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Nats Stock Watch: Murphy, Ramos neck and neck for NL average lead

Nats Stock Watch: Murphy, Ramos neck and neck for NL average lead

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see which player's stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 4-2

Team slash: .271/.370/.427

Team ERA: 3.29

Runs per game: 5.16

 

STOCK UP 

Daniel Murphy, 2B: .400 AVG, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1.204 OPS

After somewhat of a mini-slump earlier in the month, Murphy has gotten back to his old ways over the last week. He's notched three multi-hit efforts in his last five games, raising his MLB-best average up to .352. Of course, it probably didn't hurt that he got a chance to play the New York Mets, a team he clearly loves tormenting; in nine games against his old team this season, Murphy is 15-for-35 (.428) with four home runs and 11 RBI. It's not hard to figure that he probably didn't appreciate the Amazin's letting him walk in free agency last winter, so he's responded by making a legitimate case for himself as the NL MVP through the season's first half. 

Wilson Ramos, C: .429 AVG, 4 RBI, 1.002 OPS

As good as Murphy has been, who'd have thought he'd be in a tight battle with his locker mate for the NL batting title? That's how good Ramos has been has been all season, but particularly of late. This month, he has a slashline of .360/.404/.628 with six home runs and 18 RBI, and his average for the season is at .339, second in the league behind Murphy. 

Tanner Roark, SP: 1-0, 7.0 IP, 0 ER

If you want to thank someone for snapping the Nats' recent seven-game losing skid, you can start with Roark. The 29-year-old right hander played the role of stopper Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee, giving his team a chance by gutting out seven innings of shutout ball on 95 pitches. He wasn't exactly dominant, but he did what others in the rotation were struggling to do throughout the skid: work his way out of jams. It seemed every time the Brewers threatened, he was able to get the third out of the inning without incurring any damage, which was especially important in a game in which the Nats didn't score their first run until the seventh inning. He may not be considered the staff ace, but for one day, he looked like it. 

STOCK DOWN

Gio Gonzalez, SP: 0-1, 3.0 IP, 6 ER

Gonzalez' dramatic descent continued last Saturday as he put forth his shortest outing of the season against the Brewers, allowing six runs on six hits in just three innings of work. When he's going bad, he's typically nibbling around the plate and struggling with pitch efficiency. Case in point: he only registered one walk vs. Milwaukee, but hit two batsmen and wound up needing 69 pitches to get nine outs. Couple that with the fact that his changeup is not as effective against right handers as it was earlier in the year, and he doesn't look much like the pitcher that just a month and a half ago had some thinking he was on the verge of a career renaissance.

In his first eight outings of the season, Gonzalez owned a 3-1 record and had allowed a total of 10 earned runs. In his last seven, he's 0-6 and has given up 35 runs. Ouch. Though the Nats aren't likely to give up on him at this stage of the season, he certainly can't afford to have his slide continue for much longer, either. 

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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