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Zobrist decision likely this week, Nats in mix


Zobrist decision likely this week, Nats in mix

NASHVILLE — Ben Zobrist, among the most-popular free agents on the market this winter, is likely to make a decision this week, and the Nationals are among the final suitors for the versatile veteran.

Zobrist, who lives in Nashville, is scheduled to meet with Nationals officials in town for the Winter Meetings on Tuesday, a source familiar with the talks confirmed. He already met in the last week with the Mets and Giants, believed to be the two other finalists to sign him.

The Nationals have long been intrigued by Zobrist, whose ability to play multiple positions makes him attractive to a host of other clubs. They engaged in trade talks with the Rays last winter, but Tampa Bay dealt him and infielder Yunel Escobar to the Athletics for catcher John Jaso and two prospects. (Escobar then was flipped to the Nats for reliever Tyler Clippard.)

The Nationals made another attempt to acquire Zobrist over the summer but watched as the A’s sent him to Kansas City for a pair of prospects. Now he’s finally available as a free agent, though the price tag will be significant.

Zobrist, 34, is believed to be seeking a 4-year contract, a commitment the Mets reportedly are willing to make. It remains to be seen whether the Nationals will go that far for a player who will be 39 years old during the majority of the fourth season of a new contract.

There’s no denying Zobrist’s potential value to the Nationals, who would probably view him primarily as a second baseman but would also want him to back up Jayson Werth in left field and (on rare occasions) Bryce Harper in right field. A switch-hitter with a career .363 on-base percentage and .802 OPS in seven seasons as a big-league regular, Zobrist would give the Nationals a much-needed left-handed bat to complement Harper, not to mention another veteran clubhouse leader.

Money obviously will play a role in Zobrist’s decision, but if all three presumed finalists make 4-year offers, his ultimate choice may have more to do with where he feels most comfortable and believes he has the best chance to win. The Nationals obviously offer a good opportunity for success, but the Mets are defending NL champions while the Giants own three World Series rings in the last six years.

The Washington Post was first to report Zobrist’s scheduled meeting Tuesday with the Nationals.

RELATED: Report: Nats considering former MVP Jimmy Rollins

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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. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.