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Nationals' 2013 schedule released

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Nationals' 2013 schedule released

NEW YORK -- The Nationals will open 2013 with a home series against the Marlins, the first step in a new-look schedule that includes more interleague play and some other new quirks.

Major League Baseball unveiled its 2013 slate this afternoon, revealing for the first time how the 162-game season will play out now that there will be 15 teams in both the National and American Leagues.

The Houston Astros' relocation to the AL brings a more balanced schedule, but it also increases the total number of interleague games to 20 and requires at least one interleague series to take place every day of the season.

Thus, the Nationals will get an early test against an AL powerhouse when the White Sox come to town April 9-11. Like all NL East clubs, they'll face every team from the AL Central next season, with home interleague series also scheduled for May 7-8 against the Tigers and June 7-9 against the Twins, and road series scheduled for June 14-16 at the Indians, July 30-31 at the Tigers and Aug. 23-25 at the Royals.

The Nationals still maintain their annual Battle of the Beltways with the Orioles, but that series has been reduced to four games from six, all played in succession between the two cities. The Orioles will be in Washington May 27-28, with the Nationals playing in Baltimore May 29-30.

After commencing this season on the road in Chicago, the Nationals get to celebrate Opening Day at home in 2013, with the Marlins in town on Monday, April 1. After a built-in day off to protect against a rain-out, the two teams finish their series April 3-4.

Other 2013 highlights include an Independence Day home game against the Brewers, and an unconventional final week of the regular season that will see the Nationals travel to St. Louis Sept. 23-25 and then Arizona (Sept. 27-29).

The full schedule...

2013 NATIONALS SCHEDULE
Apr. 1, 3-4 vs. Marlins
Apr. 5-7 at Reds
Apr. 9-11 vs. White Sox (AL)
Apr. 12-14 vs. Braves
Apr. 15-17 at Marlins
Apr. 19-21 at Mets
Apr. 22-24 vs. Cardinals
Apr. 25-28 vs. Reds
Apr. 29-30, May 1-2 at Braves
May 3-5 at Pirates
May 7-8 vs. Tigers (AL)
May 10-12 vs. Cubs
May 13-15 at Dodgers
May 16-19 at Padres
May 20-22 at Giants
May 24-26 vs. Phillies
May 27-28 vs. Orioles (AL)
May 29-30 at Orioles (AL)
May 31-June 2 at Braves
June 4-6 vs. Mets
June 7-9 vs. Twins (AL)
June 11-13 at Rockies
June 14-16 at Indians (AL)
June 17-19 at Phillies
June 25-27 vs. Diamondbacks
June 28-30 at Mets
July 1-4 vs. Brewers
July 5-7 vs. Padres
July 8-11 at Phillies
July 12-14 at Marlins
July 16 All-Star Game at New York (NL)
July 19-21 vs. Dodgers
July 22-25 vs. Pirates
July 26-28 vs. Mets
July 30-31 at Tigers (AL)
Aug. 2-4 at Brewers
Aug. 5-7 vs. Braves
Aug. 9-11 vs. Phillies
Aug. 13-15 vs. Giants
Aug. 16-18 at Braves
Aug. 19-22 at Cubs
Aug. 23-25 at Royals (AL)
Aug. 27-29 vs. Marlins
Aug. 30-Sept. 1 vs. Mets
Sept. 2-4 at Phillies
Sept. 6-8 at Marlins
Sept. 9-12 at Mets
Sept. 13-15 vs. Phillies
Sept. 16-18 vs. Braves
Sept. 19-22 vs. Marlins
Sept. 23-25 at Cardinals
Sept. 27-29 at Diamondbacks

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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.