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LaRoche wins first Gold Glove

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LaRoche wins first Gold Glove

The best offensive season of Adam LaRoche's career may actually have helped the Nationals first baseman be recognized at long last for his fielding prowess.

LaRoche won his first-ever Rawlings Gold Glove award tonight, selected as the best defensive first baseman in the National League in voting among managers and coaches.

LaRoche has long been considered stellar in the field, but the 32-year-old had never been recognized for it, losing out in previous Gold Glove selections to the likes of Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and Derrek Lee.

The NL's managers and coaches finally gave LaRoche his due this year, citing his .995 fielding percentage and ability to snatch up<!-- more --> errant throws that saved his infield mates from being charged with errors.

It probably didn't hurt that LaRoche enjoyed the best offensive season of his career -- he clubbed 33 homers with 100 RBI and a .271 batting average -- while playing for a first-place team, raising his profile among the rest of the league.

LaRoche was selected over two other finalists at first base: the Reds' Joey Votto (last year's winner) and the Braves' Freddie Freeman.

Now a free agent, LaRoche hopes to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Nationals. The two sides hold an exclusive negotiating window until Saturday, at which point LaRoche is free to talk to other clubs. He's believed to be seeking a three-year contract worth somewhere in the range of $33 million to $36 million.

Though teammate Ian Desmond also was a finalist to win his first Gold Glove award, the Nationals shortstop lost out to the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins (who won for the fourth time in six years).

Desmond, 27, enjoyed a breakthrough season at the plate and in the field, earning his first All-Star selection in the process. After committing a MLB-high 34 errors in 2010, he cleaned up his defensive game and brought that number down to 23 in 2011 and 15 this season.

Rollins committed the fewest errors (13) and had the best fielding percentage (.978) among qualifying NL shortstops.

LaRoche joins Ryan Zimmerman (2009) as the only Gold Glove award winners in Nationals history.

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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.