Washington Nationals News: Plenty of changes coming for Nationals


Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. Get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson and the Washington Post’s James Wagner discuss the many changes that the Nationals are expected to make this offseason. As we know, the team underperformed drastically in 2015 and is expected to see great changes in the bullpen, infield and starting rotation next season. The team also has several players hitting free agency, and they’ll have to decide whether or not to extend qualifying offers to those players.

As Ladson notes, the bullpen was one of the team’s biggest weaknesses in 2015 and is expected to receive a complete overhaul this offseason. Former closer Drew Storen will most likely be traded since his relationship with the team has soured in recent months. Closer Jonathan Papelbon will likely be gone next year too, as he struggled in the closer’s role with the Nationals and choked franchise cornerstone Bryce Harper in a dugout skirmish late in the season. It won’t be easy to trade Papelbon, but one way or another, one would think he has to go.

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The coaching staff will also see a complete overhaul this winter. The team already made the biggest change by hiring manager Bud Black, whom they will likely introduce at some point this week. The Nationals also let go the entire coaching staff, so new coaches will fill those vacancies as well.

Of course, the team also has several players hitting free agency this winter. The most prominent names are Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Denard Span and Doug Fister. The team has until Friday at 5 p.m. to extend qualifying offers to those players before they hit the open market.

As Wagner notes in his article, the only players that have a real chance of receiving a qualifying offer are likely Span, Zimmermann and Desmond. Nobody has ever accepted a qualifying offer, so the Nationals could presumably risk offering a qualifying offer to all three players without having to add $15.8 million to next year’s payroll, which is the value that the league set for qualifying offers this year. If the players don’t accept the offer, the Nationals would receive compensation draft picks.

With the World Series behind us, the Hot Stove should begin to pick up quickly for the Nationals and around baseball. Be sure to stay tuned to DoD as we cover what promises to be an exciting offseason in the nation’s capital.

Plenty of changes coming for Nationals

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

WASHINGTON — After being unable to reach the postseason this past season, the Nationals dismissed manager Matt Williams and informed their entire coaching staff that their contracts would not be renewed.

The team is expected to name Bud Black its new manager sometime this week and put together its coaching staff later on. However, changing the coaching staff can only do so much. The Nationals need to improve their roster — especially the bullpen, which faltered when it faced teams like the Mets in July and September. Read full article here.

Which Nationals should get qualifying offers?

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

Free agency officially begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, after a five-day window in which teams can negotiate exclusively with their own free agent players. Six Nationals, for now, fall under that category: Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Denard Span, Matt Thornton and Dan Uggla. Casey Janssen and Nate McLouth likely will join them when their options are bought out.

The first major deadline is 5 p.m. Friday. All teams have until then to extend a qualifying offer to any of their free agent players. This year, the qualifying offer is a one-year deal worth $15.8 million, the average of the top 125 salaries in the sport. Read full article here.