Nationals

Quick Links

Grading each Nationals player at the All-Star break

Grading each Nationals player at the All-Star break

With Major League Baseball breaking for the All-Star Game, it's time to hand out midseason grades for each Nationals player.

A+

Wilson Ramos, catcher

Ramos has finally put it all together to become one of the best catchers in baseball. He's also earning himself a lot of money, whether it's in Washington or elsewhere through free agency.

Daniel Murphy, second base

Murphy has long been a good player, but this season he's reached a completely new level. He should be the NL MVP favorite at this point.

Dusty Baker, manager

Baker has yet to be tested with much, as the Nats have been both healthy and playing well. But the skipper has so far done his part managing a smooth-sailing ship with few mistakes being made from the dugout.

A

Stephen Strasburg, starter

Other than his brief injury absence, Strasburg has been as reliable as they come for the Nationals this season as their best starting pitcher.

Tanner Roark, starter

A case could have easily been made for Roark as a late addition All-Star once guys started dropping out for injuries. His renaissance is a huge reason why the Nats are where they are.

Sammy Solis, reliever

One of the most pleasant surprises for the Nats this season, Solis could turn into a star reliever if he plays his cards right.

Shawn Kelley, reliever

Kelley has proven that his Padres numbers were no fluke and that he's fully capable of pitching late innings and standing in as Papelbon's backup at closer.

B+

Max Scherzer, starter

Scherzer would have an A if it weren't for his rocky beginning to the season with a 4.60 ERA through seven starts. He's recovered well, however, with a 2.23 mark over his last 12.

Jonathan Papelbon, closer

Despite the baggage he carried into this season, and even with how shaky he's looked at times, it's hard to argue with his numbers (2.83 ERA, 19/21 saves).

Joe Ross, starter

Ross is hurt now and has been a disaster lately with a 5.45 ERA through six games since the start of June, but overall he's been a nice surprise for the Nats this year with solid season numbers.

Danny Espinosa, shortstop

Espinosa was hitting just .176 on May 7, but has since turned his season completely around to the point where the Nats have one of the top prospects in baseball learning a new position.

Stephen Drew, infielder

Drew has perfectly transitioned from an everyday player to a bench bat who still brings defensive value with the ability to play a variety of positions.

Yusmeiro Petit, reliever

Petit has been the exact guy they thought they were signing this past winter: a one-size-fits-all reliever who happens to be holding the best ERA (2.62) of his career so far.

B

Bryce Harper, outfielder

Harper has had an enigmatic season, one that saw him post an amazing month of April, then go into one of his worst slumps in May. Maybe resting during the All-Star break can get him back on track.

Blake Treinen, reliever

Treinen is walking a few too many batters, but he's enjoyed a nice bounceback season overall after a tough 2015 campaign.

Matt Belisle, reliever

Belisle was impressive before he got hurt and pitched well through June after he returned, but he's been slipping lately with a 4.26 ERA in July.

Chris Heisey, outfielder

Heisey has provided some power off the bench and one of the best moments of the first half with his April 24 walk-off homer in the 16th inning to beat the Twins.

C+

Jayson Werth, outfielder

Werth hit .321 with 14 runs, 19 walks, 14 RBI and a .926 OPS in June. That was a good step in the right direction, as the 37-year-old will hope to be better overall in the second half.

Clint Robinson, infielder

Robinson hasn't been able to put up the numbers he did last year, but he's getting a lot less playing time and has produced better as a starter rather than as a sub.

Gio Gonzalez, starter

Gonzalez would rate much lower if it weren't for the 1.86 ERA he held after his first eight starts. But his 7.20 mark over his last 10 makes his rotation spot one of the biggest questions for the Nats in the second half.

Anthony Rendon, third baseman

Rendon has shown promised for brief stretches, but has yet to take off this season. He's batting just .254 and is on pace for only 16 homers and 59 RBI.

C

Ben Revere, outfielder

The time for giving Revere the benefit of the doubt due to his oblique injury is probably over. He's been back for 53 games and still can't get it going.

Ryan Zimmerman, first baseman

Zimmerman is on pace to club 21 homers and has played sound defense at first, no matter what the sabermetrics say. But overall he's been a weak link in the Nats' lineup with an unsightly .284 OBP.

Michael Taylor, outfielder

Taylor showed promise in June, but has had a disappointing season so far, especially given how good he was in spring.

Jose Lobaton, catcher

Lobaton has been solid on defense, but hasn't provided much production at the plate.

D+

Oliver Perez, reliever

Perez has an 8.38 ERA over his last 17 outings. He has been shaky for the Nats, who signed him to a two-year deal this past offseason.

D

Felipe Rivero, reliever

Rivero has been the bullpen's weakest link this season, but he has tossed seven straight scoreless outings. Perhaps he can turn it around. There's still time.

F

No one has been that bad. They are in first place, after all.

Quick Links

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.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

Quick Links

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.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE