six-man starting rotation could be appropriate as the season wears on, there are sufficient off days in early April for them to open the regular season with a conventional quintet plus eight relievers."
Aaron broke barriers during rise to Majors - (MLB.com)
"From what we know of Aaron’s 1952 season, in Eau Claire, Wis., his .336 batting average was probably worthy of a bigger promotion than the one that sent him to Jacksonville."