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  1. Revisiting last winter’s transactions

    Nov 21, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

    Associated Press

    Before the offseason really heats up — I mean, heats up here in D.C. Based on last night’s earth-shattering trade, I’d say the offseason is now in full swing in both Detroit and Texas — it’s perhaps worth one final look back at last offseason. The Nationals didn’t conduct many transactions during the 2012-13 winter,…

  2. Solis, Taylor, Barrett added; Abad, Robertson dropped

    Nov 20, 2013, 8:09 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Needing to make tweaks to their 40-man roster before Thursday’s midnight deadline to protect players from being lost in next month’s Rule 5 draft, the Nationals purchased the contracts of pitchers Sammy Solis and Aaron Barrett and outfielder Michael Taylor while designating left-handers Fernando Abad and Tyler Robertson for assignment. Solis, Barrett and Taylor were…

  3. Payroll will top $120 million next season

    Nov 19, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    The Nationals have done an impressive job building a successful franchise, mostly with home-grown prospects, but there are ramifications of such an endeavor. Such as an ever-increasing payroll. When Mike Rizzo replaced Jim Bowden as general manager in 2009, the Nationals’ payroll stood at $60 million, a figure that ranked 27th among MLB’s 30 franchises.…

  4. Does the Nationals’ lineup need an upgrade?

    Nov 18, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Pose the following question — What was the biggest reason the Nationals underperformed this season? — and you’d probably get various forms of the same answer: They didn’t hit enough. Which leads to obvious questions about the possibility of upgrading the lineup this winter in hopes of fielding a more offensively productive group in 2014.…

  5. The Nationals’ all-time leaderboards

    Nov 16, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    The Nationals have been playing baseball in this town for nine years now, and with each passing season they write more and more of their own history. Which means their all-time stat leaderboards are beginning to look more and more legitimate. The first couple of times I compiled these leaderboards, the lists induced tears and…

  6. Solis impresses in Arizona Fall League

    Nov 15, 2013, 9:31 AM EDT

    File photo courtesy Bill Scheuerman

    We haven’t given as much attention this year to the Arizona Fall League as in years past — that’s unfortunately what happens when there are no Nationals prospects the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper or Anthony Rendon participating — but there have been some notable performances out west over the last month. Beginning with…

  7. My 2013 National League MVP ballot

    Nov 14, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    One of the great perks — and daunting responsibilities — of serving as a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is the opportunity to vote on MLB’s major postseason awards. The BBWAA annually hands out four awards in each league: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, and…

  8. Hot Stove League firing up earlier than usual

    Nov 14, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    Associated Press

    If you’ve ventured outside the last couple of days and felt the shock of a cold, sustained wind strike your face, you know we’ve been getting a early taste of winter here in the D.C. area. And if you’ve been following news out of the baseball world the last week or so, you also know…

  9. What would Nats have to give up for an elite starter?

    Nov 13, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    It’s no secret Mike Rizzo would like to acquire another starting pitcher this winter, and it’s clear the Nationals general manager is willing (if not eager) to explore the trade market for such a pitcher. And there are two legitimately elite starters out there right now who could be dealt: David Price and Max Scherzer.…

  10. The need for more coaching continuity

    Nov 12, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    The Nationals can’t begrudge Trent Jewett for leaving the organization and accepting a job as the Mariners’ new bench coach. Jewett has longstanding ties to Lloyd McClendon and wanted to become the new Seattle manager’s right-hand man, giving up his third base coaching job in D.C. There’s nothing wrong with that, and the Nationals won’t…

  11. Free agency primer: Catchers

    Nov 9, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    With MLB free agency officially underway — don’t get too excited yet, because players typically don’t start signing for several more weeks — we’re taking a broad look at players the Nationals could pursue, based on positions of possible need. We conclude today with backup catchers… The Nationals have believed for some time now that…

  12. Free agency primer: Bench players

    Nov 8, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    With MLB free agency officially underway — don’t get too excited yet, because players typically don’t start signing for several more weeks — we’re taking a broad look at players the Nationals could pursue, based on positions of possible need. We continue today with bench players… The Nationals’ bench, touted as a real strength on…

  13. Free agency primer: Lefty relievers

    Nov 7, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    With MLB free agency officially underway — don’t get too excited yet, because players typically don’t start signing for several more weeks — we’re taking a broad look at players the Nationals could pursue, based on positions of possible need. We continue today with left-handed relievers… Throughout spring training, the Nationals insisted they didn’t need…

  14. Desmond wins 2nd straight Silver Slugger Award

    Nov 6, 2013, 6:31 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Ian Desmond no longer is recognized only in Washington as one of baseball’s best shortstops. The rest of the sport clearly recognizes it, too. Desmond won his second straight Silver Slugger Award on Wednesday night, deemed once again the best offensive shortstop in the National League by managers and coaches. One year after boasting three…

  15. Nationals announce spring training schedule

    Nov 6, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    The Nationals announced their 2014 spring training schedule on Wednesday, a 31-game exhibition slate that begins Feb. 28 against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and concludes March 29 against the Tigers in Washington. The Nationals haven’t announced reporting dates yet, but pitchers and catchers will arrive in Viera, Fla., in mid-February for what…

  16. Free agency primer: Starting pitchers

    Nov 6, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    With MLB free agency officially underway — don’t get too excited yet, because players typically don’t start signing for several more weeks — we’re going to take a broad look at players the Nationals could pursue, based on positions of possible need. We start today with starting pitchers… If it seems like the Nationals always…

  17. Williams on “aggressive” approach to baseball

    Nov 5, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    There is much we already know about Matt Williams. We know he was an intense competitor during his 17 big-league seasons. We know he is an excellent communicator based on his post-playing career as a broadcaster and coach. And we know he believes in the importance of defense based on his own track record (four…

  18. Detwiler, Garcia come off 60-day DL

    Nov 4, 2013, 3:14 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    The Nationals officially activated Ross Detwiler and Christian Garcia off the 60-day disabled list, required procedural moves that transfer both pitchers back onto the club’s 40-man roster for the offseason. Detwiler dealt with a lingering back injury much of the season that ultimately was diagnosed as a herniated disc. The left-hander was limited to 13…

  19. Knorr embraces role as Williams’ bench coach

    Nov 4, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Randy Knorr knew he had overwhelming support from players, not to mention Davey Johnson. He felt his interview with Mike Rizzo and members of the Lerner family a few weeks ago went well. And, he admitted, there was a point when he really thought he was going to be the next manager of the Washington…

  20. Williams adds LeCroy, Weidemaier to coaching staff

    Nov 2, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

    Associated Press

    The Nationals will keep most of their coaching staff intact despite a change in managers, a decision both Mike Rizzo and Matt Williams agreed upon, but they will have two new coaches in uniform next season, including one who will hold a brand-new position. Matt LeCroy, who played for the Nationals in 2006 and has…

  21. Williams ready to put his stamp on Nationals

    Nov 1, 2013, 6:34 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Rarely does any manager — let alone a first-time manager with only four years of big-league coaching experience — take over a club with few obvious roster holes and the expectation of immediate success. So as Matt Williams, on his first official day as manager of the Nationals, contemplated what needs to be fixed on…

  22. Roster review: Tyler Moore

    Nov 1, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Age on Opening Day 2014: 27 How acquired: 16th round pick, 2008 draft MLB service time: 1 year, 106 days 2013 salary+bonuses: $493,000 Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2016, free agent in 2019 2013 Stats (Nats only): 63 G, 178 PA, 16 R, 37 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 0 SB, 8…

  23. Rizzo on Williams: “The best candidate available”

    Oct 31, 2013, 11:25 AM EDT

    Photo courtesy Washington Nationals

    Updated at 1:25 p.m. Mike Rizzo had known Matt Williams for roughly 14 years and for much of that time had considered the All-Star third baseman a “manager-in-training.” But Rizzo insists he didn’t settle on Williams as the Nationals’ new manager until after the 47-year-old Diamondbacks coach formally interviewed for the job earlier this month…

  24. Roster review: Scott Hairston

    Oct 31, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Age on Opening Day 2014: 33 How acquired: Traded from Cubs for RHP Ivan Pineyro and player-to-be-named, July 2013 MLB service time: 8 years, 102 days 2013 salary+bonuses: $2.5 million Contract status: Signed for $2.5 million in 2014 (Cubs will pay $500,000 of that), free agent in 2015 2013 Stats (Nats only): 33 G, 62…

  25. Roster review: Taylor Jordan

    Oct 30, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Age on Opening Day 2014: 25 How acquired: 9th round pick, 2009 draft MLB service time: 93 days 2013 salary+bonuses: $490,000 Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2017, free agent in 2020 2013 Stats: 9 G, 51.2 IP, 59 H, 27 R, 21 ER, 11 BB, 29 SO, 3 HR, 1.355 WHIP, 1-3, 3.66 ERA, 3.49 FIP,…

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 69 4.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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