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Source: Nationals sign veteran lefty Perez to multi-year deal

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Source: Nationals sign veteran lefty Perez to multi-year deal

The Nationals have taken their first significant step toward overhauling their bullpen, agreeing to terms Friday with veteran left-hander Oliver Perez on a 2-year, $7 million deal, according to a source familiar with the contract.

Perez, 34, has been around the block during a 15-year career featuring an assortment of highs and lows, but he has refashioned himself as an effective lefty reliever over the last few seasons and now has parlayed that into a multi-year deal, his biggest contract since a 3-year, $36 million pact with the Mets in 2009.

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com was first to report Perez's signing with the Nationals.

Perez figures to assume the role held over the last year and a half by Matt Thornton, the 39-year-old who proved an effective matchup lefty but departed as a free agent at the end of the season. Interestingly enough, Perez's $3.5 million salary in 2016 is identical to Thornton's salary this year.

The Nationals have long been intrigued by the sidearm-throwing southpaw, having signed him to a minor-league contract in 2011. Perez wound up making 15 starts for Class AA Harrisburg, posting a 3.09 ERA but never earning a promotion.

The following year, he decided to refashion himself as a reliever, first with the Mariners. In the four seasons since, Perez owns a 3.31 ERA over 232 appearances with Seattle, Arizona and Houston, striking out 11.1 batters per 9 innings.

Perez's biggest issue over the years, and ultimately his downfall as a starter, has been erratic command. He has walked nearly 5 batters per 9 innings over his career, though that rate dropped to 3.7 once he made the full-time conversion to reliever in 2012.

Perez has enjoyed his best success against left-handed batters. For his career, they are batting .231 with a .681 OPS against him. This season, they hit a scant .181 with a .517 OPS, 33 strikeouts and only five walks.

The Nationals figure to use Perez in brief stints, matching up almost exclusively against left-handed batters. Fellow southpaw Felipe Rivero, who proved effective against batters from both sides of the plate as a rookie, would likely be used to pitch full innings late in games.

Perez's addition could be just the first of several changes the Nationals make to their bullpen this winter, with the statuses of closers Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen very much up in the air and Thornton, Casey Janssen and Craig Stammen now free agents. They remain interested in right-hander Darren O'Day, according to sources, though it's unclear if they're willing to meet the veteran's reported asking price of 4 years and at least $32 million.

MORE NATIONALS: Can the Nationals remake their entire bullpen?

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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