Giolito headlines Nats prospects in new Top 100 list

Pitcher jumps to No. 6 overall; righty Cole moves up to No. 52, outfielder Taylor debuts at No. 42

Giolito headlines Nats prospects in new Top 100 list

WASHINGTON -- For the Nationals, 2015 is another year of great expectations at the Major League level, as the club will look to repeat as National League East champions while pushing further into the postseason.

At the same time, general manager Mike Rizzo and his staff have continued to build a farm system that has churned out no shortage of impact talent in recent seasons. With players like Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon now entrenched in Washington, the next crop is on its way.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Janssen, Nats agree to 1-year deal

Source: Janssen, Nats agree to 1-year deal

WASHINGTON -- Two weeks after trading dependable setup man Tyler Clippard, the Nationals filled a hole in their bullpen by agreeing to a one-year contract with free agent Casey Janssen on Wednesday, a source confirmed to MLB.com. The deal, which the club has not confirmed, guarantees Janssen $5 million, including a buyout for a 2016 mutual option, according to FOXSports.com.

The Nats dealt Clippard to the A's for shortstop Yunel Escobar, who is slated to move to second base. They also haven't re-signed free agent Rafael Soriano, their closer for much of the past two seasons, leaving Drew Storen to fill the ninth inning.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals preparing for new right side of infield

Recent acquisition Escobar shifting from short to second; Zimmerman moving to first

Nationals preparing for new right side of infield

The Nationals might have a new Opening Day starter in Max Scherzer, and the infield standing behind the right-hander figures to look plenty different as well.

With Spring Training less than a month away, Washington is set to move trade acquisition Yunel Escobar from shortstop to second base, and longtime third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to first. While both of these shifts are down the defensive spectrum -- in other words, to easier spots -- that doesn't mean they don't come with challenges.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taylor No. 6 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 OF Prospects list

Twins' Buxton leads list again, followed by Pederson (Dodgers), Soler (Cubs), Winker (Reds)

Taylor No. 6 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 OF Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

The top 10 outfielders list annually has some of the most athletic and exciting prospects in the Minor Leagues, and this year is no different. Though half of the players on last year's preseason list lost their rookie eligibility in 2014, the other half returns, led by last year's No. 1 overall prospect, Byron Buxton.

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Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

With Janssen on board, Nationals' roster has no holes

Proven arm helps replenish bullpen's depth with strong setup option, potential backup closer

With Janssen on board, Nationals' roster has no holes

Any more questions? No, probably not.

A week after adding Max Scherzer to the front of their rotation, the Nationals have agreed to a deal that addresses the only issue they faced on the way to Florida, signing former Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen to add another solid late-innings option.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats hold auditions for 2015 Racing Presidents

Nats hold auditions for 2015 Racing Presidents

WASHINGTON -- There are several key traits present in every presidential hopeful: an excellent knowledge of history, a wealth of experience, a solid 40 time and some infectious dance moves.

The Nationals were concerned with the latter two on Sunday, when they held auditions for the 2015 Racing Presidents at the Nats' Youth Baseball Academy in Southeast D.C. Thirty-two candidates participated, and anywhere from 15 to 20 will be selected to compete at Nationals Park throughout the season.

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David Wilson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roark may land in 'pen with Nats' full rotation

Right-hander has previous experience working as reliever

Roark may land in 'pen with Nats' full rotation

WASHINGTON -- Tanner Roark could not have done much more to entrench himself in the Nationals' starting rotation last year. In his first full big league season, the right-hander went 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA over 31 starts.

Yet, Roark could find himself on the outside looking in, after Washington reeled in free agent Max Scherzer to join an accomplished staff that also figures to include Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez. That could relegate Roark to the bullpen, unless the Nats trade one of their other starters, something general manager Mike Rizzo has said they are not looking to do.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals sign outfielder D. Robinson to Minor League deal

The Nationals agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with outfielder Derrick Robinson on Friday, though the deal does not include an invitation to big league Spring Training.

Robinson, 27, reached the Majors with the Reds in 2013, playing in 102 games and spending time at all three outfield positions. The switch-hitter batted .255/.322/.323 over 216 plate appearances, with seven doubles, three triples and eight RBIs. He stole four bases in nine attempts.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryce Harper is the newest honoray member of Lob City

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Bryce Harper is the newest honoray member of Lob City

Bryce Harper is having one heck of an offseason. Or, more accurately, he's having one heck of a week. Two days after Harper submitted his audition to be a sitcom star on Modern Family, he was hanging out with the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center for their game against the Nets.

Harper even got to sit on the bench. 

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Rizzo turning attention to fortifying Nats' roster

Rizzo turning attention to fortifying Nats' roster

WASHINGTON -- While the signing of Max Scherzer has dominated Nationals news in recent days, the club is facing plenty of other issues at the moment. General manager Mike Rizzo addressed some of those on MLB Network's Hot Stove show on Thursday morning, the day after Scherzer's introductory news conference at Nationals Park.

The lone Nats player to attend that event was outfielder was Jayson Werth, who did so without a sling on his right arm. Werth is about two weeks removed from surgery on the AC joint in his right shoulder, a procedure with a recovery time of two to three months.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals expect to keep core intact

General manager Rizzo: 'We love the team we have right now'

Nationals expect to keep core intact

WASHINGTON -- With right-hander Max Scherzer on board, there is an indication the Nationals are planning to hang onto holdovers from last year's team, which means right-handers Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Stephen Strasburg and shortstop Ian Desmond are expected to be with the club at the start of Spring Training. All four players have been mentioned in trade discussions this offseason.

"With the acquisition of Max, the ownership has allowed us to do our business in the best way we can, as far as the baseball side goes" Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said on Wednesday. "They've given us all the ammunition that we need to put together a quality team. Nothing has changed in regards to any other players on the roster. We make good baseball decisions based on baseball evaluations, and money does not come into play. We love the team we have right now. We feel it's a really good, capable ballclub, and we're looking to better ourselves each and every day."

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Winning culture led Scherzer to Nationals

Right-hander introduced in Washington after signing seven-year deal

Winning culture led Scherzer to Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals held a news conference at Nationals Park on Wednesday during which they introduced Max Scherzer, who agreed to terms on a seven-year, $210 million deal with the club on Sunday night, a contract that is the second largest for a pitcher in the Major Leagues behind Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw.

Even Scherzer sounded surprised that he was one of the richest players in baseball.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats sign veteran reliever Meek

Nats sign veteran reliever Meek

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have signed right-hander Evan Meek to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league Spring Training. Meek could bring bullpen depth to the organization.

Meek, 31, spent most of last season at the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, where he had a 1.94 ERA and 16 saves in 39 games.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Big move reunites Scherzer with Rizzo, Williams

Nats GM, manager worked with newly signed ace when trio was with D-backs

Big move reunites Scherzer with Rizzo, Williams

WASHINGTON -- Asked on Wednesday to reveal when free-agent right-hander Max Scherzer appeared on his radar this offseason, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo looked back much further.

"Well, 2006 he was on my radar," Rizzo said, "and that's when I started loving him."

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryce Harper visits with stars of 'Modern Family'

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Bryce Harper visits with stars of 'Modern Family'

Think about your usual Wednesday. Probably involves heading to the office, sitting in traffic, maybe hitting up the gym and cooking dinner if you don't decide to say, "Nah. I'll just watch Netflix and eat an entire frozen pizza in one sitting." 

Turns out, that was not how Bryce Harper spent his day. With only a few weeks left until Spring Training starts, Harper used his time to hang with the cast of "Modern Family." 

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History to determine soundness of Scherzer investment

History to determine soundness of Scherzer investment

The Nationals took a flying leap into uncharted waters on Sunday night, when they agreed to a seven-year, $210 million contract with free-agent right-hander Max Scherzer.

It's the first big-money, long-term deal for a pitcher in team history, dwarfing the five-year, $42 million extension lefty Gio Gonzalez signed before the 2012 season. And while it's impossible to predict how any individual player will fare in the future, history can provide some clues. The performance of other pitchers who have signed large contracts, as well as those similar to Scherzer at the same age, might at least establish some parameters.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

With addition of Scherzer, Nats boast 'Super Six'

With addition of Scherzer, Nats boast 'Super Six'

With the addition of Max Scherzer, the Nationals have a pitching rotation for the ages, but you know what? Once again, we're seeing the difference between greatness when it comes to a collection of starters on a Major League staff and whatever otherworldly adjective is appropriate for all of those years when Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz kept throwing their way toward Cooperstown.

Literally.

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Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Giolito No. 1 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 RHP Prospects list

Nats' Giolito leads list, followed by Mets' Syndergaard, Pirates' Glasnow

Giolito No. 1 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 RHP Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

There are always a ton of right-handed pitchers on our Top 100 list. The 2015 version is no different. All 10 on the list below are in the Top 100, and then some.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Scherzer always striving to improve

Righty has added a curveball over past few years to become dominant pitcher

Scherzer always striving to improve

Max Scherzer is a good example how some of the most important tools to scout are heart and smarts and guts.

The D-backs made him the 11th pick of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft because he had a great power arm. That gift alone surely would have gotten him to the big leagues. In fact, it did since Scherzer made his Major League debut 11 months after signing.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Span, Werth excited about 'big pickup' in Scherzer

Span, Werth excited about 'big pickup' in Scherzer

WASHINGTON -- A day after Max Scherzer agreed to terms with the Nationals on a seven-year, $210 million contract, center fielder Denard Span said he is excited to play behind one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Scherzer joins a rotation that includes Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister.

Scherzer, arguably the best free agent this offseason, joins a pitching staff that led the Major Leagues with a 3.03 ERA in 2014. Scherzer is familiar with general manager Mike Rizzo, who drafted the right-hander in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft when Rizzo was the scouting director for the D-backs. Sent to Detroit as part of a three-team trade in December 2009, Scherzer went on to blossom with the Tigers, winning 82 games over five seasons and capturing the American League Cy Young Award in '13.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stacking the Nats' new rotation against history

Stacking the Nats' new rotation against history

With Max Scherzer apparently on board, the Nationals have added to an already stacked starting rotation.

Scherzer joins Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister in what is arguably baseball's best collection of starters, and a group that compares favorably to some of the best rotations in recent memory.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals sign Ka'aihue to Minor League deal

Nationals sign Ka'aihue to Minor League deal

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals signed first baseman Kila Ka'aihue to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Ka'aihue played the last two seasons for the Hiroshima Carp of the Japan Central League. In 88 games last year, Ka'aihue hit .257 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Rich getting richer: Scherzer makes Nats clear favorites

Adding highly coveted free-agent arm frees up trade chips to replenish bullpen

Rich getting richer: Scherzer makes Nats clear favorites

Here we go. The biggest free agent on the market, arguably the best pitcher in the game over the last 2 1/2 seasons, has agreed to a deal with the team that already has the best starting rotation in the Major Leagues.

Neither Max Scherzer nor the Nationals have been complete on their own. They are a marriage made from disappointing Octobers, and together assure that the Nats are the team to beat in 2015.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats avoid arbitration with Fister, Strasburg, Storen

Right-handers sign one-year contracts; Blevins lone remaining arb-eligible

Nats avoid arbitration with Fister, Strasburg, Storen

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-handers Doug Fister, Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen avoided arbitration Friday by signing one-year deals for the 2015 season. Strasburg will make $7.4 million, while Storen will earn $5.7 million, baseball sources confirmed to MLB.com. Fister will make $11.4 million, according to CBSSports.com.

Washington's Opening Day starter the past three seasons, Strasburg, 26, was in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He is coming off arguably his best season, winning 14 games and tying for the National League lead with 242 strikeouts.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals avoid arbitration with quartet

Stammen, Espinosa, Lobaton and Ramos agree to one-year contracts

Nationals avoid arbitration with quartet

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Craig Stammen, second baseman Danny Espinosa and catcher Jose Lobaton avoided salary arbitration Thursday. Stammen signed a one-year deal worth $2.25 million, a source confirmed to MLB.com, while Espinosa signed for $1.8 million and Lobaton for $1.2 million, according to the Washington Post.

Catcher Wilson Ramos also agreed on Thursday to a one-year contract worth $3.55 million.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramos to be honored with Tony Conigliaro Award

Veteran catcher reportedly agrees to one-year deal, avoiding arbitration

Ramos to be honored with Tony Conigliaro Award

WASHINGTON -- Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has had to overcome adversity over the last four years. Ramos had a torn ACL in his right knee in 2012, a broken hamate bone in his left hand last year and multiple hamstring problems the last two years. He played a combined 191 games during that period. But injuries are just part of Ramos' story of beating the odds.

In November 2011, Ramos was the victim of a kidnapping in Venezuela and has taken steps to move past the ordeal. No wonder Ramos was voted the winner of the 25th annual Tony Conigliaro Award, an honor presented to a Major League player who has overcome adversity.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo raves about Escobar's defensive ability

General manager feels second baseman will bounce back after dealing with injuries

Rizzo raves about Escobar's defensive ability

WASHINGTON -- A day after acquiring shortstop Yunel Escobar from the Athletics for reliever Tyler Clippard, general manager Mike Rizzo said that Escobar will be the Nationals' starting second baseman and is insurance at shortstop in case they need to trade Ian Desmond.

Escobar is coming off a season in which he hit .258 with seven home runs, 39 RBIs and 16 errors at shortstop for the Rays. Rizzo said Escobar was a below-average defensive shortstop last year because he was dealing with shoulder and quad injuries. The right shoulder ailment affected his throwing and the quad hampered his range.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shocked by trade, leaving Nats 'tough' for Clippard

Shocked by trade, leaving Nats 'tough' for Clippard

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Tyler Clippard said he was shocked after he heard the Nationals traded him to the Athletics for shortstop Yunel Escobar, even though Clippard heard rumors throughout the offseason that he could be dealt.

The reality is that he is now a member of the Athletics and could be their closer, something he would like to do for the rest of his career. The A's have not told him what his role will be. On Thursday, Clippard thought a lot about the Nationals, having spent seven of his eight years in the Majors with the club. Clippard acknowledged that he was emotional when he spoke to Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty and some of his teammates like Drew Storen and Craig Stammen. Clippard and McCatty have worked together since 2008, when they were with Triple-A Columbus.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo: Desmond is Nats' SS, but ears are open

GM says deal involving elite shortstop would have to be 'elaborate'

Rizzo: Desmond is Nats' SS, but ears are open

WASHINGTON -- A day after acquiring infielder Yunel Escobar from the Athletics, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo indicated that Ian Desmond will be the team's shortstop in 2015, but didn't rule out trading, him either.

"Our approach with Ian Desmond has not changed one bit since the end of last season," Rizzo said. "Ian Desmond is our shortstop. He is the leader of our team. He is one of the best shortstops in all of baseball, and he is going to be the shortstop of the Washington Nationals. With that said, if a deal comes up that we can't refuse, we will always look to improve ourselves for 2015 and beyond. But it's hard to replace one of the best shortstops in all of baseball. The deal would have to be pretty elaborate not to have Ian Desmond on this team."

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.