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Nationals hire Dusty Baker as new manager

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Nationals hire Dusty Baker as new manager

In a stunning twist to cap a tumultuous 24 hours, the Nationals announced Tuesday morning they have hired Dusty Baker as their new manager, negotiations with initial choice Bub Black having fallen apart over the weekend.

Baker, a 3-time NL Manager of the Year Award winner with 20 seasons of experience at the big-league level, receives a "multi-year contract," the club announced. No more contract details were released.

"We were looking for a manager to help us achieve our ultimate goal of competing for a World Series championship," managing principal owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. "During our broad search process we met with many qualified candidates, and ultimately it was clear that Dusty's deep experience was the best fit for our ballclub."

That wasn't the Nationals' initial conclusion. After meeting at least eight candidates for the job over several weeks, the club informed former Padres manager Bud Black on Wednesday he was the choice, according to a source familiar with the decision. The two sides then attempted to negotiate a contract, but talks fell apart when the Nationals were unwilling to offer Black more than two guaranteed years, the source said.

Unable to find common ground, the club then turned back to Baker, who had been the other finalist for the job, and hashed out details of this deal with the 66-year-old late Monday night.

Whether the Nationals made a better offer to Baker than Black isn't clear yet, but the organization has never previously given its manager more than two guaranteed years since the Lerner family took over as owners in 2006. (Davey Johnson, the highest-paid of the team's previous five skippers, did have an extra year on his deal to serve as a consultant with the team after he left the dugout following the 2013 season.)

Baker has a wealth of experience with the Giants, Cubs and Reds, having guided all three franchises to the postseason and the 2002 Giants to the World Series (where they lost to the Angels team that employed Black). The former major-league outfielder won three NL Manager of the Year awards with San Francisco (1993, 1997, 2000) and owns a 1,671-1,504 overall record.

Fired by the Reds after losing the 2013 NL Wild Card Game to the Pirates, Baker has been out of baseball the last two seasons but has sought multiple managerial openings, including the Nationals' job two winters ago. The Nats didn't interview him that time, ultimately selecting Matt Williams off Arizona's coaching staff, but included him in the process this time and clearly were impressed with the California native during his pair of interviews.

"I am so pleased to welcome Dusty Baker to the Nationals family," general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "In getting to know Dusty and identifying what we wanted in the next on-field leader of our team, we are excited to have him on board. Dusty's experience, as a winning player, coach and manager, is vast and varied. We are excited to bring him to Washington and put his steady demeanor, knowledge and many years in the game to work in our favor. I think I speak for the entire organization when I say I am very much looking forward to working with him."

MORE NATIONALS: Nats having second thoughts on Black, may turn to Baker

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

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Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

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