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Bernadina to start, Brown joins bench

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Bernadina to start, Brown joins bench

NEW YORK -- Ian Desmond's placement on the disabled list has a domino effect throughout the Nationals' lineup. Obviously, Danny Espinosa takes over at shortstop, with Steve Lombardozzi moving to second base.

But who takes the lineup spot Lombardozzi had been occupying for months? Enter Roger Bernadina.

The 28-year-old outfielder, who has bounced in and out of the Nationals' lineup for three years, gets another shot at a regular gig. Manager Davey Johnson said today he hopes Bernadina can continue his recent hot streak at the plate -- he's 11 for his last 19, raising his batting average to .291 in the process -- and will start in center field against right-handers.

Tyler Moore, meanwhile, will start in left field against left-handers, bumping Bryce Harper to center field and Michael Morse to right field.

"It's basically going to be in a platoon situation, kind of like I was with Lombo out there," Johnson said.

What, then, becomes of Corey Brown, promoted from Class AAA Syracuse today to take Desmond's vacant roster spot? Though the 26-year-old outfielder had produced big numbers in the minors this season (a .300 average, 21 homers, 58 RBI) he'll once again be used off the bench in the big leagues, just as he was during a brief stint with the Nationals in late-May.

For Brown, who took the short flight from Syracuse to New York this morning, a chance to be back in the majors trumps whatever role he's asked to play.

"It's definitely exciting to be called up and to be able to be part of a team that's doing so well all year," he said. "It's an honor to be a part of it now, and hopefully I can be here the rest of the year and help in some way. If not, I'm sure I can be in the mix at some point."

This is Brown's third stint with the Nationals, including a call-up last September, but he's still looking for his first big-league base hit. He's 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, though he did record his first RBI May 29 with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt.

"I got the RBI," he said. "Now I want to get that hit."

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has coasted to his third Cy Young Award and second straight in the National League.

Scherzer breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The honor was announced Wednesday on MLB Network.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit. He became the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs.

RELATED: WIETERS WILL RETURN TO NATS IN 2018 

Scherzer was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and a league-leading 268 strikeouts for the NL East champion Nationals.

Kershaw has already won three NL Cy Youngs, and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians easily won his second AL Cy Young Award earlier in the day. He got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with Boston's Chris Sale second and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees third.

Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball.