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Hill remembers his time with Nationals organization warmly

Hill remembers his time with Nationals organization warmly

WASHINGTON—It’s hard to believe that Rich Hill was also a National. Hill, the Game 2 starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers pitched for the Nationals’ Triple-A Syracuse team in 2015. 

Last year was the year that Hill actually dropped out of organized ball and landed in Independent ball. 

Before the Long Island Ducks. Before the late season resurrection in Boston, there was Syracuse. 

Hill, who at 36 may be one of the hottest talents on an incredibly thin free agent market, could have been a National. 

No bitterness, no regret. 

“A great organization. Enjoyed the time that we had here in spring training, the guys here in spring training. Just the camaraderie that they had, the intensity of Max Scherzer, watching him prepare during spring training,” Hill remembers.

"I'll talk about Syracuse. But the selflessness of a Tanner Roark -- this is going back to last year, how many games did he win in '14? 15, right? And he goes in the bullpen, and there were 29 other teams that said, we'll put him in the rotation.” 

Hill, who spoke before Friday’s Game 1, sounds as if he’s still with the Nationals as he lauds his former teammates. 

“But to have guys that will put their own accolades aside or, not so much careers, but they will sacrifice certain things for the team, that's what I saw. There was a very good team environment.”

With the Chiefs, Hill whose big league career began in 2005 and included stops with the Cubs, Orioles, two with the Red Sox, Indians, Angels, Yankees and Athletics, went 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 25 relief appearances. 

“We had some older veteran guys that were on that team that weren't complaining about, well, I should be in the big leagues. You get kind of that mix when you're in Triple-A. But it was not so there, and that had a lot to do with the coaching staff. Those guys there were great,” Hill said. 

Hill exercised his opt-out at Syracuse because he didn’t see a place for him on the Nationals. 

“I told them I was going to take my release and they said, ‘Well, we'll give you an extra week to find another job if you would like. I just didn't see it working out here in Washington. You know, players have outs in their contracts that are mutual to say, you know, if you would like to go somewhere else, if you think it would work out somewhere else, you've earned the right, so be it, best of luck both ways. So that had happened.

“Would have liked to have seen it work out here, sure, no doubt, because of everything that was going on in spring training, like I had said before, just the guys on the team, it was made of a team, a team, a group of guys that everybody was pulling for each other.”

After his opt-out, Hill was at home for a month, and went to Long Island for two starts. He impressed the Red Sox, and a year later he’s facing the team that he so admires.

RELATED: Ramos' first pitch provides special moment for Nats

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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.


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.