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Why one ESPN analyst says the Nats did a 'terrible job' at the trade deadline

Why one ESPN analyst says the Nats did a 'terrible job' at the trade deadline

Apparently, landing an all-star closer at a relatively inexpensive price can draw criticism. 

At least, that’s the case in the eyes of ESPN's Buster Olney, who chided the Nationals' cost-conscious approach near baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline. Washington was able to acquire Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mark Melancon to replace the struggling Jonathan Papelbon without surrendering any of the organization’s prized prospects such as Lucas Giolito, Trea Turner or Reynaldo Lopez.

But the deal for Melancon, Olney argued, didn’t stack up with the moves the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians made to nab each of the New York Yankees’ elite bullpen pair of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. While the Nats were reportedly interested in both relievers — and were in desperate need to find a new ninth-inning option — GM Mike Rizzo still refused to acquiesce to the Yankees’ requests for players he deemed to be untouchable.

"They’re gonna wish that they had paid the extra that the Cubs paid and that the Indians paid to get either Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller,” Olney said to fellow insiders on Monday’s edition of Baseball Tonight. “The price on Andrew Miller was extraordinary, but they could have gotten Aroldis Chapman. They were in a much better position than the Cubs were because they had pitching prospects, the Yankees are starved for pitching prospects. If they had put in one of those guys, the Nationals could have had Aroldis Chapman.

“They held back their ammunition, the Cubs jumped in. I thought the Nationals did a terrible job."


The analyst in the exchange that came to the Rizzo’s defense, ironically, was former Nats GM Jim Bowden, who countered Olney by explaining why the team was unwilling to part with Giolito in particular.

“It’s not just about 2016,” Bowden said. “I think as a GM or an owner — and the Nationals are built for the long term, not any singular season — they look to Giolito and they said ‘we may have [Max] Scherzer, who’s already a [No.1 starter], [Stephen] Strasburg, who’s become a one, and a future one in Giolito, we wanna keep that together.’ That’s what they’re thinking. I know it’s a tough balance, but that’s how I view it.”

Of course, the next few months will determine if Melancon can help the Nats the way many believe Chapman will boost the Cubs. The former Pirates closer may not hit triple digits on the radar gun or possess the kind of “swing and miss” stuff that Chapman does, but the 31-year-old reliever has converted 114-of-123 save opportunities since 2014. Clearly, something's working for him. 

Aside from the Melancon trade, the Nats were quiet as the deadline came and went Monday afternoon. There was some thought that perhaps they could acquire another bat or relief arm, but no such deal materialized.

So, waiver trades not withstanding, it appears the Nats will roll with the roster they have for the season’s stretch run. Will it be enough to contend with the National League’s elite? Those at the worldwide leader don’t believe so.   

"Nationals get one guy. Did they do enough?” asked Jayson Stark.

 “I don’t think so at all,” Olney replied.

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.