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#pounditTuesday, March 2, 2021

Articles tagged: Washington Nationals

Jon Lester, Nationals agree to 1-year deal

Jon Lester

The Washington Nationals are adding another veteran to their starting rotation.

Jon Lester and the Nats have agreed to a 1-year deal worth around a reported $5 million.

Lester has fallen off in the past two years after remarkable consistency throughout his career. In 12 starts with the Chicago Cubs in 2020, the 37-year-old posted a 5.16 ERA. His strikeouts per nine dropped to a career-worst 6.2 as well, so the Nationals may be targeting him as depth and veteran experience more than anything else.

The Nationals are not Lester’s preferred destination, but now he has a new team.

Kyle Schwarber to sign with Nationals

Kyle Schwarber

The Washington Nationals are trying to add some big bats to their lineup, and they took a gamble on one Saturday.

As first reported by Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post, the Nationals agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Kyle Schwarber. ESPN’s Jeff Passan added that Schwarber’s deal is worth $10 million.

Schwarber will likely play left field for the Nationals, though he could also fill the DH role if it is once again implemented in the National League for 2021.

Schwarber, once a highly-rated prospect, turns 28 in March. He never quite became what he was heralded to be, though he did hit 38 home runs in 2019. He hit just .188 last season, so the Nationals will be hoping for a rebound in 2021.

Some believed Schwarber would be a perfect fit for this American League contender. Ultimately, it’s the Nationals who swooped in and landed him.

Report: Nationals have interest in Yadier Molina

Yadier Molina

There appears to be a growing possibility that Yadier Molina actually could leave the St. Louis Cardinals.

Molina has received interest from multiple teams, and one fit may be the Washington Nationals, according to Robert Murray of FanSided. The Nationals are in the market for a catcher, and Molina represents a tested veteran option for a potential contender.

The Nationals have Yan Gomes under contract, but are looking for an upgrade. Nats general manager Mike Rizzo has long coveted top free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto, but the price could prove prohibitive there.

After 17 seasons with St. Louis, Molina has made clear that he would consider leaving the organization in order to keep playing. It’s likely that he’ll want a fairly regular role, so Washington might have to commit to that. However, he’ll also be less expensive than some other options.

Report: Nationals considering Kris Bryant trade

Kris Bryant

After a disappointing 2020 season, the Washington Nationals may be ready to make significant moves to get back into contention.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Nationals are considering an effort to trade for Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. The team is also monitoring a number of other hitters as they look to improve offensively.

There is certainly some reason to believe Bryant may be traded this offseason. After making $18.6 million last season, that figure is likely to top $20 million in his final season of arbitration. The Cubs don’t seem committed to him long-term, so it would make sense for the team to move him now before they lose him for nothing.

Bryant hit just .206 in 34 games in 2020. The 28-year-old is said to be one of a number of big names the Cubs could try to offload this winter.

Photo: Arturo Pardavila III/Flickr via CC-BY 2.0

Marlins have hilarious reaction to getting trounced by Nationals

Miami Marlins logo

Sunday’s game did not exactly go so well for the Miami Marlins.

The team was absolutely embarrassed by the Washington Nationals, losing by the final of 15-0. Even worse was the fact that it only took seven innings for the Nationals to hang that score on the Marlins. It was the second half of a doubleheader, and Major League Baseball is limiting doubleheader games to seven innings each this season.

The Marlins had a funny reaction to the whooping on Twitter. They tweeted a sad video montage of their mascot, Billy the Marlin, staring off into space set to the classic Enya hit “Only Time.” Take a look:

On the bright side for Miami, they did pick up a victory in the first half of the doubleheader against Washington, so the day was not a total loss. They are also 28-25 on the year, inching their way towards one of the season’s more improbable playoff berths.

Few could have expected this given the events of the last couple of months. Miami’s social media team remains consistently elite though, win or lose.

Nationals employee Jazhiel Morel fired for allegedly throwing coffee on woman

Jazhiel Morel coffee

The Washington Nationals fired team employee Jazhiel Morel for allegedly throwing two cups of hot coffee on a woman.

A video was published to Twitter on Friday by reporter Ode Polanco in the Dominican Republic. The video is shot inside a convenience store and shows Morel having an exchange with the store employee. He appears to grow upset and then tosses the contents of two cops at the woman. The cups were allegedly filled with hot coffee.

Morel ran the Nationals’ academy in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic but has since been fired.

“The Washington Nationals learned of this horrific incident earlier today and immediately terminated the employee. We do not tolerate this type of behavior in our organization,” Nationals executive Mike Rizzo told ESPN.

Morel has reportedly agreed to turn himself in to police on Monday.

Morel is from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and was a catcher for Paine College in Augusta, Ga. The convenience store worker reportedly is currently on medical leave.

Video: Nationals’ grounds crew rolls out tarp upside down

The worst nightmare of an MLB groundskeeper has to be when the decision to go into a rain delay comes just a bit too late for the crew to get the tarp on the field before the worst of the weather hits. We’ve seen that happen before, but it’s not often that you see issues arise because the tarp gets rolled out the wrong way to begin with.

Amid a heavy downpour in Washington, the Nationals’ grounds crew simply could not get the tarp unrolled properly, leading to a ridiculous scene in which various members of the crew frantically tried to figure out why things were not working as intended.

The grounds crew was still struggling with the tangled tarp nearly 15 minutes into the delay, by which point the entire infield was already a muddy mess.

The rain wound down, but the inability to get the infield covered led to a messy disaster.

Scenes of grounds crews in heavy rain and high winds desperately trying to get the tarp to cover the infield are not unprecedented. That’s not what this was. This crew simply rolled the entire tarp out upside down, leaving them scrambling in vain to fix the error.

The Nats’ crew may want to take a cue from their counterparts in Philadelphia regarding how to deal with a soaked infield, because they’re going to have to figure out how to dry that out.

Nationals players safe following reports of active shooter at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals players were ordered to remain in their hotel rooms and apartments near Nationals Park on Tuesday following reports of an active shooter in the area.

Police swarmed the area surrounding Nationals Park early Tuesday afternoon due to a possible active shooter situation. It was later determined that a man shot himself and was pronounced dead at the scene. There was no danger to the public.

Photos on social media showed a heavy police presence around Nationals Park.

Police have yet to release more information about the incident.

MLB opening night drew record ratings after sports hiatus

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball officially returned on Thursday night with the start of the 2020 regular season, and the ratings for the two games prove just how much fans missed live sports.

The first game of the night between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals drew 4 million viewers, which was the largest audience ever for an Opening Night. The contest was also the most-watched regular season MLB game in nearly a decade, according to a press release from ESPN.

Yankees-Nationals drew an 8.4 rating in the Washington, D.C., market, making it the most-watched MLB regular season game ever on ESPN in that market. The 7.8 rating in New York was the highest for a regular season game for the network in that market since 2015.

The second half of ESPN’s double-header was nearly as popular. That game, which featured the San Francisco Giants hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers, drew a 6.9 rating in the San Francisco market, making it the highest-rated regular season game on ESPN in that market since 2013. The 6.8 rating in Los Angeles was topped only by the Dodgers’ 2018 tie-breaker game against the Colorado Rockies.

MLB’s return marked the first night where fans could watch a live, regular season game from one of the four major American sports in over four months. The ratings from “The Match” gave us a hint that Opening Night would be a success for MLB, and the numbers were definitely eye-opening.

Juan Soto tests positive for coronavirus, will miss Nationals’ opener

The Washington Nationals are officially beginning their quest for another World Series on Thursday night, but one of the biggest heroes from their 2019 title team will not be joining them.

Juan Soto has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play in Thursday night’s opener against the New York Yankees, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports.

It’s unclear when Soto tested positive for the coronavirus, but he will likely miss more than just the first game. Players who test positive must clear all health and safety protocols before rejoining their teammates.

Soto hit .282 with 34 home runs, 110 RBIs and an OPS of .949 last year. He also had some dramatic moments during Washington’s World Series run, so expectations are high for him heading into the 60-game season. The 21-year-old recently spoke about how difficult it was for him to get his swings in during the quarantine.