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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals & the NL East; Brad Hand & 2021 bullpen boost; + more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see if Carter Kieboom can lock down the third base job in Spring Training...

MLB: SEP 22 Phillies at Nationals Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Not a lot in the way of local coverage of the D.C. nine today, but there are some big picture looks at the NL East, there’s some news on a former Nationals’ reliever in the division again, and there will be pitchers and catchers in West Palm Beach, FL next week. So that’s really a milestone on the way to baseball returning to our lives we’re approaching. Try not to get all excited now though, because there are still TBSOHL jokes, bullpen sessions, live BP videos, and eventually, weeks from now, baseball (that we may/may not be able to watch) to get to before they play games that count. Go read your links for now...

NATS BEAT:

Inbox: State of the starting pitchers - (MLB.com)
"At 37 years old, [Jon] Lester already has won three World Series, thrown a no-hitter and become a five-time All-Star in 15 seasons. Yet he has big goals for the Nationals..."

Better, worse or the same in 2021: Position players - (MASN)
"Thus, the objective entering 2021 is rather simple: Be better. Hopefully better enough to return to the postseason and then make a run at another title."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Ranking the top 10 rotations in MLB after Dodgers signed Trevor Bauer - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Nationals have the potential to be No. 1 on this list by June, but first, their top starters need to re-establish themselves as All-Stars."

4 big NL pitching moves that made a deep impact – (The Athletic)
"Over the last two seasons, only one bullpen in baseball — the Red Sox (with 44) — blew more regular-season saves than the Nationals (who coughed up 39)."

The Shifting Relief Pitcher Landscape - (RotoGraphs)
"Brad Hand signed a one year $10.5 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals for the 2021 season. In the grand scheme of things, this is tremendous for the Nationals because their bullpen is beyond scary, in a bad way."

Who'll win the NL East? Experts weigh in - (MLB.com)
"Who will win the National League East? A compelling argument can be made for all five teams."

NL East teams at the start of spring training - (Washington Times)
"A team-by-team look at the National League East entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad."

30 prospects who could be stars by 2023 - (MLB.com)
"Nationals: Jeremy De La Rosa, OF - A $300,000 signee out of the Dominican Republic at age 16 in July 2018, De La Rosa has the look of becoming Washington’s next international success story."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies sign former Marlins closer Brandon Kintzler to minor-league contract - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"The Phillies have added an experienced late-game reliever to their list of bullpen candidates. Brandon Kintzler has agreed to a minor-league contract with the club, sources confirmed."

Mets, Red Sox and Royals involved in three-team trade - (New York Daily News)
"The Mets are acquiring highly touted outfield prospect Khalil Lee as part of a three-team trade."

Is Adam Duvall really a good pick-up for the Marlins? - (Fish Stripes)
"Duvall remains a powerful hitter, but showed potential signs of decline in 2020."

Moving on from Braves, Foltynewicz says, ‘kind of fuels you a little bit’ - (AJC.com)
"He was Folty again. The big smile, the big round glasses, the excited speech, a scraggly beard, and just plain effervescent."