WASHINGTON -- The Nationals won their second National League East title in three years, and several members of the organization have a chance to take home an MLB.com 2014 Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Award.
WASHINGTON -- As expected, the Nationals picked up Denard Span's $9 million option on Thursday afternoon.
Span said general manager Mike Rizzo called to inform him that he would be back with the team in 2015. Had the Nationals declined the option, Span would have been given a buyout worth $500,000.
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have reinstated right-hander Ross Ohlendorf from the 60-day disabled list and outrighted him off the 40-man roster. He then elected to become a free agent.
This past season, Ohlendorf, 32, missed most of the season because of a lat strain. He spent time with Triple-A Syracuse, Class A Advanced Potomac and the Gulf Coast Nationals and went a combined 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA in seven games.
WASHINGTON -- After watching his players lose to the Giants in the National League Division Series, Nationals manager Matt Williams told his players how much he appreciated their effort during the season.
"We established a way to go about this game in Spring Training, and we accomplished that goal," Williams said. "We played the way we wanted to play and did a lot of things right. So, you know, it's tender and it's bitter and all of those things, but I'm proud of them. I'm proud of the way they went about it."
This past season, the Nationals had the best record in the National League, but they were eliminated by the Giants in the NL Division Series. Here's a look at the Nats' 2014 Major League roster: who stays, who goes and who has something to prove?
They'll be back
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Make way for the next generation.
Several of the best prospects in baseball will collide on Saturday in the ninth annual Fall Stars Game, the yearly All-Star Game for the Arizona Fall League. This year's rosters feature 14 players on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals expanded their baseball research and development department on Friday by promoting Adam Cromie to assistant general manager and director of baseball operations.
The news comes more than a week after Bryan Minniti left his assistant GM post to take the same position with the D-backs.
WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span and first baseman Adam LaRoche are finalists for the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove award. The winners will be announced on Nov. 4 on ESPN2 from 7-8 p.m. ET.
It was LaRoche's glove that made the Nationals one of the better defensive teams in baseball, as he seemed to save third baseman Anthony Rendon, shortstop Ian Desmond and second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera from throwing errors on a regular basis.
WASHINGTON -- Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman said Michael Morse was one of the best teammates he ever had. One can imagine Zimmerman's reaction after Morse helped San Francisco advance into the World Series last week.
It was Morse's pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning that tied up Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals. San Francisco would win the pennant an inning later on a three-run homer by Travis Ishikawa.
WASHINGTON -- A panel of 22 managers voted Matt Williams Sporting News' National League Manager of the Year.
Even thought he dealt with major injuries to players such as Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman, Williams guided the Nationals to a 96-66 record, which was the best in the NL. Hired to replace Davey Johnson after the 2013 season, Williams guided the Nationals to their second division title in three years.
WASHINGTON -- Two weeks after watching his team get eliminated from the National League Division Series against the Giants, Nationals slugger Ryan Zimmerman is currently resting his right hamstring. He suffered a Grade 3 strain in the hamstring on July 22 against the Rockies and came back in time to participate in the postseason.
Zimmerman didn't start any of the four games against San Francisco. He had only four at-bats, all as a pinch-hitter. He said manager Matt Williams had the best players on the field and acknowledged that he wasn't fully recovered from the hamstring injury. Zimmerman may have come back too quickly.
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Astros received good news regarding relocating their Spring Training facility to Palm Beach County, Fla. On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners voted to approve a financing plan for the two teams. The Nats and Astros have 90 days to find a location for the complex.
The commissioners voted, 5-2, to allocate $108 million in hotel tax revenue for the facility, which will cost $135 million to build.
WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span is still waiting for the Nationals to pick up his option for 2015, worth $9 million. He said his agent informed him that the team could wait until after the World Series to pick up the option.
"I still haven't heard anything yet. I don't know what's going to happen to be honest with you," Span said on the telephone. "I would be surprised if it wasn't picked up. You just never know."
The Nationals had a great year under first-year manager Matt Williams, going 96-66. However, they fell to the Giants in the National League Division Series.
MLB.com caught up with Matt Williams recently to talk about the 2014 season, including the moves he made during the NLDS that had people scratching their heads.
Many people would say right-handed-hitting outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was the top player in the Washington Nationals' farm system this season. He was named the MVP and Rookie of the Year playing for Triple-A Syracuse in the International League.
Following that fantastic Minor League season in which he hit a combined .345 at Class A Hagerstown (one game), Class A Advanced Potomac (three games and 10 plate appearances) and Triple-A Syracuse (96 games and 407 plate appearances), Souza had a Major League moment he will never forget. Neither will Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, his big league teammates, manager Matt Williams or the fans. With two outs in the ninth inning in the final game of the season, Souza made a remarkable running and sliding catch to preserve Zimmermann's no-hitter.
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had a good enough team to go to the World Series, but they fell short by losing to the Giants in the National League Division Series.
The Nats fell off at the plate in the postseason, hitting .164 in the four games. Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon were the only hitters who performed admirably in the series. Did the four-day layoff after the regular season hurt them? One may never know.
WASHINGTON -- Nationals slugger Ryan Zimmerman didn't see much action in the National League Division Series against the Giants. He had four at-bats, all coming as a pinch-hitter.
It was expected that Zimmerman would be in the lineup in Game 3 against the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, but he started the game on the bench because of his history against the left-hander; he'd gone 3-for-17 (.176) with a home run and three RBIs.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Nationals' World Series hopes came to an end Tuesday night as they lost to the Giants, 3-2, in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, eliminating the club from postseason play.
"This is tough," center fielder Denard Span said. "We didn't play well all series. That's the bottom line. The Giants made the least amount of mistakes. We made too many mistakes. The little things added up. They were a better team for these four games."
SAN FRANCISCO -- Although they were eliminated from the National League Division Series by the Giants with Tuesday's 3-2 loss in Game 4, the Nationals are expected to be contenders for several years. The rotation is set for next season, with Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann leading the way, while Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond will be mainstays on offense.
"'We have a lot of talent, good ballplayers that are under contract and coming back," Desmond said. "The window isn't closed. It's important to look past this, go to Spring Training and be ready to go."
SAN FRANCISCO -- Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper hit a monster home run off Hunter Strickland in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on Saturday. Afterward, the Giants reliever said he wouldn't be afraid to challenge Harper again.
A similar situation occurred in the seventh inning of Washington's 3-2 loss in Game 4 at AT&T Park on Tuesday night. The Nats trailed by a run. Strickland was pitching. Harper was up with one out and nobody on.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less
SAN FRANCISCO -- One day after a throwing error by pitcher Madison Bumgarner derailed the Giants in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, two defensive miscues by Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals set up a two-run second inning for the Giants to open the scoring in Game 4 on Tuesday at AT&T Park.
After a 3-2 defeat ended Washington's season, those mistakes loomed large.
Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less
SAN FRANCISCO -- Nationals owner Mark Lerner circled through the silent visitors' clubhouse at AT&T Park on Tuesday night, stopping each player he came across to say a few quiet words. General manager Mike Rizzo did the same.
A few moments earlier, the Giants had eliminated the team with the National League's best record from their NL Division Series with a 3-2 decision in Game 4. This was not how the Nats had envisioned their season ending. Even after shortstop Ian Desmond was called out on a checked-swing third strike leading off the top of the ninth, a call he strongly disagreed with, he made sure not to say anything to home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt that would get him ejected.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Nationals needed a win Tuesday night to have the opportunity to play at least one more game this year. Bryce Harper set the stage with a game-tying home run in the top of the seventh.
That gave manager Matt Williams some options in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, including bringing star right-hander Stephen Strasburg out of the bullpen. Had Williams made that move, he would have still had Jordan Zimmermann ready to go on full rest in a decisive Game 5 on Thursday. But that possibility was rendered moot due to the Nats' season-ending 3-2 loss to the Giants.
It wasn't easy, but the Giants got the job done on Tuesday night, as they have so often in recent years. Their hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Nationals in Game 4 of the National League Division Series at AT&T Park gave them a 3-1 series win and sent them on to face the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series. San Francisco now sits four victories away from its third trip to the World Series in five years.
Here's what you should know from Game 4:
The Nationals and Giants were tied in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, but the home team was threatening. Heavy-metal music blared from AT&T Park's loudspeakers. Tens of thousands of Bay Area fans, who have been through this sort of thing before, screamed in anything but unison. And the new Nats pitcher, rookie Aaron Barrett, admitted to "trying to do a little too much" in what would become a 3-2 Giants win.
Q. What did you tell the team after the loss, and how disappointing was it to see the bullpen have problems in the seventh inning?
MATT WILLIAMS: Well, I told them that I'm proud of their effort. We established a way to go about this game in spring training, and we accomplished that goal. We played the way we wanted to play and did a lot of things right.
SAN FRANCISCO -- History will remember it as a moment of levity, the type to occupy stadium blooper reels for years to come. In the act of intentionally walking Pablo Sandoval in the seventh inning of Tuesday's Game 4 of the National League Division Series, which the Giants took from the Nationals, 3-2, Washington reliever Aaron Barrett sailed ball four all the way to the backstop.
The result was one of the more bizarre postseason plays in any context. Watching Barrett's mistake from third base, Giants catcher Buster Posey raced home. His counterpart, Wilson Ramos, hustled after the ball, grabbing it after it ricocheted off the wall behind home plate. Then Ramos flipped to Barrett, who tagged Posey while blocking most of the plate with his body.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Like he was during the regular season, Anthony Rendon has been the Nationals' best hitter in the postseason.
Entering Tuesday night's Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Giants, Rendon had gone 7-for-15 with an RBI in the series, and had played flawless defense, his play making an impression on Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Nationals and Giants found themselves in another pitchers' duel in Game 3 on Monday, and this time, it was the Nats who won, 4-1, at AT&T Park to remain alive in the National League Division Series.
Right-hander Doug Fister brought his best to the must-win game, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out three batters as the Nationals forced a Game 4 on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1).