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Nats cut ties with Lidge

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Nats cut ties with Lidge

The Nationals designated struggling reliever Brad Lidge for assignment this morning, activating right-hander Ryan Mattheus off the 15-day disabled list to take his roster spot.

Feeling the need to add a fresh arm after yesterday's 14-inning loss to the Yankees, general manager Mike Rizzo said the LidgeMattheus swap made the most sense.

"Brad wasn't performing very well, and he was disappointed," Rizzo said. "Mattheus was ready to come off the rehab assignment, and we felt this was the right time to make the move."

Lidge took the loss yesterday, giving up three hits (including Mark Teixeira's two-run double) in the top of the 14th. While lamenting several groundball singles he surrendered the last couple of days, the 35-year-old also understood he wasn't performing at a high enough standard.

"It is frustrating when something like that happens, but you just try to grind through it," he said following yesterday's game. "Just keep throwing good pitches, quality pitches, and at some point those balls will get to people and we'll make outs. But until then, you've just got to battle and keep throwing strikes."

Owner of 225 career saves and two All-Star appearances, Lidge signed a one-year, 1 million with the Nationals in February and was expected to hold a key role as a setup man and mentor for closer Drew Storen. But when Storen needed surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow, Lidge became one of manager Davey Johnson's co-closers (with Henry Rodriguez) to open the season.

Lidge earned the save on Opening Day in Chicago but quickly fell into trouble. In 11 total appearances, he wound up with a 9.64 ERA, a career-worst 2.464 WHIP and two blown saves. A sports hernia required surgery and sidelined him for five weeks, but he surrendered runs in three of his four appearances after returning from the DL earlier this month.

"I think he was healthy," Rizzo said. "He said he was healthy. He threw like he was healthy. He was in no pain, no after-effects after he was done rehabbing."

The DFA move leaves Lidge in limbo for as many as 10 days. If he passes through waivers unclaimed, the Nationals could outright him to Class AAA, though they're unlikely to do that with a veteran of his stature. A more plausible scenario would have Lidge released once he clears, at which point he'll be free to sign with another club.

Rizzo met with Lidge behind closed doors this morning and appreciated the way the veteran reliever dealt with the news.

"He handled it like the professional that he is," Rizzo said. "After his performance yesterday, he told me he felt he knew there would some kind of move in the bullpen. Like I said, he was disappointed in the way he pitched and he was sorry it didn't turn out better."

Mattheus returns after missing three weeks with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The 28-year-old right-hander had a 2.25 ERA in 19 games before suffering his injury and made three minor-league rehab appearances before team officials were convinced he was ready to come off the DL.

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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.