Washington Nationals Wiretap

Bryce Harper Ends Slump With First Home Run In Two Weeks

May 27, 2016 7:17 AM

After getting a day off on Wednesday, Bryce Harper hit his first home run in nearly two weeks on Thursday as the Washington Nationals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.

Harper hit a solo shot off Mike Leake that had an exit velocity of 112.8 mph and traveled an estimated 437 feet.

It it caromed off the facade of the third deck in right field in Washington, a faraway destination only two other players have ever reached (Adam LaRoche, Adam Dunn).

"It felt good," Harper said. "Got a pitch I could handle, and did some damage with it. Just happy we came out with that W.

"I mean, you just try to square up the ball every time, and I haven't been doing that. When I'm getting one or two pitches a game, you foul them back and then they throw something dirty and they get you. If I don't hit those pitches that are in the zone, then you're gonna struggle and do the things that you don't wanna do. Obviously I got a pitch I could handle tonight, and I’m gonna do some damage with it."

Eddie Matz/ESPN

Tags: Washington Nationals

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Bryce Harper Given 'Mental Day Off'

May 25, 2016 5:15 PM

Bryce Harper appeared as a pinch hitter for the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon after not starting against the New York Mets.

Harper hit in the eighth inning and grounded out to shortstop.

He is batting a season-low .246 and struggling since mid-April. Dusty Baker said before the game that he wanted the 23-year-old to take a "mental day off."

That included not starting against the Mets and skipping any work in the batting cage.

"I told him to do nothing, just concentrate and watch the game," Baker said. "You can straighten yourself out by watching others and by what they're doing or not doing."

Baker said Harper "was cool with" the decision.

ESPN

Tags: Washington Nationals

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Jayson Werth Agreed To Amend Contract This Past Offseason

May 20, 2016 7:23 AM

Jayson Werth was owed a crippling $21 million per season over the next two years before he agreed to amend his contract with the Washington Nationals this past winter.

FOX Sports obtained a copy of Werth's contract, which was amended on Oct. 15 to defer $10 million of his 2016 salary at five percent simple interest. The money will be paid in 2018, according to a source.

Werth's original seven-year deal didn't include any deferrals.

Ken Rosenthal/FOX Sports

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Opt Outs Vital To Stephen Strasburg's Extension With Nationals

May 20, 2016 7:18 AM

Stephen Strasburg agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with the Washington Nationals earlier this month, forgoing free agency this coming winter.

The decision was notable because Strasburg's agent, Scott Boras, is famous for his preference of taking his clients into the open market.

The upcoming free agent class is thin, but Strasburg has opt-outs in his contract after either year three or four.

The first opt out comes when Strasburg is 31 and has perhaps established a stronger track record.

"Even better, Strasburg would hit the market soon after Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta and Jose Fernandez are likely to establish new ceilings for starting pitchers in the coming free-agent years," writes Ken Rosenthal.

Ken Rosenthal/FOX Sports

Tags: Washington Nationals, Free Agent Rumor

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Yoenis Cespedes Insists He Wasn't Close To Signing With Nationals

May 19, 2016 7:10 AM

Yoenis Cespedes says he wasn't close to accepting a reported five-year contract offer from the Washington Nationals this past offseason.

Cespedes eventually signed a three-year, $75 million contract with the New York Mets that includes an opt-out after this season.

"I was never close to signing with the Nationals," Cespedes said through an interpreter. "From the start I was pushing my agent because I wanted to come back to the Mets."

Adam Rubin/ESPN

Tags: Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Free Agent Rumor

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Barry Bonds Advises Bryce Harper To Steal More Bases

May 16, 2016 3:00 PM

Barry Bonds wants to see Bryce Harper use his speed on the bases more often.

Harper, who draws a lot of walks, has been receiving intentional passes lately as well. Bonds was issued more free passes than anyone in baseball history at the height of his power surge.

"He's going to need to learn to steal bases and get to second base and make his teammates' job easier," Bonds said of Harper.

The Chicago Cubs walked Harper 13 times during a four-game series earlier this month and he scored only three runs.

"My kids used to tell me, 'Daddy, I'm sorry they walk you all the time,'" said Bonds, who led baseball in intentional walks 12 times and tops the all-time list with 688. "I said, 'Yeah, but my job's now to steal.' I could run then, so I had to steal bases and my job's to score runs and keep the pressure on the team regardless of what happened. But I had a different game than him."

Associated Press

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Harper Drops Appeal, Serves One-Game Suspension

May 14, 2016 8:24 PM

Nationals star Bryce Harper dropped his appeal and served a one-game suspension in the second game of Saturday's day-night doubleheader between Washington and the Miami Marlins.

ESPN.com

Tags: Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins, Misc Rumor, Suspension

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Stephen Strasburg Motivated To Show Loyalty To Nationals

May 12, 2016 7:16 AM

In an interview about his seven-year, $175 million contract extension with the Washington Nationals, Stephen Strasburg discussed some of the motivation behind the decision.

Strasburg wants to follow in the footsteps of Tony Gwynn, his childhood hero and coach at San Diego State, and play for one team during his Major League career.

"He definitely had that sense of loyalty," Strasburg said of Gwynn. "I think there were certainly times in his career where he could've gone other places, but the city, San Diego, kind of grew on him, and he became an icon in that city. I'm not about to say that I'm going to be on his level here in D.C., but I think you do have some sort of sense of loyalty to the team that did draft you, at least speaking for myself. So, when the opportunity presented itself that, here's a fair deal presented to you, it didn't really take long to make my mind up."

Bill Ladson/MLB

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Max Scherzer Ties MLB Record With 20 K's

May 12, 2016 2:48 AM

Nationals starter Max Scherzer reminded us Wednesday that he's one of the premier pitchers in the game.

Facing the Detroit Tigers, his former team and the only one he'd never beaten, Scherzer fanned 20 batters, tying the major league record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

ESPN.com

Tags: Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers, Game Recap, Misc Rumor, Personal Award

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Bryce Harper Suspended One Game, Files Appeal

May 11, 2016 6:17 PM

Bryce Harper has been suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed sum for confronting an umpire following his ejection from Monday night's game, Major League Baseball announced in a press release.

Harper has elected to file an appeal and was in the lineup for the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Washington Nationals, Suspension

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MLB Reviewing Bryce Harper's Tirade After Ejection
Major League Baseball is reviewing Bryce Harper's confrontation with an umpire to decide whether he should be disciplined.

Associated Press

Stephen Strasburg's Extension Could Lead To Trades
The seven-year extension agreed the Nationals gave Stephen Strasburg on Monday night could lead to a heightened trade market, writes Jon Paul Morosi.

Jon Paul Morosi/MLB

Bryce Harper Yells 'Choice Words' At Umpire
It was the first ejection of the season for Bryce Harper, but the seventh of his career.

Eddie Matz/ESPN

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals Agree To $175M Extension
The Nationals have agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with Stephen Strasburg, according to sources.

Jim Bowden/ESPN

Scott Boras Approached Bryce Harper About Taking More Walks
About a year ago, Scott Boras met with Bryce Harper in San Diego and presented him with the "Bonds theory" over dinner multiple times.

Ken Rosenthal/FOX Sports

Harper Sets Record By Reaching Base 7 Times Without Official At-Bat
Bryce Harper walked six times, and was hit by a pitch, in a 13-inning loss to the Cubs on Sunday.

ESPN.com

Nationals More Aggressive On Bases Under Davey Lopes
The season is still new, but the Nationals have been more aggressive on the bases under new baserunning coach Davey Lopes.

James Wagner/Washington Post

Orioles, Nats Deny Reports Dan Duquette Could Leave For Washington
Both the Orioles and Nationals have rejected the idea that the Nationals are pursuing executive Dan Duquette to take over as the team's president.

Mike Berardino/Pioneer Press

Barry Bonds Admires Bryce Harper, Calls Him 'A Beast'
Bryce Harper acknowledged on Sunday that he idolized Barry Bonds growing up and called him the greatest hitter on the planet.

Bill Ladson/MLB

Herbert Hoover Joins Racing Presidents At Nats Games
Herbert Hoover, the nation's 31st president, has joined the Nationals as the newest of the "racing presidents" at Nats home games.

ESPN

Stephen Strasburg Will Start Nats' Second Game
Stephen Strasburg had been originally scheduled to pitch the Nationals home opener.

ESPN.com

Nationals May Find Time For Michael Taylor At Jayson Werth's Expense
The Nationals owe Jayson Werth $42 million over the next two seasons, which hampered their ability to add a slugger in free agency this offseason.

Ken Rosenthal/FOX Sports

Bronson Arroyo Doesn't Have Torn Rotator Cuff
Nats pitcher Bronson Arroyo could be throwing again in seven to 10 days.

ESPN.com

Bronson Arroyo Has Torn Labrum, Likely Ending Comeback
After having Tommy John surgery and missing all of last season, Bronson Arroyo has been diagnosed with a torn right labrum, according to multiple media reports.

ESPN

Grievance Over Dan Jennings' Salary Settled In Nationals' Favor
The Marlins filed a grievance with Major League Baseball this offseason over how much the Nationals are paying Dan Jennings.

Chelsea James/Washington Post

Nationals Have June 15 Deadline To Decide Mike Rizzo's Future
The Nationals have a June 15 deadline to decide whether or not to exercise the club option on Mike Rizzo's contract, according to a report.

Barry Svrluga/Washington Post

Marlins File Grievance Over Dan Jennings' Salary With Nationals
The Marlins have filed a grievance and are "fuming" over Dan Jennings' salary with the Nationals as special assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo.

Barry Jackson/Miami Herald

Nats To Open Season With Max Scherzer
New Nationals manager Dusty Baker has confirmed that Max Scherzer will be the Opening Day starter April 4 in Atlanta.

ESPN.com

Bryce Harper Wants To Change MLB, Make It More Fun
Bryce Harper would like to change the game of baseball, elevating the profile of the sport through his play, his fashion and the charisma of his personality.

Tim Keown/ESPN

Rangers, Ian Desmond Agree On One-Year, $8M Deal
The Nationals had extended a $15.8M qualifying offer to Ian Desmond, but the shortstop decided to test free agency.

ESPN.com