Nationals

Quick Links

Catching up with now-Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard

usatsi_8722515.jpg

Catching up with now-Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard

Tyler Clippard will get his first chance to face his former Nationals teammates on Friday night, as the Nats play at the New York Mets in a big weekend series.

Clippard was traded to the Mets on Monday from the Oakland Athletics, whom he was traded to by the Nats over the offseason. Now he finds himself back in the NL East and in the middle of a pennant race pitted against many of his closest friends.

Clippard chatted with reporters before Friday's game and had some great stuff on his new team and thoughts on facing the Nationals. He touched on a variety of subjects, so I decided to display it in question-and-answer form...

On joining the Mets this week and being back in New York, where he began his career with the Yankees:

"I'm excited to be back here. It's a different perspective, it's NL baseball. A team that's in the race, so I'm excited for that for sure."

On the Nats trading for Jonathan Papelbon and moving Drew Storen, a close friend of Clippards, to the setup role:

"It was a little bit shocking. He didn't really lose the job, it was just circumstantial as far as they wanted to improve their bullpen and they did that with the acquisition there. But he's a professional, he'll be fine. He's been pitching great this year. I've been watching from afar and he's probably thrown better than I've ever seen him throw it. With that being said, I don't expect anything to change on that aspect of it. It is what it is, he's a pro and he's going to approach it that way."

On what advice he would give Storen:

"They're three games in the lead and they're trying to win the pennant and he knows that. So, the advice is 'keep going out there putting up zeroes and helping the team win.' That's all you can do as a player, so I'm sure that's how he's approaching it."

On the fact he now plays for the Nats' division rival:

"It's going to be fun, man. I remember last year before the playoffs started we had an intrasquad game, so I got a chance to pitch against my own teammates then. There was a lot of trash talking and bets going around. You know, 'if I strike you out, or if you hit a home run off me,' this and that. A lot of bragging rights involved in this series for me and them, too. The competitive side of it is going to be a lot of fun. When I get the ball in my hand, I'm going to try to get them out. For me, hopefully I can put up a zero and brag a little bit...

"I faced Werth, got a hundred bucks off of him. I struck him out. Harp, he grounded out to second. Desi, I walked him unfortunately. Those are the three that stand out. I think I had bets with all three of those guys, so that's why I remember it. It's going to be fun. I spent a lot of time with those guys. They're good friends. I'm looking forward to trying to one-up them."

On if he still wants to be a closer:

"Yeah, it's one of those things where I feel like I've done a lot of different roles in my career out of the bullpen. I've proven that I can handle pretty much any of those roles. At this point in my career, I feel like universally throughout the league the teams out there realize that I'm an asset, regardless if that means pitching the eighth, seventh, ninth; whatever it is. I realize there is a business-side of this, too. At this point, I'm just happy to be the guy that people think I am. Whatever inning I'm throwing, I'm going to do that job and that's kind of my approach at this point."

On his time in Oakland this season:

"I enjoyed it, man. I was really happy that they gave me the opportunity to be a closer over there. I fought hard for a long time to get those opportunities and they gave me a chance. I was happy that they did that. It was fun for me to get that opportunity over there for the first four months of the year."

Quick Links

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

Quick Links

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE