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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals introduce Alex Avila; Gerardo Parra signs minors deal + more Nats links...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see what other 2019 Nats find their way back to West Palm Beach...

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers

Alex Avila wasn’t signed for his bat. He does have a .295/.389/.506 season on his big league resume, but that was back in 2011. He has a high career OBP, yes, (.353 and .355 in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and .348 in 12 MLB seasons), but he is, by his own admission, not going to be hitting in the middle of the Nationals’ lineup in 2021.

“I think most likely I’ll be hitting towards the bottom of the order,” Avila said after his one-year deal with Washington was announced yesterday.

“I don’t think I’m going to be hitting fourth for this team, but my job at that point is to turn the lineup over.

“Over my career I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum as far as hitting value to the team.

“I’ve been at the top at my positions, and I’ve been towards the bottom and a lot of in-between. I try to stick to my strengths. I’ve got some power, so probably going to run into a few homers. I get on base, that’s probably been a strength of mine, and turn the lineup over.”

And provide solid defense. And work with Max Scherzer, with whom he has five years of history from the time the two spent together in Detroit. Now they’ll be reunited in D.C.

Avila said yesterday that Scherzer was the first one to reach out when the catcher signed on with the Nats, and the Nationals’ ace, said the backstop just needs to get on base in front of his batter mate.

“One of Max’s texts, he’s like, ‘You get on I’ll drive you in.’ So maybe we can get Max a few RBIs.”

Go read your links. Max is funny in a bonkers sort of way...

NATS BEAT:

Baby Shark:

Gerardo Parra gets spring training invite with Washington Nationals - (WaPost)
“The Washington Nationals have yet to release their list of nonroster invitees for spring training in West Palm Beach, Fla. But Gerardo Parra will be on it...”

Parra, 'Baby Shark' returning to DC (source) - (MLB.com)
"Washington and veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra have agreed to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand..."

Source: Parra returning to Nats on minor league deal - (MASN)
"The news, which was first reported by The Washington Post, seemingly comes out of left field."

Avila’s Official:

Alex Avila excited to work with Max Scherzer again after signing for Nationals - (Washington Times)
"No catcher in the league is more familiar with how Scherzer ticks than Avila. He caught for the ace 107 times with the Tigers, the most of any catcher in Scherzer’s career. Avila was the backstop for Scherzer’s first Cy Young award in 2013."

Alex Avila on joining Nationals - (MLB.com)
"Catcher Alex Avila discusses his decision to sign with the Nationals, catching for Max Scherzer again and what he brings to Washington..."

Avila's familiarity with Scherzer big plus for Nats - (Byron Kerr Sports)
"The 34-year-old Avila was reunited Wednesday with Scherzer, and former teammates Jon Lester and Patrick Corbin, signing a one-year deal to join the Nationals."

Other Nats Stories:

5 biggest storylines for the Nationals heading into spring training - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Since the Nationals beat the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, they’ve played just 60 games over a 15-month span. That's a long time with very little baseball."

Class off the field, Doolittle was critical to Nats' on-field success - (MASN)
"Make no mistake: Doolittle not only was the anchor of the Nats bullpen, but one of the most dominant relievers in baseball for a prolonged stretch."

Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle to join Cincinnati Reds - (WaPost)
“Doolittle, 34, was a key part of the Nationals' World Series run in 2019. Then free agency led him elsewhere.”

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Top 10 SS Right Now: Trea Turner - (MLB.com)
"Trea Turner places 5th on MLB Network's list of the Top 10 Shortstops Right Now."

Cincinnati Reds sign free-agent reliever Sean Doolittle to 1-year deal - (Cincinnati.com)
"The Reds hope that Doolittle will stay healthy and look more like the shutdown reliever he was a couple of years ago."

Denard Span hired to Rays baseball operations department - (AP/WTOP)
"Former major leaguer Denard Span was hired by the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday as a special assistant in baseball operations."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies add pitching depth, have interest in utilityman Marwin Gonzalez - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Catcher J.T. Realmuto’s deal is done. The deals for shortstop Didi Gregorius and left-handed starter Matt Moore are being finalized and will be announced soon. So what’s next for the Phillies?"

Michael Conforto hopes Mets contract talks will pick up soon - (NY Post)
"As Michael Conforto approaches his walk year, he awaits potential negotiations that would keep him with the Mets long term."

Brinson spent offseason embracing model life - (MLB.com)
"Instead of a uniform and cleats, Brinson bundled up in an Artistix sweater, a Lords & Fools Paris wool blend milor coat, Levi's jeans and Christian Louboutin sneakers."

Ian Anderson's offseason attitude - (MLB.com)
"Ian Anderson talks about gaining confidence from the Braves' managerial staff, his approach ahead of the new season and the offseason additions."