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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals start Starlin Castro at third; Castro cramp; Erick Fedde option update...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we wait to see what the club does with Erick Fedde, Austin Voth, and Joe Ross...

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MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Erick Fedde’s one remaining option led many to think that he might be the odd man out this spring, as he and Joe Ross and Austin Voth battle for the fifth spot in the Nationals’ rotation, since both Ross and Voth were out of options.

So, Ross as Washington’s fifth starter, Voth as the long man, and Fedde as some depth at the Alternate Training site or in AAA eventually seemed to make sense.

According to a report by Washington Post beat writer Jesse Dougherty yesterday, however, Fedde, the 2014 1st Round pick, is now out of options too:

“[Fedde] received the fourth option in 2020 because, by last spring, he didn’t have five seasons of 90 or more days between a major or minor league roster. He then spent all of last summer with the Nationals, notching eight starts and three appearances out of the bullpen. The catch was that the shortened schedule fell well short of that 90-day mark.

“As a result, Fedde entered spring training expecting to have a fourth option. But he still filed a grievance to have 2020 count as if he’d logged 90-plus days with the Nationals. Then an arbiter granted that wish.

You can read the whole story below, to see how this all works. But long story short: The fight for the fifth spot in the Nationals’ rotation just got a bit more interesting with a week before Opening Day...

NATS BEAT:

Big Story:

Erick Fedde situation complicates state of Nationals’ bullpen - (WaPost)
“Fedde, a 28-year-old pitcher, no longer has a fourth minor league option, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.”

Castro/Kieboom/García:

Questions about Carter Kieboom, Starlin Castro and the Nationals' third base plans continue - (WaPost
“It took one glance at Tuesday’s lineup to raise some obvious questions...”

Starlin Castro getting reps at third with Nationals - (MLB.com)
"The Nationals have long said the starting third-base job is Carter Kieboom’s to earn -- it wouldn’t be given."

Nationals view Starlin Castro as potential third base solution - (Washington Times)
"Dave Martinez still envisions Carter Kieboom as the Washington Nationals’ starting third baseman when the team takes the field on opening day."

Other Nats Stories:

Wander Suero's offspeed pitches showing improvement - (MLB.com)
"A key to Wander Suero’s success this season is consistency, yet that doesn’t mean sticking to the same pitch."

Brad Hand vs. Will Smith vs. Edwin Diaz : Who’s the best RP in the NL East? - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Nationals’ biggest offseason addition lands them the No. 1 spot on these rankings with Hand immediately jumping out as the best reliever in the division."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Fantasy baseball 2021: J.D. Martinez, Buster Posey and a bounceback player on each MLB team – (The Athletic)
"Washington Nationals - Victor Robles, who hit .220 with a paltry .608 OPS and had a -0.5 fWAR. That was his follow-up to a season in which he earned votes in Rookie of the Year balloting and was worth 2.5 fWAR."

How April schedules could impact MLB playoff race - (MLB.com)
"The Nats have the single hardest April schedule of any team based on their opponents' projected winning percentage for 2021."

NL EAST UPDATES:

J.T. Realmuto homers in spring training debut - (MLB.com)
"There are plenty of reasons to think that J.T. Realmuto will be in the Phillies’ Opening Day lineup on April 1."

Mets' Pete Alonso thrilled with 'consistent spring swing' - (NY Post)
"Two years after earning a major league roster spot with inspired play in spring training, Pete Alonso is again a March beast that can’t be ignored."

Back field games allow Marlins to keep pitchers on track - (Miami Herald)
Pablo Lopez is pitching on the back fields as Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly deals with an innings crunch at the end of spring training

Braves hitters Spring Training performances - (MLB.com)
"Here’s a look at some of the ups and downs the Braves' top hitters have experienced this spring..."