Conflicting reports on Harper, Nats talking extension

Conflicting reports on Harper, Nats talking extension

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- It has long been speculated that Bryce Harper could command the largest contract in baseball history when he reaches free agency after the 2018 season, but according to his agent, the two sides have not discussed such a deal at this time.

Harper's agent, Scott Boras, told MLB.com's Jon Morosi the only contractual discussions between the two sides have pertained to Harper's 2017 season, when the slugger is eligible for arbitration.

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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 have options with Melancon off the table

Washington exploring FAs, trade market; could also look at current roster

Nats have options with Melancon off the table

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Addressing their bullpen was one of the Nationals' top priorities entering this offseason, but the club missed out on re-signing its closer from the end of last season. Mark Melancon has agreed to a deal with the Giants that, according to multiple reports, will be the largest free-agent contract for a reliever in history at four years and $62 million. While the Nats did pursue Melancon and made him an offer at what they felt was his market value, general manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged that the Giants offered more money.

But even though they missed on Melancon, the Nationals will still explore more options for improving their bullpen.

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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, Perez commit to World Baseball Classic

Scherzer, Perez commit to World Baseball Classic

With the World Baseball Classic just a few months away, the rosters are beginning to take shape. More names surfaced Monday as the World Baseball Classic released an initial list of 30 players who are confirmed to be participating in the 2017 tournament.

Spanning 16 countries, the players include 24 Major League All-Stars, but the upcoming WBC, which will take place in March, provides a global stage for veterans and rising stars alike.

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

Nats contribute items to Forde charity auction

Nats contribute items to Forde charity auction

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The fifth annual Play Ball Charity Auction from Major League Baseball has an added meaning for all 30 clubs considering it will support the renovation of an existing youth baseball and softball field in memory of the late Mets public relations executive, Shannon Forde, who passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer.

A field in her hometown of Little Ferry, N.J., will be renamed "Shannon Forde Field" and will be renovated to include dugouts with protective fencing and benches, perimeter fencing, bleachers, backstops, scoreboard and field signs.

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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.

Stevenson, Ward on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

Selected by AFL managers and coaches, the team recognizes 24 players who stood out

Stevenson, Ward on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

The 2016 Arizona Fall League came to an end on Nov. 19, when the Mesa Solar Sox, powered by a two-homer, 4-for-4 performance from Cubs top prospect Ian Happ, defeated the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1, in the championship game at Scottsdale Stadium.

Since then, MLBPipeline.com has broken down this year's impressive contingent of Fall League participants in different ways, highlighting the circuit's top performers and breakout prospects and even constructing an All-AFL Team.

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

Revere a free agent as Nats non-tender contract

Outfielder struggled in first season with Washington

Revere a free agent as Nats non-tender contract

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals did not tender a contract to Ben Revere on Friday, ending his Washington career after one season and making him a free agent.

The Nationals acquired Revere last offseason from Toronto, hoping that he could be the team's leadoff hitter and center fielder. But Revere's season was derailed by an oblique injury sustained on Opening Day and he never found his swing, struggling through the worst offensive season of his career.

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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.

Norris returns to Nats in deal with Padres

Norris returns to Nats in deal with Padres

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have filled their void at catcher, completing a trade with the Padres on Friday afternoon, acquiring Derek Norris in exchange for Minor League right-hander Pedro Avila.

Norris was picked by Washington in the fourth round of the 2007 Draft, but didn't break into the Majors until after he was traded to Oakland as a part of the deal for Gio Gonzalez in the winter of 2011. He was an All-Star in 2014, and the Padres acquired him the following offseason. The Nationals are counting on Norris, 27, to bounce back after the worst offensive season in his career.

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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 keeping center field options open

Targeting McCutchen, Washington also considering Fowler, Gomez, Eaton

Nats keeping center field options open

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have been connected to Andrew McCutchen recently, but the team is reportedly keeping its options open as it searches for an outfielder and right-handed bat.

Washington is also considering free agents Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gomez, in addition to White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

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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.

Norris provides Werth with beard competition

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Norris provides Werth with beard competition

For years, Jayson Werth has been the lone caveman-like bearded National. Last year, Bryce Harper grew out a sculpted beard and Daniel Murphy often enjoys going a few days without a shave, but no one was going to challenge Werth for title of Largest Beard on the team. 

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Lobaton, Nationals reach deal for 2017

Catcher avoids arbitration with contract valued at $1.575M

Lobaton, Nationals reach deal for 2017

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and catcher José Lobatón agreed on a one-year contract to avoid arbitration, the team announced Thursday. Lobatón and the Nationals reportedly settled for $1.575 million, according to the Washington Post, an increase of $187,500 from last season.

Washington's catching situation still carries some uncertainty, with Wilson Ramos almost certain to walk as a free agent. Even if Ramos were to return, he tore the ACL in his right knee in late September and will not be ready until at least a month after the season starts.

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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' pursuit of McCutchen intensifies

Pirates outfielder would fill need for right-handed power hitter

Nats' pursuit of McCutchen intensifies

WASHINGTON -- Hours after Major League Baseball and the Players Association agreed on new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Nationals began ramping up their aggressiveness.

Talks between the Nationals and the Pirates for a trade that would bring outfielder Andrew McCutchen to Washington intensified Thursday, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, with Washington wanting to complete a deal ahead of Friday's 8 p.m. ET non-tender deadline.

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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.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides. 

At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bounce-back season earns Rendon NL Comeback Award

Limited to 80 games in 2015, 3rd baseman slugged 20 homers in '16

Bounce-back season earns Rendon NL Comeback Award

WASHINGTON -- Entering the 2016 season, it was unclear exactly what kind of production Anthony Rendon could provide for the Nationals. Would he be closer to the injury-riddled '15 season, or would he return to the form that allowed him to finish fifth in the voting for the National League Most Valuable Player Award in '14?

Rendon answered those questions with a bounce-back 2016 campaign, for which he was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award winner on Tuesday afternoon. The awards, voted on by MLB.com writers and revealed on MLB Network, are given to one player in each league who re-emerged on the field during the season. Rick Porcello won the American League version of the 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

The Next Big Leaguers: Nationals' Stevenson

A team-by-team look at future key contributors who starred in the 2016 Arizona Fall League

The Next Big Leaguers: Nationals' Stevenson

The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.

We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.

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

Nats make a difference at Food and Friends

Nats make a difference at Food and Friends

WASHINGTON -- Members of the Nationals' front office spent Monday preparing turkeys, portioning out side dishes and helping fix meals during the organization's annual visit to Food and Friends ahead of Thanksgiving.

Food and Friends helps prepare and deliver meals and nutrition counseling to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses within the Washington, D.C., area. The organization was founded in 1988, during the AIDS crisis, and began serving people with HIV/AIDS because of how often they had been ostracized and left without access to nutritional food. The Nationals have volunteered there around Thanksgiving for the past nine years.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Nats' Stevenson among Top 25 Fall League prospects

Nats' Stevenson among Top 25 Fall League prospects

While the most talented team doesn't always win the championship, it did in the Arizona Fall League. The Mesa Solar Sox wrapped up the East Division crown on the final day of the regular season before rolling to an easy victory in the AFL's one-game playoff for its first title since 2003.

Mesa had the league's deepest lineup, as evidenced by its seven hitters who rank among the AFL's 20 best prospects below. The Solar Sox had star power with outfielders Eloy Jimenez (Cubs) and Bradley Zimmer (Indians) and second baseman Ian Happ (Cubs), all of whom sit in the 20s on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list. They also had emerging talents such as shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang and outfielder Greg Allen, who have been overshadowed in a deep Indians system, and league home run leader Brian Anderson (Marlins No. 4 prospect), who had support for making our list.

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

Nats get prospect arm Cordero from Phils

Nats get prospect arm Cordero from Phils

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals added a potential bullpen arm when they acquired right-hander Jimmy Cordero from the Phillies on Wednesday morning for a player to be named. Cordero was designated for assignment last week by Philadelphia after a shoulder injury during Spring Training last season kept him out until July.

Before the injury, Cordero, who was the No. 25 prospect in the Phillies system as rated by MLBPipeline, was projected as a future back-end of the bullpen arm with a fastball that sits in the high 90s and has even hit 100 mph. Cordero, 25, owns a strong strikeout rate in his career, with 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings, a 2.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 3.80 career ERA over five years in the Minors.

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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's first two Nationals years prove exceptional

2016 NL Cy winner has turned in 2 no-hitters, 20-strikeout game

Scherzer's first two Nationals years prove exceptional

WASHINGTON -- When the Nationals shocked the baseball world by signing Max Scherzer two offseasons ago, they did so without an obvious need for starting pitching, aiming to fortify their rotation with an ace for years to come.

And after the first two seasons of that seven-year, $210 million contract -- the biggest in team history -- the Nationals could not have asked for more.

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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.

Raines seeks HOF spot in final year on ballot

Raines seeks HOF spot in final year on ballot

NEW YORK -- Tim Raines seems to be inching closer to Cooperstown. He is hoping his 10th and final year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame will lead to election.

Raines came close last January. He was named on 69.8 percent of the ballots casted by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Nats' Stevenson on MLB Pipeline's All-AFL team

Nats' Stevenson on MLB Pipeline's All-AFL team

The Arizona Fall League's six-week season concluded with Saturday's championship game. And while it can be difficult to evaluate players in such a limited amount of time, especially with frequent roster fluctuations, some performances in the Fall League simply stand out more than others.

Here is a lineup of prospects who impressed in this year's Fall League as MLBPipeline.com's All-AFL Team:

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

Snyder among 5 Spring Training non-roster invitees

Snyder among 5 Spring Training non-roster invitees

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have signed five players to Minor League contracts with an invitation to Major League Spring Training: Infielder Brandon Snyder, left-hander Braulio Lara, right-handers Derek Eitel and Dustin Antolin and infielder Corban Joseph have all been signed with a chance to compete for bench and bullpen spots in Washington next season.

Snyder, a former first-round Draft pick with the Orioles who attended high school in Virginia, has played in 120 career Major League games with four teams, most recently with the Braves in 2016. He is a career .242/.279/.459 hitter but knocked four home runs with a .907 OPS in 37 games last season in Atlanta. Snyder, who will turn 30 on Wednesday, has played the corner infield positions most often but also has some experience in the outfield.

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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

Stevenson among breakout prospects from Arizona Fall League

Stevenson among breakout prospects from Arizona Fall League

The 25th season of the Arizona Fall League is now complete, and the silver anniversary edition of the league was one of the best in terms of top prospects and outstanding performances.

It wasn't just the elite-level prospects and the more known names who stood out, though it was certainly exciting to see the Gleyber Torreses of the world live up to, and exceed, expectations. But every year, the AFL helps the more under-the-radar types put themselves more firmly on the prospect map.

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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.

Scherzer wins MLB Awards for Best Pitcher, Performance

Scherzer wins MLB Awards for Best Pitcher, Performance

WASHINGTON -- It's easy to tell once Max Scherzer finds himself in a groove on the mound. He fires another strike three and then stomps around behind the mound, often yelling to himself, as the ball is thrown around the infield. Once he receives the ball again, Scherzer quickly stands back on the mound, his eyes locked into the catcher and ready to flood the strike zone again with pitches that often flummox opposing batters. The symptoms of a historic performance can be easy to spot, but for an opposing team, far more difficult to stop.

Scherzer was at perhaps the height of his talent facing his former Tigers teammates on May 11, when he tied a Major League record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Scherzer won the Esurance MLB Award for Best Performance for that display of dominance and for Best Pitcher, when the awards were revealed on Friday 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.

Nats, Heisey agree to 1-year deal

Nats, Heisey agree to 1-year deal

The Washington Nationals and outfielder Chris Heisey have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced Saturday morning.

The monetary details of the agreement have not been announced, but ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported last week that it's a $1.4 million deal and includes performance bonuses.

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

'Freakish talent' put Vlad at Cooperstown's doorstep

9-time All-Star is making his first appearance on Hall of Fame ballot

'Freakish talent' put Vlad at Cooperstown's doorstep

His first Major League home run said a lot about Vladimir Guerrero -- whose pure talent on a baseball field was as overflowing as it was hard to explain. He will be up for Hall of Fame consideration for the first time in 2017.

It was Sept. 21, 1996, at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Guerrero was a 6-foot-3, 200-pound, 21-year-old rookie outfielder for the Expos in his third Major League game. He rocketed to the big leagues from Double-A Harrisburg, where he had toyed with pitchers while generating story upon story about his vicious right-handed swing, deer-like speed and devastating throwing arm from right field.

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

Voth among additions to Nats' 40-man roster

Voth among additions to Nats' 40-man roster

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals added five players to their 40-man roster on Friday, headlined by right-hander Austin Voth, in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8, the final day of the Winter Meetings.

Voth, the club's No. 9 prospect as rated by MLBPipeline.com who was just named pitcher of the week in the Arizona Fall League, is joined by outfielder Rafael Bautista, first baseman Jose Marmolejos, catcher Raudy Read and infielder Matt Skole. The Nationals now have 36 players on their 40-man roster after the additions, which were required to be made ahead of Friday's deadline at 5 p.m. ET.

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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.