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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ catching corps; Alex Avila a Scherzer whisperer? + more...

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Catch up on the last 24-48 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see what Mike Rizzo has in mind for his next low-key slick move...

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers

Part of the appeal of signing on in the nation’s capital, Jon Lester told reporters last week, was the prospect of joining a deep Nationals’ rotation, which includes right-handers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg and fellow left-hander Patrick Corbin.

The 37-year-old, 15-year veteran said he was sure there is a lot he can learn from his new teammates.

“I want to talk to these guys about and see how they adjust,” Lester said as he spoke about the adjustments he’s made to stay competitive as his stuff and the league have changed in the time he’s been in the majors.

“These guys still have great stuff and a lot of good innings in them,” he explained, “and I’m just excited to see that and maybe learn something from them that can maybe apply to me getting those outs a little bit easier even though I don’t have quite the stuff that I used to.”

“I’ve gotten to know Scherzer a little bit over the years. I don’t really know Stras and Patrick that well yet, look forward to that,” Lester said at another point.

“I’m just excited to kind of dig into their minds and see how they prepare and really just stay out of the way.

“I want to be kind of a fly on the wall with this rotation and just try to help out the best that I can.”

You can help by reading your links. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Why the Nats keep finding themselves in need of catchers - (MASN)
"The Nationals have done a terrible job developing their own catchers. And as you look back through their history, that opinion is only bolstered."

Daniel Murphy, hitter extraordinaire, announces retirement - (MASN)
"'This is a beautiful game, and I really just feel humbled and blessed that it let me jump on the ride for a little bit,' Murphy told SNY in announcing his decision to retire."

Alex Avila once used fantasy football to get Max Scherzer fired up on the mound - (NBC Sports Washington)
"With the acquisition of veteran catcher Alex Avila, the Nationals have reunited Max Scherzer with an old friend."

Nationals acquire Avila, Lester - (MLB.com)
"The Nationals sign veteran catcher Alex Avila, Jon Lester's expectations for the season and more..."

RIP MEL:

Mel Antonen Nationals reporter dies - (MLB.com)
"The baseball community mourned the loss of longtime reporter Mel Antonen on Sunday."

Remembering Mel Antonen - (MASN)
“'I’m gonna beat this.' Every conversation with Mel Antonen over the past year, every email, every Zoom, every FaceTime, every single interaction included these words."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

The best division in baseball? Here's our list - (MLB.com)
"1. National League East - Baseball has a way of upending our expectations. But on paper, this is the deepest division in the game, and it’s not particularly close."

Fact check: Image of baseball fields near White House is from 1945 - (USA TODAY)
"From professional baseball games played in the wake of the Civil War to presidents throwing out first pitches, the sport of baseball has long been tied to American politics and carries a lot of history."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies drastically outspent expectations this offseason ... is it enough? - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"At this point, you have to say the Phillies have improved this offseason."

Steve Cohen's Twitter nightmare may be bad for Trevor Bauer - (NY Post)
"Surely the masterminds behind the 'Reddit Rally' did not have Trevor Bauer on their brains when they put their plan into action."

Bass on signing with Miami - (MLB.com)
"Anthony Bass describes his excitement to move to Miami and play for the Marlins after signing a two-year deal with the club."

Report: Braves sign reliever Carl Edwards to minor-league deal - (AJC.com)
"The Braves signed right-handed reliever Carl Edwards to a minor-league deal Friday, according to multiple reports."