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Report: Nationals still looking for CF help

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Report: Nationals still looking for CF help

When Jayson Werth returns later this season from a broken wrist it would seem the Nationals have a full outfield. Put Michael Morse in left and slot Bryce Harper and Werth in either center or right field. When Werth returns, there will be no other place for Michael Morse if Adam LaRoche continues to play as well as he has at first.

But even with a projected full roster, the Nationals are still looking for a true center fielder and they could be interested in a long-term solution. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com Tweeted Thursday Washington has contacted teams around the league to let their intentions be known.

Bryce Harper is in CF today for 25th time in 53 starts. But Nationals are still telling teams they want to find a long-term answer in CF. DKnobler (@DKnobler) June 28, 2012

The continued search for a long-term center fielder is an interesting indication of what could be the Nationals' future plans. In getting a legitimate starting center fielder, they would in turn leave one of their current starters out. With a healthy Werth, the team would have four starting outfielders. Morse could move back to first base, but that would signal the departure of Adam LaRoche.

The 32-year-old LaRoche has a team option for next season and his return to form this year has increased his chances of returning with the Nats. If they choose to decline the option then LaRoche will become a free agent.

Even if they make a trade and let LaRoche walk this offseason, however, they would still have an excess of starting quality everyday players for this year's final months. There is the possibility of trading LaRoche before July's deadline, but as the team's home run (15) and RBI (48) leader it would be a surprise if they shipped him out midseason. LaRoche has been a huge part of their first place standing through the season's first three months. He has struggled recently though and seen his season average dip to .251. Maybe with his power numbers the Nats could be selling high.

In searching for a center fielder there are several candidates that have been linked to the Nationals in the past. Minnesota's Denard Span has come up before and he his enjoying a decent season with a .277 batting average. Peter Bourjos of the Angels has also been connected to Washington in the past, but his .237 batting average is a glaring weakness.

Another option would be B.J. Upton of the Tampa Bay Rays. Upton is set to become a free agent this offseason and is not expected to be back with the team. He is excellent in the outfield, but hasn't hit above .250 since 2008. He has a .247 average this season with a .305 on-base percentage, numbers that would slot him far down in the Nationals' batting order if acquired.

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Will Mike Rizzo continue to shape the Nationals? The Junkies believe he's too valuable to lose

Will Mike Rizzo continue to shape the Nationals? The Junkies believe he's too valuable to lose

Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez and Matt Wieters aren't the only important guys within the Nationals organization becoming free agents in 2019.

President of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo is also becoming a free agent when his contract expires on October 31st.

In the final year of his five-year contract, the 57-year old is set to make $2.5 million.

RELATED: HOWIE KENDRICK RETURNING TO NATIONALS

Since joining the organization, Rizzo has turned the team into a legit World Series contender. They've won four division titles in the last six years under his guidance, but have been unable to get over the NL Division series hump. And even though that's a glaring red mark on his resume, Rizzo knows the success he's brought to the organization. 

When you look at what we accomplished,’’ Mike Rizzo said in a recent interview, “it’s really unsung and underappreciated. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished here. I like it here. I love the city. I love the team I put together. I like being a GM in the NL East. And I want to stay here. I just think I deserve to be treated like some of the best GMs in the game are, too.

Rizzo is talking about GM's like Cubs' Theo Epstein and Yankees' Brian Cashman, who've received big paydays over the last year.

I know we haven’t won the World Series, but I get tired of hearing how we can’t win the big one, or we can’t get out of the first round. We haven’t had that many chances.

Does Rizzo deserve an extension? The Sports Junkies think he does, but with GM's like the ones above cashing out, they can also see him wanting to test the open market.

"Why wouldn't they?", said Jason Bishop, noting his track record.

"There's a sense he wants to test the market," said Eric Bickel. That's the vibe I'm getting from him."

Rizzo is a weekly guest on the Junkies and has said that the organization will figure it out. However, the 2018 season may be the last time for a long time the Nats have a real shot at making a run before they lose some of their stars to other teams. If Rizzo does take that into consideration and decides to go elsewhere, the Junkies don't see him having any issues finding employment.

"If there was a time to roll, it would be after this season when you get your last run with this group," said Eric Bickel. And then If they don't pay you what you think you deserve, he'll be snatched up in 22 seconds."

RELATED: BEST OF NATS' RACING PRESIDENT TRYOUTS

If they do decide to sign him to an extension, will it be a long, drawn-out ordeal? The Junkies disagree on that one. 

"He is too valuable, Jason Bishop said. He's too valuable. You gotta ink him to a deal sometime during the season."

Luckily for D.C. sports fans, long, drawn-out extension talks aren't foreign to them.

To see their full discussion, click the media player above. 

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

WASHINGTON  -- The Nationals have agreed to a $7 million, two-year contract with outfielder Howie Kendrick, a deal subject to a successful physical.

Agent Pat Murphy confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Monday. USA Today was first to report the deal.

Kendrick, 34, hit .293 with seven home runs and RBIs in 52 games with Washington after he was acquired from Philadelphia. The versatile right-handed hitter got just three plate appearances off the bench in the playoffs.

In 12 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers, Phillies and Nationals, Kendrick is a .291 hitter with a .755 OPS. He's now primarily an outfielder for Washington after playing left field, second base, first base and other positions throughout his career.