Washington Nationals – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-09-19T13:03:30Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nationals, Fresno Grizzlies Announce Triple-A Affiliate Agreement]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133028 2018-09-18T20:59:06Z 2018-09-18T20:59:06Z The Nationals announced Tuesday that they’ve reached an agreement with the Fresno Grizzlies to serve as their new Triple-A affiliate. The newly agreed upon player development contract (PDC) is a two-year arrangement.

The Nats reportedly had interest in partnering with the Nashville Sounds, which would’ve been a much more favorable geographic and logistical arrangement for the organization. Instead, their top minor league affiliate will now be nearly 2800 miles from Nationals Park in Washington D.C.

Previously, the Nationals’ top affiliate had been located in Syracuse, though the Mets purchased the Chiefs last season in order to put an end to the sizable gap between their previous Triple-A affiliate, Las Vegas, and their home park.

The Nats were one of five teams — joined by the Astros, Rangers, Brewers and Athletics — vying for five affiliate spots as recently as this weekend. But with the Astros agreeing to a PDC with the Round Rock Express, the A’s teaming up with the Las Vegas 51s, the Brewers partnering with the San Antonio Missions and the Rangers just recently announcing a new PDC with the Nashville Sounds, the Nationals didn’t have much in the way of previously established alternatives.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Dave Martinez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132973 2018-09-18T05:33:17Z 2018-09-18T02:07:21Z More broadly, Janes speaks with more than a half dozen Nationals players (and has lengthy quotes from most) who vouch for Martinez. Shortstop Trea Turner and outfielder Adam Eaton are both adamant in their praise for Martinez, while veteran reliever Sean Doolittle describes the manner in which Martinez’s communication with the bullpen has continually improved over the course of the season. Janes points to the strong praise for Martinez from his players as proof that he has not lost the clubhouse, noting that former Nats manager Matt Williams was unable to maintain this level of support in a disappointing 2015 campaign.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez has drawn his fair share of scrutiny over the course of the season, but Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post writes that his job appears safe for the time being. General manager Mike Rizzo recently said he hasn’t considered a scenario where Martinez doesn’t return, and Janes reports that Nationals ownership deferred to Rizzo’s statement when she asked the Lerner family for comment on the matter.

More broadly, Janes speaks with more than a half dozen Nationals players (and has lengthy quotes from most) who vouch for Martinez. Shortstop Trea Turner and outfielder Adam Eaton are both adamant in their praise for Martinez, while veteran reliever Sean Doolittle describes the manner in which Martinez’s communication with the bullpen has continually improved over the course of the season. Janes points to the strong praise for Martinez from his players as proof that he has not lost the clubhouse, noting that former Nats manager Matt Williams was unable to maintain this level of support in a disappointing 2015 campaign.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Five Teams Set For Potential Triple-A Affiliate Changes]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132950 2018-09-17T14:16:54Z 2018-09-17T14:16:13Z The majority of clubs throughout Major League Baseball have already announced that they’ve renewed their player development contracts with their Triple-A affiliates, but there are still five clubs that don’t have a clear plan in place just yet. Notably, the Astros and the Fresno Grizzles announced yesterday that they will not be renewing their partnership. As MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart writes, that should pave the way for the ’Stros to land in Round Rock (where they previously had their Triple-A club for a decade). Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said a return to Round Rock is “at the top of our list,” McTaggart notes, adding that the Ryan family owns the Round Rock Express.

That move, of course, would leave the Rangers searching for a new affiliate, though Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News wrote over the weekend that the Rangers could well end up in San Antonio, where a Triple-A franchise will be added as Colorado Springs loses its Triple-A designation (a move that’ll leave the Brewers, currently in Colorado Springs, looking for a new home as well). As Fraley explores, the facilities to which the Rangers could relocate in San Antonio are currently lacking, which could potentially prove detrimental in pursuing minor league free agents. However, sticking in Texas would come with greater marketing opportunities and a preexisting fan base from which to draw.

The Brewers, Nationals and Athletics are the three other clubs that are yet undecided on next year’s affiliations. The Nats will be seeking a new partner following the post-2017 announcement that the Mets had purchased the Syracuse Chiefs (securing a much-needed geographic upgrade over their current home in Las Vegas). The Athletics, in similar fashion, would reap significant geographic benefits by moving from their current home in Nashville to either Fresno or Las Vegas.

Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Journal-Review notes that the Nationals have expressed interest in moving to Nashville, while Bryant-Jon Anteola of the Fresno Bee suggests that the A’s would likely have their pick between Fresno and Las Vegas, as both would prefer to partner with the Athletics for geographic reasons, giving Oakland the advantage. That’ll present the A’s with the decision of whether to play in California or move to a newly constructed facility Vegas and seems likely to leave the Brewers with an even larger gap between their big league club and their top minor league affiliate, though they’ll be moving into improved facilities either way.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jeremy Hellickson Done For Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132905 2018-09-16T03:32:29Z 2018-09-16T03:32:29Z Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson may have thrown his last pitch as a member of the Nationals. The pending free agent re-injured his right wrist during an at-bat Saturday, and he told reporters afterward that he won’t return this season (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). Saturday’s start was the first in a month for Hellickson, who had been on the shelf with a sprained wrist. Injuries notwithstanding, this will go down as a successful season for Hellickson after he had to settle for a minor league deal over the winter. The 31-year-old posted a 3.45 ERA/4.22 FIP with 6.41 K/9, 1.97 BB/9 and a 45.9 percent groundball rate in 91 1/3 innings.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Ryan Zimmerman Discusses Future]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132819 2018-09-15T15:01:25Z 2018-09-15T15:01:25Z Zimmerman, who turns 34 later this month, is owed $18MM next season, plus the Nats hold a $18MM club option on his services for 2020.  He acknowledged that he won’t be making such superstar money in the future, saying “At some point, if you want to be here, you have to make some sacrifices. I’m not going sit here and say I’m willing to play for the league minimum, but for me to play here would be the ultimate goal, to finish my career here.”

Ryan Zimmerman feels he has “two, three, four years left” in his career and he wants to spend them with the Nationals, the veteran first baseman tells MLB.com’s Bill Ladson as part of a lengthy Q&A piece, admitting that “It would be really weird to play anywhere else.”  It seemed as if Zimmerman’s time as an effective everyday player was winding down after injury-shortened seasons in 2014-16, though he rebounded with a healthy and productive 2017 season.  This year has been more of a mixed bag, as Zimmerman missed over two months with an oblique injury but has hit well (.267/.343/.506 in 286 PA) when he has been able to play.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Notes: Harper, D-Backs, Buchholz, Senzel, DeGrom]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132775 2018-09-14T05:31:33Z 2018-09-14T05:31:33Z As ever, there’s plenty of water-cooler chatter about the eventual destination of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who — had you not heard? — is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Particularly for fans of a Nats organization that is just weeks away from wrapping up a brutally disappointing campaign, it’s a subject of much attention. So eyebrows were raised recently at comments from Harper and, especially, club president of baseball ops/GM Mike Rizzo that could be interpreted as hinting at a reunion. In an appearance on MLB Network (Twitter link), Harper at least acknowledged a reunion is possible, saying that “it’s going to be an exciting future for the Nationals, and we’ll see if I’m in those plans.” Innocuous enough, to be sure, but perhaps the line could be interpreted as a wink toward contract talks. As for Rizzo, Chris Lingebach of 106.7 The Fan rounded things up. Those interested in parsing the words fully should click the link, but the key phrase at issue from Rizzo is his statement that he “won’t discuss [negotiations with Harper’s camp] until there’s something to announce.” Did the tight-lipped, hard-nosed GM tip his hand? It’s at most an arguable point.

From this vantage point, there’s enough here to make you think, but hardly a clear indication as to how Harper’s fascinating free agency will turn out. Here’s the latest from the National League:

  • The Diamondbacks had held a strong position in the postseason race for much of the season, but as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes, they’re now left hoping for a memorable late-season comeback to get in. “[B]reakdowns occurring in every facet of their game,” Piecoro writes, have spurred a ghastly 4-16 run that has reversed the team’s fortunes. Unfortunately, odds are that the Arizona club will head back to the drawing board at season’s end — while watching two significant players (A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin) hit the open market. Still, it’s notable that the club has largely followed up on its successful 2017 campaign, as the thought in some quarters entering the year was that there wasn’t really enough talent to keep pace.
  • As is also covered in the above-linked piece, the D-Backs suffered an unwelcome blow in advance of tonight’s loss when they were forced to scratch righty Clay Buchholz. The veteran hurler has been an immense asset for Arizona, throwing 98 1/3 innings of 2.01 ERA ball since joining the club in mid-season as a minor-league signee. He’s now headed to Phoenix for testing, though the hope still seems to be that he’ll return this year. Regardless, it’s unfortunate news for the team but even more disappointing for the 34-year-old, who has dealt with plenty of health problems of late and will be reentering the open market at season’s end.
  • It has long been wondered what the Reds Baseball America points outwill do when they are ready to call up top prospect Nick Senzel, who’s blocked at his natural position of third base. We may be seeing the hints of an answer; as , Senzel is listed as an outfielder in the organization’s instructional league roster. That hardly guarantees anything, of course, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Senzel — who’s opportunity for a late-2018 callup was taken by a finger injury — come into camp in 2019 looking to crack the roster in the corner outfield. Just how it’ll all play out, though, remains to be seen.
  • Speaking of top prospects … among his many notes today, Jon Heyman of Fancred writes that the Mets took a targeted approach to discussions with other teams regarding ace righty Jacob deGrom. As Heyman puts it, the New York organization “focused” on the handful of clubs it deemed to have assets worth haggling over. When those teams weren’t willing to give up their best young assets, talks sputtered. Heyman cites “the Blue Jays, Braves, Padres, Yankees, and perhaps to a lesser extent the Brewers” as clubs that were engaged. But the ultra-premium prospects and young MLB players in those organizations simply weren’t on offer. It’s hard to argue with the Mets’ rationale; deGrom reached a new level this season, after all, and certainly shouldn’t be parted with by a major-market club for less than a compelling return.
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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nationals Activate Jeremy Hellickson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132706 2018-09-12T18:50:29Z 2018-09-12T18:50:29Z The Nationals announced today that they have activated righty Jeremy Hellickson from the disabled list. He had been sidelined since suffering a wrist sprain during his last outing on August 15th.

It’s too late now for Hellickson to help the Nats crawl back into contention. And he wouldn’t be eligible for the postseason if moved via trade. He will, however, add another arm to the mix while showcasing showcase for his own upcoming free agency.

Hellickson has neared the open market under quite different circumstances twice already. He received a qualifying offer from the Phillies after a strong 2016 campaign, but pitched poorly in 2017 after taking the hefty one-year deal. That set up a disappointing first foray into free agency, when he settled for a minors deal in D.C. in the middle of Spring Training.

Hellickson’s current contract came with only a $2MM base salary, though it did also include up to $4MM in incentives. Details on that clause have not yet been publicized, though it’s certainly possible that new thresholds could still be within reach.

To this point of the season, Hellickson has thrown 88 1/3 innings over 18 starts. That’s an average of less than five frames per outing, though that usage was by design rather than a reflection of poor pitching. In fact, Hellickson has thrived in this carefully controlled role, working to a 3.57 ERA with 6.5 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 along with a career-best 46.2% groundball rate.

In most ways, Hellickson looks to be much the same pitcher he always has been. By mostly eliminating his exposure to opposing lineups for a third time in a given outing, though, the Nats have lopped off his typically dreadful results in such situations. Perhaps that approach best explains the good year; of course, he’s also allowing only a .254 BABIP and is outperforming the expectations of ERA estimators (4.25 FIP, 4.20 xFIP, 4.27 SIERA).

What that’s worth on the open market remains to be seen. But Hellickson has surely thrown well enough to warrant a deal that comes with a 40-man spot. It should help that he’ll have a chance to tamp down any health questions by returning for the last few weeks of the season, even if that means working out of the bullpen.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Extension Candidate: Anthony Rendon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132628 2018-09-11T14:15:56Z 2018-09-11T04:18:02Z The Nationals will watch their best-known, homegrown position player hit the open market this season. But the team still has another season of control over another top draft choice who made good on his promise, potentially creating an opening for long-term talks.

Sure, Bryce Harper is the bigger star and the more visible talent. But since Anthony Rendon turned into a regular in 2014, he has out-WAR’ed Harper. That’s particularly true over the past three seasons, as Rendon has churned out quality campaigns while Harper’s 2015 MVP effort has faded into memory.

The shadow hanging over Rendon seems to suit his personality. But it has seriously obscured his productivity. Since the start of ’14, he’s among the ten biggest position-player WAR producers in the game, yet he somehow hasn’t yet been named to an All-Star team. True, Rendon has twice finished among the top-ten in the MVP vote, but his profile remains much lower than the quality of his play would support — not even close to that of his long-time teammate.

It’s somewhat surprising that the careers of Harper and Rendon have never been seen as being intertwined in any meaningful way, despite the fact that they were chosen with lofty picks in successive drafts and reached the majors on a similar timetable. There are many reasons for that fact, but it’s all the more interesting to ponder given that there could be a very tangible way in which their outlook is connected. Specifically, if the Nats decide to let Harper walk, or are unable to coax him back, they’ll have vastly more future payroll capacity to work with in pursuing a new deal with Rendon.

To be sure, the Nats have more immediate needs than a new deal with Rendon, who’ll command a healthy raise on his $12.3MM salary through arbitration. But that’s all the more true in the case of Harper, who can be replaced from within by rising young talents Juan Soto and Victor Robles. In the case of Rendon, there’s no obvious heir at third base once he reaches free agency next fall. True, Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia loom as promising young players in the infield, but neither is quite as advanced or as promising as are the outfielders.

Plus, there’s likely more value to be achieved with a Rendon deal than one involving Harper, if for no other reason than that the latter will be on the open market at a rarely-seen point of his career. Convincing Rendon to stay would cost, to be sure, and he’s also a client of Scott Boras (as are many other current and former Nats, including the recently extended Stephen Strasburg). But it is at least possible that the low-key player would be more inclined to take a slight discount to stave off some risk and maintain stability. He won’t be selling as much of his youth; though he only just turned 28, Rendon won’t reach the market at an unusually young age. And he’d also be weighing terms with another year to go before free agency, creating a lever for at least something of a discount.

Risk, to be sure, would weigh in the equation for both sides if talks take place. Beyond the usual, injuries have been a particular concern for Rendon. A variety of lower-leg ailments, involving his ankles especially, have limited him over the years — both before and during his professional career. While he turned in mostly full 2016 and 2017 seasons, Rendon ended up missing a reasonably lengthy stretch this year after suffering a hairline toe fracture on a hit-by-pitch.

That consideration might weigh down the price, but surely wouldn’t get in the way of a deal entirely. As noted above, after all, Rendon has been supremely valuable despite his medical rap sheet.

It’s also true that Rendon isn’t hitting quite as much as he did in his outstanding 2017 season, when he walked more than he struck out and produced a career-high .232 isolated power mark. But that’s not to say that he isn’t doing quite a lot with the bat. Through 511 plate appearances in 2018, Rendon carries a .298/.358/.508 slash with 19 long balls.

This, interestingly, is the most aggressive version of Rendon we’ve seen. His strikeout-to-walk numbers (14.3% vs. 8.6%) have returned to something like his career norms after the uber-patient 2017 showing. He’s swinging (48.1%) and chasing out of the zone (29.9%) more than ever, though his contact rate remains in range of his career mean.

That’s not necessarily a problem, particularly since we know he has the pitch recognition in his pocket if needed. Rendon is also making more hard contact than ever before (38.1%) this season, so much so that Statcast thinks he has been quite unlucky (.403 xwOBA vs. .366 wOBA).

It’s worth bearing in mind, of course, that Rendon is also a high-quality all-around player. He’s not stealing as often this year as in the past but grades as a well-above-average overall baserunner. With the glove, it’s worth noting a sudden downturn in DRS (from +7 to -6). But he’s still a solidly above-average performer in the view of UZR and has long drawn sterling grades from those metrics and scouts.

So, what kind of a price tag might the Nats be looking at?

In truth, we haven’t seen the veteran third base market tested through extensions for quite some time. David Wright (eight years, $138MM) and Ryan Zimmerman (eight years, $126MM) signed those contracts before Rendon was even in the big leagues. Now, they feel a bit longer and a bit lighter on annual salary than we’re likely to see in the present market. The more recent action has been on players with much greater team control remaining, largely rendering them useless for our purposes.

Neither has the free-agent market seen many premium third baggers of late. Mike Moustakas fell flat on the open market with worries over his OBP and glovework. Pablo Sandoval got five years and $95MM, representing one of the closest comps for Rendon, though the Nats’ star is surely in a higher tier altogether. Before that, Adrian Beltre’s five-year, $80MM deal stands out as a laughable bargain for the club … and also a deal that’s far too stale to have any real relevance.

Perhaps, in approaching a Rendon price tag, we ought to consider two far more recent contracts, even if they truly aren’t on all fours with Rendon’s situation. Charlie Blackmon inked a deal in advance of his walk season that put a $21MM valuation on his free-agent seasons. While he was in an older age bracket, thus obviating the value of looking at his years, Blackmon was arguably a similarly situated player in terms of quality. Of course, there’s also an argument to be made that Rendon isn’t that far shy of the ability level of Jose Altuve, who was two years from the open market when he signed a deal with an AAV of over $30MM for his age-30 through age-34 seasons. Then again, he won’t be coming off of a superlative season capped by a World Series win and MVP award.

For Rendon, who’d stand to reach free agency in advance of his age-30 season without a new deal, it’s certainly arguable that a valuation between those two makes sense. Contract length is another variable that can’t be considered in isolation; likewise, options and opt-outs are a factor. Generally, the trend is toward slightly shorter deals that leave players with chances to cut things off a few years into the deal. In this case, perhaps, Rendon would be looking at adding five or six new seasons on top of his existing 2019 arbitration contract. With an AAV range in the neighborhood of $22MM to $26MM, that puts a rough guess in the range of a $130MM new-money commitment.

It’s certainly possible that’d be a bit too rich for the Nats’ liking, especially given the injury history (the details of which they know better than other teams) and the organization’s other needs. Then again, it may not be enough for Rendon to give up the chance of testing the open market. As always, these matters come down to negotiations between parties with real-world interests that can’t simply be reduced to baseball valuations. From the perspective of the baseball market, however, the above number — with a healthy error bar on either side — seems to be a generally fair target.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nationals Activate Sean Doolittle]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132433 2018-09-07T20:20:52Z 2018-09-07T19:34:34Z The Nationals announced today that they have activated closer Sean Doolittle. He has been sidelined since mid-July with a stress reaction in his left foot.

While the initial expectation was that Doolittle would only miss a brief stretch, he ended up on the shelf for a key portion of the season in which the club failed to get back into the picture in the NL East. Now, despite some less-than-stirring recent performances from the division-leading Braves and Phillies, the Nats are buried at three games under .500 and 8.5 games off of the divisional pace.

Clearly, there’s no longer any reasonable hope that Doolittle will help his team climb back into contention. Particularly in these circumstances, and given his long-running challenges with injuries, it stands to reason that he’ll be handled carefully upon his return.

Before going on the DL, Doolittle had been one of the game’s most dominant relievers. In 37 1/3 innings, he allowed just six earned runs on a paltry 17 hits and three walks — good for an absurd 0.536 WHIP — while racking up 49 strikeouts.

Fortunately for the Nats, there are still two more seasons of control left to work with. The extension that Doolittle signed with the A’s, who dealt him to D.C. last summer, includes consecutive club options of just $6MM and $6.5MM ($500K buyout apiece) for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mike Rizzo Suggests Dave Martinez Will Return As Nationals Skipper]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132342 2018-09-05T21:25:00Z 2018-09-05T21:25:00Z In comments to the media today, Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo suggested that manager Dave Martinez is expected to stay in his position in 2019. Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com was among those on the scene (Twitter links).

Martinez has overseen a roughly .500 effort from the Nats this season, his debut campaign as a MLB manager and his first year with the organization. Needless to say, the outcomes have fallen well shy of the lofty expectations held both inside and outside the organization for a talented roster.

On the one hand, it’s not terribly surprising to hear that Martinez is expected to get another shot. “I haven’t considered any other scenario,” says Rizzo, seemingly affirming that the plan — on his end, at least — is to stay with a skipper who surely can’t be blamed for all of the team’s travails. Martinez initially signed a three-year deal, so two more campaigns remain on his contract.

On the other, this is a team that has seen loads of managerial upheaval in recent seasons, even while turning in outstanding overall results in terms of regular-season wins and losses. And Martinez has been on the receiving end of rumors of clubhouse problems, though it’s still difficult to assess those accusations and the organization’s feelings on the matter.

It’s only fair to note that, this time last year, it also seemed Dusty Baker was destined to remain in D.C. Even after another disheartening postseason exit, it was tough to pin the blame on the veteran manager. Still, he ended up not being asked back, kicking off a search that ended with the hiring of Martinez.

While there’s time yet for things to change, then, it seems the expectation ought to be that Martinez will remain in the gig for at least one more season. Rizzo says, unsurprisingly, that the organization believes it still has the core pieces in place to build a highly-competitive roster for 2019, so it seems that Martinez will be under pressure to deliver results from the jump.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nationals’ Seth Romero Undergoes Tommy John Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132300 2018-09-05T00:12:12Z 2018-09-05T00:12:12Z Nationals prospect Seth Romero underwent Tommy John surgery last week, as first reported by Todd Dybas of TheSportsCapitol.com. Washington’s first-round draft selection in 2017, Romero made just seven starts this season , with his last outing coming back on Aug. 16. Given the timing of the surgery, Romero figures to miss all of the 2019 season. The 22-year-old posted a 3.91 ERA with a 34-to-8 K/BB ratio, three homers allowed and a 43.5 percent ground-ball rate in 25 1/3 frames for the Nats’ Class-A affiliate in 2018.

Romero is typically regarded as one of the Nats’ seven best prospects, though in addition to now being faced with the recovery from a major surgery, he’s drawn questions regarding his makeup. Romero was kicked off the University of Houston baseball team prior to the MLB draft in 2017 following multiple violations of team rules, reportedly including a failed drug test and a physical altercation with a teammate. Adding onto that, Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen wrote when ranking the Nationals’ prospects back in March — Romero placed fifth — that the lefty was sent home from Spring Training due to curfew violations.

Just about any scouting report on Romero will tout his plus fastball and a potentially plus slider, and his changeup draws some potentially above-average ratings as well. Baseball Prospectus even slotted Romero in as the game’s No. 76 prospect prior to the current season. He placed sixth among Washington prospects on Baseball America’s midseason re-ranking of the system, while MLB.com currently has him seventh.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nationals Outright Tommy Milone, Promote Victor Robles, Activate Joe Ross]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132280 2018-09-04T19:56:58Z 2018-09-04T19:56:58Z The Nationals announced today that they have outrighted lefty Tommy Milone after activating him from the 10-day disabled list. That move opened a roster spot for the team’s promotion of righty Kyle McGowin, as had been expected.

In addition to McGowin, the Nats will call up outfielder Victor Robles, infielder Adrian Sanchez, and righty Austin Voth. Notably, too, the organization has activated righties Joe Ross and Erick Fedde from the DL.

It’s not terribly surprising to learn that Milone’s roster spot was put to use in another way. The 31-year-old returned to the organization with which he got his start, but functioned as a depth piece. He ended up throwing 26 1/3 innings of 5.81 ERA ball, with 23 strikeouts and only a single walk, in the majors. Milone will have the right to elect free agency now or at season’s end.

While it’s obviously quite common to see a few younger players filter up to the majors at this point in the season, the Nats have some fairly notable names moving onto the MLB roster. In particular, Robles is returning after missing a big chunk of the season due to injury. He could be an important part of the outfield picture next year.

Of arguably greater importance, as concerns the organization’s offseason plans, is the return of Ross and Fedde. The former underwent Tommy John surgery last July, while the latter had been sidelined by shoulder problems. It’s clear the Nats will be looking for starters over the coming winter, but the showing of this pair could help dictate how many and what level of arms are pursued.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nationals To Select Kyle McGowin]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132249 2018-09-04T03:25:49Z 2018-09-04T03:25:49Z The Nationals will select the contract of right-hander Kyle McGowin, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports on Twitter. He’s expected to land on the MLB roster tomorrow.

McGowin, 26, came over in the late-2016 swap that sent Danny Espinosa to the Angels. Things weren’t looking very promising for McGowin after the 2017 campaign, as he allowed more than six earned runs per nine in the upper minors.

The 2018 season, however, has been a bit of a breakout effort. In 136 2/3 innings over 22 starts, all but two of them in the upper minors, he’s carrying a 2.90 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9.

While McGowin was bypassed in the Rule 5 draft last year, that might not have been the case this coming winter. The Nats will presumably plan to carry him on the 40-man throughout the winter, so this represents an opportunity to get him some MLB experience while making a roster move that would have been necessary regardless.

It seems likely he’ll be joined in the majors at some point by Austin Adams, the other hurler who headed to D.C. in the Espinosa deal. Adams, a reliever, has already briefly reached the majors in each of the past two seasons. He turned in an interesting effort this year at Syracuse, posting a 3.50 ERA with a hefty 15.2 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Nationals To Start Erick Fedde On Tuesday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132142 2018-09-03T04:11:54Z 2018-09-03T04:11:54Z
  • The Nationals will activate right-hander Erick Fedde from the 60-day DL to start Tuesday’s game, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com writes.  Fedde has been sidelined with inflammation in his throwing shoulder, the latest in a series of injuries that has set back his young career.  Fedde has only 43 1/3 Major League innings to his name over 2017-18, though he’ll get a chance at showcasing himself in September.  As Zuckerman notes, the Nationals may use Gio Gonzalez’s former rotation spot to give starts to multiple young arms, including Fedde and possibly Joe Ross, who is on track to make his return from Tommy John surgery sometime this month.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Heyman On Bryce Harper ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132070 2018-09-02T18:57:10Z 2018-09-02T18:57:10Z
  • The Indians were the most aggressive pursuers of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper at the non-waiver trade deadline in July, according to Heyman. However, the Indians were unwilling to trade high-end pitching prospect Triston McKenzie for Harper – who’ll be a free agent at season’s end – and general manager Mike Rizzo didn’t want to deal Harper anyhow. Expectations are that the Rizzo-led Nats will do their best to re-sign Harper, Heyman suggests.
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