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LaRoche out with oblique strain


LaRoche out with oblique strain

Given the injuries they've already sustained and the lack of production they've been getting from the rest of their lineup, the Nationals can ill-afford to lose Adam LaRoche for any length of time.

But it appears they'll be without their cleanup hitter and starting first baseman for at least several days after he suffered an injury to his right oblique muscle while diving for a ball during Wednesday night's game.

LaRoche finished out that game but reported to Nationals Park today feeling tightness on his right side. He attempted to take a couple of swings off a tee, but quickly shut himself down, not wanting the injury to become any more severe.

"I know these things can linger," he said. "I hope we caught it early enough where we can knock it out shortly and get back out there, because obviously the timing couldn't be any worse."

The Nationals are currently playing without either third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right shoulder inflammation) or left fielder Michael Morse (right lat muscle strain). Zimmerman is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday but may not be ready until Tuesday. Morse will be shut down for at least three more weeks before resuming baseball activities.

The Nationals aren't putting any official timetable on LaRoche's return, but Davey Johnson said he "might be down 2-3 days." The manager added this oblique injury is "not in the DeRosa category," referring to veteran Mark DeRosa, who just went on the DL with an oblique strain.

LaRoche, who leads the club with four homers and 17 RBI, said he first felt something in his right side after diving for a groundball to his right early during Wednesday's game but initially didn't think much of it.

"I thought at the time I just landed on my ribs, or landed on something," he said. "When I came back to swing the bat, I knew it was something else."

The injury occurred before LaRoche attempted to steal second base in the bottom of the sixth, though he said that play didn't cause any further damage. The 32-year-old has only five stolen bases (in 16 attempts) in his career.

"Just doing what I'm told," he said of the surprise call. "I was ordered to go, which is a compliment. But I think I was thrown out by about 20 feet. They probably won't do that again."

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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.