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Ex-Nats in new places: Zimmermann thriving, Desmond not so much


Ex-Nats in new places: Zimmermann thriving, Desmond not so much

The Nationals let a lot go in free agency and trades this winter as they retooled their roster to make way for new acquisitions and prospects coming up their minor league pipeline. This offseason alone saw Jordan Zimmermann, Denard Span, Ian Desmond, Craig Stammen and Doug Fister leave via free agency. Drew Storen and Yunel Escobar were also traded.

Here is a look at how all those former Nationals are doing through the first few weeks of this season...

SP Jordan Zimmermann, Detroit Tigers - 3-0, 0.00 ERA, 19.1 IP, 0 ER, 15 SO, 6 BB

Zimmermann is off to the best start of his MLB career with zero runs allowed through three outings. That's a 19 1/3 scoreless innings streak. What makes that run even more impressive is that it's come against three teams that were in the playoffs last season: the Yankees, Pirates and Royals. Zimmermann has been dominant against some of the best teams in baseball.

OF Ian Desmond, Texas Rangers - .132 BA, .207 OBP, .151 SLG, .358 OPS, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 9 R, SB

Desmond has not been as fortunate as Zimmermann, as the now-left fielder for the Texas Rangers is off to a terrible start this season. Desmond is batting just .132 with 16 strikeouts in 14 games. His .358 OPS is third-worst among qualified MLB hitters. And to make matters even worse, he already has two errors in the outfield for Texas. Just like 2015, Desmond has stumbled out of the gate.

OF Denard Span, San Francisco Giants - .233 BA, .299 OBP, .350 SLG, .649 OPS, HR, 10 RBI, 9 R, 2 SB

Span dealt with some minor injury issues during spring training, but has shown no ill effects so far in 2016. His batting average is lower than he'd like, but how about the 10 RBI? Span has never driven in more than 68 runs in a season, yet he's on pace for 108 right now. He's also on track for about 22 steals.

SP Doug Fister, Houston Astros - 1-2, 5.94 ERA, 16.2 IP, 11 ER, 9 SO, 4 BB

Like Desmond, Fister is not off to a good start with his new team. Fister has made three starts for the Astros and has allowed 11 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings. He has already surrendered three homers in three starts and has a 5.94 ERA.

RP Drew Storen, Toronto Blue Jays - 0-1, 7.11 ERA, 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 SO, BB, SV

Storen has struggled so far in a late-innings role with the Blue Jays, as he now holds a 7.11 ERA after seven appearances. He gave up two earned runs on April 8 against the Red Sox and then another two earned on the road in Boston. Storen has allowed at least one hit in six of his seven games this season.

3B Yunel Escobar, Los Angeles Angels -.274 BA, .348 OBP, .419 SLG, .767 OPS, HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, 7 BB

The Angels' leadoff hitter, Escobar is still getting on base at a solid rate. He has a .348 OBP through 15 games with one homer and five RBI. Escobar currently has more walks (7) than strikeouts (5) and holds a .767 OPS, which is pretty close to his .790 mark from last year. One stat, though, stands out in bad way for Escobar. That is the three errors he's already committed at third base.

RP Craig Stammen, Cleveland Indians - N/A

Stammen has yet to make an appearance for either the Indians or the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, where he is currently stationed. Stammen is on the Clippers' 7-day disabled list at the moment.

[RELATED: Werth left Nats' win over Marlins with hamstring injury]

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May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

The start of spring training is a glimmer of hope during the cold of winter. It means warm weather, cold beers and hot dogs at the ballpark are coming your way.

It's our first chance to get a taste of how our favorite team is shaping up for the 2018 season, and for those who are not quite into just the game itself, betting odds.

CG Technology, a Las Vegas sportsbook operator, has set the 2018 odds for each MLB team.

Specifically, how are things looking for the local teams?


Washington Nationals: 91 1/2 wins

The 2018 season is looked at by many as the last World Series run for some time for the Nationals and their core group of players. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez will become free agents after the 2018 season in addition to general manager and President of Baseball Operations, Mike Rizzo.

In 2017, the team won 97 games and went on to win the NL East, but couldn't make it past the first-round of the National League Division Series. In 2018, Vegas is giving the Nats 7/2 odds of taking the National League title. They are just behind the Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out of contention last season, at 4/1 odds.

As far as winning the World Series, Vegas is giving the guys an 8/1 chance of their first title, tied with the Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles: 77 1/2 wins

The O's finished the 2017 season with 75 wins, which could be considered somewhat of an accomplishment considering their pitching resources.

The same problem will occur in 2018 as the organization hasn't signed any new starting pitchers. Vegas is giving them 50/1 odds of taking the American League title and 100/1 odds of winning the World Series.

The lack of depth in their rotation will come back to bite them as division rival New York Yankees have 5/1 odds of winning the World Series and the Red Sox have 10/1 odds.

A below average season should be expected.

A few other standouts, good and bad, include the Miami Marlins at 500/1 odds of winning the World Series, the Kansas City Royals at 200/1 and current champions, the Houston Astros, at 6/1 odds.


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Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine


Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine

SAN DIEGO — Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza has been arrested on suspicion of trafficking drugs after packages containing a white powder believed to be cocaine were found at a home he rented in Southern California, officials said Monday.

The 46-year-old former Major League Baseball player was booked Friday on charges involving the possession, transport and sale of 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of suspected cocaine worth an estimated $500,000, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

Loaiza played for numerous teams between 1995 and 2008, starting with the Pittsburgh Pirates and concluding with his second stint with the Chicago White Sox. He had a 21-9 record with the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and started in the All-Star Game that year.


He also played one season for the Washington Nationals in 2005 — the team's inaugural season in D.C. after the franchise changed from the Montreal Expos. During his one season in Washington, Loaiza finished with a 12-10 record adn a 3.77 ERA over 34 games played that year.

It was not immediately known if Loaiza had hired a lawyer and the former player could not be reached to comment. He was being held Monday for lack of $200,000 bail pending a court appearance on Wednesday.

Loaiza's agent, John Boggs, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had no information about the arrest and that he has not spoken to Loaiza recently. He said that Loaiza had called his office early last week but Boggs was unavailable at the time.

"I am shocked and saddened by the news and had no indication he would ever be in this type of situation," Boggs said in a text to the newspaper. "I don't know how he would get himself involved in this, so it's difficult to even comment on it."

Officers stopped Loaiza for a minor traffic infraction Friday after he left the home he started renting recently in the Pacific coast community of Imperial Beach, along the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities had the vehicle under surveillance on suspicion it was used for smuggling drugs.

When they searched the vehicle, they found a sophisticated compartment used to conceal contraband, authorities said. That led them to obtain a search warrant for Loaiza's rental home, where they found the packages of drugs, according to investigators.

The packages containing a white powder are still being tested but are believed to be cocaine, said San Diego Sheriff's Lt. Jason Vickery.

Loaiza was born in Tijuana, Mexico and was married for two years to the late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. She filed for divorce shortly before she died in a plane crash in 2012.

The 43-year-old Rivera was known as the "Diva de la Banda" and died as her career was peaking. She was perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated Mexico regional style, sold more than 15 million records, and moved into acting and reality television.

Loaiza sued the aircraft's owners in 2014 for wrongful death but her relatives accused him of trying to profit from her death. He denied the accusations and later retracted his lawsuit.

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.