Just one day until pitchers and catchers for the Washington Nationals report to West Palm Beach, FL for the official start of Spring Training. It’s exciting, yes, but it’s also just the start of things for the 2021 Nats. There’s still a lot of building to come as pitchers ramp up to get ready for Opening Day and go through the first bullpens, live BPs, and eventually Grapefruit League games. Will they get through it without serious setbacks or outbreaks that slow the build down? We’ll see. But for now, we can celebrate almost having baseball back. Go read your links...
Dr. Fauci has a different plan if ever invited to throw out another first pitch - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The last time Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading coronavirus expert, threw a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game, it, uh...didn't go so well."
Nats' Top 5 homegrown Draft picks - (MLB.com)
"Since 2005, the Nationals have selected franchise-changing talents in the June Draft."
The NL East should be MLB's best and most competitive division - (WaPost)
“For practical purposes, the current constitution of the National League East began in 2012 — the year the Washington Nationals ended a run of six straight losing seasons and won the franchise’s first division title.”
None of tonight’s Jeopardy!contestants even attempted to guess an answer. pic.twitter.com/xaKrXH39UV— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) February 16, 2021
Spring training storylines: Another chance for Kieboom - (MASN)
"Some, however, wondered if there was a sixth position that needed to be addressed all along: a third baseman. Were the Nats truly confident in onetime top prospect Carter Kieboom?"
MLB's top free agents still earned big deals despite slow offseason - (Washington Times)
"The MLB offseason — often dubbed the “Hot Stove” for the rapid and rampant wheeling and dealing for free agents — has long simmered down to the faintest of boils. This winter, especially, proved particularly tepid."
Season Preview: Washington Nationals - (Baseball Prospectus)
"The Nationals' last two years: up and down. The right direction in 2021 depends on a lot of players' stock going up."
PECOTA Hates Your Team: Washington Nationals - (Baseball Prospectus)
"Full of aging personnel and projected to be middle of the road, it's hard to distinguish the Nationals from the other power players in DC."
Ready or Not, Baseball Begins Spring Training This Week - (The New York Times)
"Several other teams made multiple win-now moves, like the Yankees (Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon), the Mets (Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, James McCann, Trevor May, Aaron Loup), the Minnesota Twins, the Washington Nationals and even the Kansas City Royals..."
Offseason MLB power rankings: Which teams had the best winter? – (The Athletic)
"General manager Mike Rizzo made a series of intriguing moves this winter."
National League Spring Training Team Capsules - (Fulton Sun)
"After Washington went from World Series champion in 2019 to tied for last in the N.L. East in 2020, GM Mike Rizzo set out to fill some obvious holes while turning over a chunk of the roster..."
NL EAST UPDATES:
Braves announce non-roster invitees to spring training - (AJC.com)
"Outfielder Drew Waters, who will be the organization’s No. 1 position player prospect when expected starting center fielder Cristian Pache graduates, leads the youngsters."
Phillies add veteran Travis Jankowski to center field competition - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"The Phillies have added a late contestant to their spring training outfield competition."
Mets add Kevin Pillar in MLB free agency - (NY Post)
"The Mets made another upgrade to their outfield, agreeing to a one-year contract with free agent Kevin Pillar on Monday, The Post’s Mike Puma confirmed."
Pillar Mets deal: Creative contract that guarantees $5M over 1 year, and potentially goes up to $10M over 2.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 16, 2021
Marlins' focus? 'Progress every single year' - (MLB.com)
"If you had to describe the Marlins' 2021 mantra in one word, it would be progress."