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Nats' latest round of cuts brings mixed reactions around clubhouse

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Nats' latest round of cuts brings mixed reactions around clubhouse

The day after the Nationals' made their latest round of cuts brought a various reactions depending on the player reporters approached in the clubhouse.

For Chris Heisey - who earned the final bench spot - it was jubilation and a readiness to get started as a backup outfielder on the 25-man roster. For Trevor Gott - who was left out of the Opening Day bullpen - it was frustration and an understanding that more work will be needed for him to become a regular contributor to the big league club in Washington.

Baker could tell Gott took the news hard after joining the Nationals in an offseason trade with the Angels for Yunel Escobar. But this isn't the Angels, Baker explained.

“That was tough. Trevor Gott, I mean this guy has upside potential. But the Angels didn’t have quite the pitching that we have. My message to him was: Just go down and pitch. We love the stuff. We love his demeanor. This guy, he doesn’t appear to be intimidated by anybody. Just go down and pitch. I urged him to work on his secondary pitches. Because he has an electric fastball. But it just didn’t seem like his breaking stuff or his secondary pitches were equal in command as his fastball," Baker said.

"There's a lot of talent on this team and I think that's a good thing," Gott said.  

Gott - who allowed three runs in nine spring innings - became the odd-man out with Blake Treinen earning the final bullpen spot. Treinen pitched his fifth scoreless outing on Friday night against the Twins, needing only eight pitches to throw a perfect frame.

Baker was pleased with the progress Treinen showed this spring.

"It appears he’s maturing in front of our very eyes. He’s gaining confidence every day," he said.

Treinen getting picked for the 25-man roster also left veteran Sean Burnett without a job. His locker was cleaned out and his name plate was missing from the Nationals' clubhouse on Saturday morning. 

Burnett also became a victim of the Nationals' bullpen depth.

"It was a very, very, very tough decision, especially with Mike Rizzo involved, because he’s close to Sean Burnett. We would have liked to keep them all," Baker said. "This guy is big-league ready. But this is what happens when you have a good team."

In Heisey's, he just brought a bit more to the table than Reed Johnson in Baker's eyes.

"We just felt that Heisey had more to offer as far as playing all three outfield positions, a little better speed, a little better throwing arm. Both are excellent pinch-hitters. Heisey’s power is intriguing," Baker explained.

Johnson had also cleaned out his locker at Nationals Park.

Heisey has a history with Baker dating back to their time with the Reds and boasts a strong track record as a pinch-hitter with a .936 OPS and 11 homers in 142 at-bats off the bench. The 31-year-old hopes to bring that attribute to the Nationals, as well as a good personality for the clubhouse.

"I think my track record has shown that I can hit for power off the bench and play good defense in the outfield," he said. "Hopefully I can bring some other stuff off the field; a winning attitude and hopefully be a good teammate. I know as a bench player you have more to do than just pinch-hit. You've got to pick up your teammates that are playing every day. Those guys need to be patted on the back and be told how well they're doing. If they're struggling, maybe I can find something that can get them back going well again. There's other intangibles that I like to think I can bring to a team."

[RELATED: Nationals' latest cuts clarify final spots for bullpen and bench]

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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.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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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.

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