Inbox: Will Washington trade Harper?

Beat reporter Jamal Collier fields questions from Nationals fans

Inbox: Will Washington trade Harper?

After the General Managers Meetings last week in Orlando, Fla., and as the offseason continues to roll along, it's time for a Nationals Inbox to address some of your questions before the Thanksgiving holiday.

This week's Inbox focuses on Bryce Harper's status in Washington, the luxury tax and a reason to believe in Dave Martinez.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Key early Nat Livan debuts on '18 HOF ballot

Hernandez made 4 Opening Day starts for Washington over 7 seasons

Key early Nat Livan debuts on '18 HOF ballot

The pitcher who threw out the first pitch in Nationals history is making his debut on the Hall of Fame ballot this year.

The 2018 ballot was released on Monday afternoon by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and it featured Livan Hernandez, who spent seven years of his 17-year Major League career in the Nationals' organization.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats protect Gutierrez, Rodriguez from Rule 5

Nats protect Gutierrez, Rodriguez from Rule 5

The Nationals added third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez and right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez to their 40-man roster before Monday's 8 p.m. ET deadline to protect players from being selected in December's Rule 5 Draft.

Some of the Nationals' most valued prospects were already moved to the 40-man roster over this past season, including Victor Robles, Erick Fedde and Andrew Stevenson. Earlier this month, the team also added reliever Wander Suero to its roster, which now stands at 37 players.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Nats' Gutierrez among AFL's breakout prospects

Nats' Gutierrez among AFL's breakout prospects

With the completion of the Arizona Fall League season on Saturday comes a run of "AFL in review" type stories. Last week, Mike Rosenbaum weighed in with 10 players who stood out to him during his time there. Later this week, Jim Callis will have an AFL top prospects list and MLBPipeline.com will also have an all-AFL team to peruse.

While those later stories will shine a deserving light on the top prospects around the league, every year there are players who might not be at the top of prospect lists, but who use the Fall League as a bit of a coming out party. These are players who can be considered breakout prospects, with the usual caveat about small sample sizes.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon earns MLB Award for Best Performance

Rendon earns MLB Award for Best Performance

WASHINGTON -- Six cans of beer were waiting in his locker after that historic day at Nationals Park, one for each hit Anthony Rendon collected during a performance for the ages. He had never recalled having a day like that before. Perhaps he had hit three home runs in one game during high school, but never had he drove in that many runs.

On April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs, pacing the Nationals' offense in a 23-5 victory over the Mets. That record-setting day has earned Rendon the Esurance MLB Award for Best Performance.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats' outfield depth an offseason advantage

Rizzo confident in talent, but could make splash trade to boost area of need

Nats' outfield depth an offseason advantage

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Nationals are set to begin next season with a surplus of outfielders, something the team might be able to use to its advantage this offseason.

As it stands, Washington's starting outfield would consist of Bryce Harper in right field, Michael A. Taylor in center and Adam Eaton in left.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Robles among AFL title game standouts

Robles among AFL title game standouts

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The fall of Ronald Acuna concluded in appropriate fashion. The Arizona Fall League's best prospect and MVP led its best team to the championship Saturday afternoon, driving in four runs as the Peoria Javelinas defeated the Mesa Solar Sox, 8-2.

After the Braves outfielder lined out to third base in his first at-bat, he went down to get a breaking ball from Cubs right-hander Alec Mills and lined it into center field for a third-inning RBI single that tied the game 2-2. An inning later, Acuna fought off a high fastball from right-hander Jake Stinnett and dumping it into right-center for a two-run single that doubled Peoria's lead to 6-2. He later capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

National pride: Max repeats as NL Cy winner

Ace wins third such award overall; Strasburg finishes third, behind Kershaw

National pride: Max repeats as NL Cy winner

ORLANDO, Fla. -- It was hard for Max Scherzer to grasp the elite company he joined when he was named the 2017 National League Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday night on MLB Network.

Scherzer won the award for the second year in a row, capturing his third career Cy Young, putting him in an exclusive group with some of the all-time greats. The Nationals right-hander is one of 10 pitchers to win three Cy Youngs.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Robles or Acuna? Execs, AFL players polled

Saturday's Fall League finale features two of MLB's finest phenoms

Robles or Acuna? Execs, AFL players polled

One of the best things about the Arizona Fall League is getting to see top prospects from around baseball compete with and against each other for an extended period of time. The Futures Game is a great event to start off the All-Star break, but it's just a one-game exhibition. The AFL provides the opportunity to see the top Minor Leaguers in action over a seven-week span, where evaluators and prospect writers alike can compare and contrast the top prospects in the game.

This year's Fall League has included one of the best head-to-head matchups of top prospects in recent memory, and the duo will face off one last time on Saturday when Peoria and Mesa square off in the AFL title game at 3 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strasburg finishes third in NL Cy Young voting

Nationals right-hander falls behind teammate Scherzer, Kershaw

Strasburg finishes third in NL Cy Young voting

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg had his best career showing in the National League Cy Young Award voting, but he finished third behind teammate and winner Max Scherzer, finishing third behind him and Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw.

Strasburg had 81 points, including one second-place vote and 23 third-place votes, to finish behind Scherzer (201) and Kershaw (126). The results were announced on MLB Network on Wednesday night.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boras open to exploring Harper extension

Boras open to exploring Harper extension

ORLANDO, Fla. -- As Bryce Harper enters the final year of his contract with the Nationals, his agent, Scott Boras, said he has not had any conversations with the team this offseason about a possible extension.

Asked whether he expected to do so this winter, Boras said, "That would be up to the Nationals."

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A typical day for Scherzer in 7 photos

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A typical day for Scherzer in 7 photos

It was another dominant season on the mound for Max Scherzer in 2017. The Nationals' ace pitched 200 2/3 innings with a 2.51 ERA, making his fifth straight All-Star Game and leading the National League with 268 strikeouts and a 0.902 WHIP.

So, it was no surprise that for the second straight year, Scherzer took home NL Cy Young Award honors. He has now won the award three times in his remarkable career, a feat matched by just nine other pitchers.

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Nats finalize coaching staff with Blanco

Newcomer named bullpen instructor, served with Martinez in Chicago under Maddon

Nats finalize coaching staff with Blanco

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Nationals finalized first-year manager Dave Martinez's coaching staff on Wednesday, officially naming Henry Blanco as their bullpen coach. Blanco will be the lone coach to join Martinez from the Cubs, with whom Martinez had served as the bench coach for the past three seasons.

Blanco had spent the past three seasons as the Cubs' quality assurance coach under manager Joe Maddon, and he brings with him some familiarity with Martinez.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats shift focus to improving bench, bullpen

At GM Meetings, Rizzo says club pursuing depth pieces

Nats shift focus to improving bench, bullpen

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Now that the Nationals have completed a managerial search and filled most of the coaching staff, they can shift their focus this offseason to filling out their roster. As the General Managers Meetings began Monday in Orlando, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo began the preliminary work for completing his agenda this offseason.

Washington returns most of its starting position players, the top four starters in the rotation and the back end of its bullpen after winning 97 games in 2017, the second most in franchise history. The Nats are also coming off back-to-back National League East titles the past two seasons and should be in position to control the division again. So this offseason will be about fine-tuning that roster to prepare for another run at the World Series championship that has eluded the Nationals.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Who's in the outfield for 2018?

Beat reporter Jamal Collier fields questions from Nationals fans

Inbox: Who's in the outfield for 2018?

WASHINGTON -- With the Major League Baseball offseason officially underway, the Hot Stove is heating up for the Nats. So to explore some of the biggest questions the team faces this offseason, it's time for a Nationals Inbox.

This week's edition takes a look at some potential needs, targets, and whether a franchise stalwart will return.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Murphy wins second Silver Slugger for NL 2B

Murphy wins second Silver Slugger for NL 2B

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy has been honored once again for his consistent excellence at the plate during his two seasons in Washington, as he was named the winner of the 2017 National League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award on Thursday night on MLB Network. It is the second consecutive season Murphy has been named the best offensive second baseman in the Senior Circuit.

"I am honored and humbled to receive this award," Murphy said in a statement. "I am extremely proud to be considered among this group of talented players. To be recognized by opposing coaches and managers for the way I play the game is quite a compliment, and I'd like to thank my teammates, coaches, medical staff and support staff for their assistance in helping me achieve this award. I would also be remiss if I did not thank my family for their immense support: my wife, Tori, and our three beautiful children, Noah, Quinn and Drew. They are what drives me each and every day." 

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats fill out coaching staff behind Martinez

Washington officially hires Hale, Lilliquist, Bogar and Dillon, leaving bullpen coach as sole vacancy

Nats fill out coaching staff behind Martinez

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have surrounded first-time manager Dave Martinez with a veteran coaching staff, most of which was revealed Thursday afternoon. Chip Hale was officially named the club's bench coach, joining a staff that will also include pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, first-base coach Tim Bogar and assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon.

These latest additions give the Nationals a staff with plenty of Major League experience, including some coaches with managerial tenures. The club also made previously reported moves, such as the return of third-base coach Bobby Henley and hiring of hitting coach Kevin Long, official, meaning only one spot -- a bullpen coach -- remains open.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scherzer, Zim land Players Choice Awards

Righty (Outstanding Pitcher), first baseman (Comeback Player) honored by their peers

Scherzer, Zim land Players Choice Awards

WASHINGTON --Two Nationals players were recognized by their peers for their achievements during the 2017 season. Max Scherzer was the Players Choice for National League Outstanding Pitcher, while Ryan Zimmerman won the Players Choice Award for the NL's Comeback Player of the Year.

The honors were revealed Wednesday night as awards season across Major League Baseball continued for two players who could be honored several times in the coming days.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon, Taylor emerge as defensive standouts

Nats third baseman, center fielder recognized for strides in field as Gold Glove finalists

Rendon, Taylor emerge as defensive standouts

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon and Michael A. Taylor were the two players who stood out among the Nationals' defense in 2017, one stopping nearly everything at the hot corner and the other chasing down fly balls for seemingly improbable catches in center field.

Rendon and Taylor are being recognized among baseball's best defenders, as they both were named finalists for the Rawlings National League Gold Glove Award.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gutierrez named AFL Player of the Week

Gutierrez named AFL Player of the Week

MESA, Ariz. -- The Washington Nationals' excitement surrounding Kelvin Gutierrez continues to grow after his explosive week at the plate in the Arizona Fall League.

Gutierrez was named AFL Player of the Week on Tuesday after batting .600 with a home run, four RBIs, three walks and five runs. He also had two multi-hit games.

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Brittany Bowyer is a graduate journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats could be wild card this Hot Stove season

Moving on from Werth, upgrading at catcher among offseason questions

Nats could be wild card this Hot Stove season

WASHINGTON -- With most of their team intact for next season, the Nationals could be something of a wild card this offseason. They have few obvious weaknesses on their Major League roster, and they could decide to hunt for bargains and improve team depth. Or they could decide to make a big splash in free agency to help get their team over the hump.

Here is a look at where the Nats stand as free agency begins:

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wieters exercises '18 option to stay with Nats

Veteran will earn $10.5 million next season as he looks to rebound offensively

Wieters exercises '18 option to stay with Nats

WASHINGTON -- Matt Wieters will remain with the Nationals in 2018 after he officially exercised his player option Monday afternoon. He had been weighing his choices through the weekend, before deciding to take the $10.5 million player option as he attempts to have a bounce-back season.

Wieters struggled offensively in his first season in Washington, as he batted .225 with 10 home runs and a .632 OPS. His 62 wRC+ was tied for the second worst among players with at least 400 plate appearances. The down year at the plate might have made it difficult for Wieters to command the same sort of salary for 2018 if he decided to test the free-agent market.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals don't extend any qualifying offers

Nationals don't extend any qualifying offers

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals did not extend any qualifying offers before Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline expired, as they had 12 players hit free agency. Despite that high number of free agents, Washington will return nearly all of its regulars from last season, so it was no surprise the Nats did not extend the one-year, $17.4 million contract to anyone.

Qualifying offers explained

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Top prospect Robles wins Fall Stars Game MVP

Baseball's No. 2 prospect displays impressive skills, scores twice in showcase

Top prospect Robles wins Fall Stars Game MVP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Victor Robles is the highest rated prospect in the Arizona Fall League, and it was easy to see why as he put the bulk of his toolset on display in the annual Fall Stars Game.

The No. 2 overall prospect (Nationals' No. 1) stuffed the box score, going 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored en route to winning MVP honors in the East's 4-2 win over the West on Saturday night at Salt River Fields.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lind joins ranks of Nationals' free agents

Lind joins ranks of Nationals' free agents

Adam Lind is a free agent, as his mutual option was declined, according to the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Lind, who played left field and first base for the Nationals last season, was perhaps the team's best pinch-hitter. He had a $5 million mutual option with a $500,000 buyout.

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New Nats skipper Martinez 'here to win'

Washington formally introduces new manager, who previously served as Cubs' bench coach

New Nats skipper Martinez 'here to win'

WASHINGTON -- The trip to Tampa, Fla., was brief for Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. It was a few days after the team had decided not to retain manager Dusty Baker, and Rizzo was about to meet with Dave Martinez, a candidate he had interviewed for this same managerial opening in the past.

Martinez picked up Rizzo after his flight so they could have lunch at Ocean Prime, a seafood restaurant about four miles from the airport. They sat together for about four hours.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats hire ex-Mets, Yanks hitting coach Long

Nats hire ex-Mets, Yanks hitting coach Long

On the day they introduced new manager Dave Martinez, the Nationals announced that former Mets hitting coach Kevin Long will fill that vacancy for them.

Long, who is replacing Rick Schu, left the Mets as part of their restructuring, which included him interviewing for the managerial position before the club hired former Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Long, well-respected in the baseball realm for his hitting acumen and communication skills, then began interviewing with other clubs, including the Nationals for their opening at manager.

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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.