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4 Potential Deals Mike Rizzo Should Propose at the Deadline

With nearly a quarter of the 2014 Major League Baseball season expired, the Washington Nationals sit two games over .500 and in second place in the National League East.

The good news, despite trailing the Atlanta Braves, is that the Nationals’ deficit in the division is just 1.5 games. 

Washington has seen the recent effects of losing major contributors to injuries, including a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics and six losses in nine games.

With Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and, now, Adam LaRoche out of commission, manager Matt Williams is at his wit’s end attempting to put a product on the field that can be competitive despite being shorthanded.

Nevertheless, for all Washington has been through, it’s not all bad, and the brightest days are likely ahead. Although, there are some areas that need to be shored up before the trade deadline to give the Nationals their best chance going forward.

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Projecting Nationals’ Final 25-Man Roster at the Start of Spring Training

With spring training well underway throughout Major League Baseball, the evaluative process is already in the works for the Washington Nationals, as they look to put the best 25-man product on the field that they can.

Baseball’s first month can set the tone for the entire season. As such, manager Matt Williams must be sure he produces an optimal roster to compete in the competitive National League East.

The slides to follow will break down what figures to be the 25 men the Nats will start the season with.

All stats courtesy of

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10 Critical Moments That Transformed Washington Nationals Baseball

With nearly a decade gone since the Montreal Expos relocated and granted D.C. and its metropolitan area residents the gift of a professional baseball team for the third time in Major League Baseball history, the Washington Nationals have long-buried the ineptitude of their geographical predecessors.

From the “First in war, first in peace, last in the American League” slogan lovingly placed upon the Washington Senators by their fans, to the maladroitness that embodied the last-place Nationals teams in four of their first five seasons, Washington baseball has come a long way and no longer has the mindset of succumbing to mediocrity.

The list to follow will discuss the critical moments and decisions that transformed Washington baseball from a laughing stock into a serious contender. 

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What the Addition of Grant Balfour Would Mean for Washington Nationals

Recent speculation indicates that the Washington Nationals are interested in acquiring Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports

The 36-year-old relief pitcher is coming off of his first All-Star appearance and recorded a career-best 38 saves in 2013.

Balfour would likely provide a closing alternative to Rafael Soriano, who recorded 43 saves for the Nats in 2013 and is entering the final year of his contract. Soriano, whose 43 saves ranked in the top five among MLB pitchers, also blew a relatively high six save opportunities. 

Further, with arbitration eligibility looming in the next couple of seasons for such players as Bryce Harper and Craig Stammen, along with back-loaded contracts for Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond, Washington will likely go to great lengths to ensure that Soriano does not appear for more than 53.0 innings in 2014—so as to avoid the vesting of his $14 million option for 2015.

With the addition of Balfour, Clippard will likely remain in his role as the eighth inning setup guy, and Drew Storen will become expendable.

Storen, at 26 years old, never quite recovered from the 2012 blown save in Game 5 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Stanford product posted career worsts in 2013 for both ERA and WHIP with 4.52 and 1.362 respectively. 

Balfour may be relatively old, but a bullpen can never have enough quality arms. The Sydney native also represents an interesting trend that’s seemed to be developing since the acquisition of Doug Fister in early December.

The 2012 Nationals team that made history by generating the franchise’s first-ever playoff berth was full of talented young players and veterans that, for the most part, didn’t have much playoff experience.

Fister started and put up meaningful numbers in appearances in both the 2012 and 2013 ALCS for the Detroit Tigers.

Balfour has appeared in the playoffs in seven different seasons with three different teams, along with one ALCS and one World Series. Further, he has the edge that only comes from being an experienced veteran—as displayed by his war of words with Victor Martinez in the 2013 ALDS.

Though Storen may have better upside at this point in time, being that he’s 10 years younger, he doesn’t have the experience that comes from playing for a decade or more.

Balfour, despite carrying the tread that comes from a long career, can get the job done. He won’t have to stay long, but his experience and leadership may be just what the Nats have been missing. 


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