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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ Spring Training roster battles; Jackson Rutledge ❤️ + more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you recover from the pointy ball excitement...

Major League Baseball Suspends Spring Training Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

How will Victor Robles look when he arrives at camp? Bulked up or slimmed down and agile again? What can we expect from Juan Soto in 2021 after he won the NL batting title in 2020 (* - or “won the NL batting title in 2020’s 60 game season.”). When will the Nats announce an extension for Max Scherzer? (It’s going to happen, right?) How many ABs will the Mr. Walk-off, Ryan Zimmerman, get in Spring Training? Is baseball going to start on time this season? Should it? Where will Luis Garcia start the year? What will Carter Kieboom do with the latest opportunity? Is Starlin Castro’s right wrist good-to-go? And how will he rebound after a brief run in 2020? Will Stephen Strasburg return and contribute significant innings to the cause? Those are just the big questions we thought of in the minute or two it took us to write this intro. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

The state of the NL East heading into spring training - (MASN)
"And now that winter is turning into spring (at least, in Florida and Arizona) we’re starting to get a true sense of what each of the division’s five clubs will actually look like this season."

Rising Stars: Juan Soto - (MLB.com)
"Top moments from Juan Soto's batting title-winning season in 2020."

Which players are on Nationals' roster bubble? - (MASN)
"Some guys in camp, even some with 40-man roster spots, won’t survive the waves of roster-trimming that will be necessary to whittle more than 50 players down to a 26-man roster..."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Is Lindor NL East's top SS? Not so fast - (MLB.com)
"Turner, who has two years of team control remaining, is coming off a 2020 season in which he led the Majors with 78 hits and posted a .335/.394/.588 slash line (157 OPS+) with 12 homers and 12 steals in 59 games."

2021 Fantasy Baseball: Washington Nationals Team Outlook - Rebounding After Disappointing 2020 Campaign - (Sports Illustrated)
"The step backward in the standings came via a sharp decline in ERA (5.09 – 25th). Washington finished 10th in runs scored (293) and 22nd in home runs (66)."

These prospects just missed the Top 100 - (MLB.com)
"Jackson Rutledge, RHP, Nationals: With better feel for his mechanics, Rutledge operated with significantly better control and command and made strides in developing his curveball and changeup."

NL EAST UPDATES:

The Phillies’ biggest issue isn’t pitching depth or the bullpen. It’s a loaded NL East.
“Other than maybe the AL East, there isn’t a division that can claim four, perhaps even five teams that are simultaneously taking aim at October.”

Mets thought they had reached a deal with Trevor Bauer - (NY Post)
"There was a time in the final 24 hours of the negotiation in which the Mets believed they had reached agreement with Trevor Bauer, three sources told The Post."

Why Garrett Cooper NEEDS to play every day for the Marlins - (Fish Stripes)
"The 30-year-old, who is one of the most steady bats on the roster, should be in line for consistent at-bats in 2021."

Hey Johan Camargo, how did you do this? - (MLB.com)
"The Braves' third baseman not only homered to help lead the Dominican Republic to victory over Puerto Rico, he also made an amazing lightning-reflex play at third base to add to his highlight reel."