Nationals

Arizona reaches 4-year deal with Prado

Arizona reaches 4-year deal with Prado

PHOENIX (AP) The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract with Martin Prado just a week after acquiring the former All-Star infielder in the trade that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta.

Prado made the All-Star team as the Braves' second baseman in 2010 but is slated to play at third base for the Diamondbacks.

The 29-year-old infielder, who will play for Venezuela in this year's World Baseball Classic, is a career .295 hitter. Arizona sent two-time All-Star Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson to the Braves for Prado, right-hander Randall Delgado and three minor leaguers.

Prado said in a conference call on Thursday that the trade took him by surprise.

But, after a week, he said, ``Now I see everything more clear, and I'm happy to be aboard with the Arizona Diamondbacks.''

Upton had three years left on a contract owing him $38.5 million so the Prado deal is not a significant increase to the Diamondbacks' payroll. Managing partner Ken Kendrick said last week that he expects the payroll to be somewhere above $90 million for the coming season.

Prado will earn $7 million this season, then $11 million each of the following three years. He could have gone through arbitration and become a free agent after this season, perhaps getting a more lucrative deal.

``Since I got to the big leagues I've been looking to be more secure,'' he said, ``to be in the right spot and not have to worry about going through free agency. The way I am right now, I'm happy. I'm going to play more relaxed. I think I needed it.''

General manager Kevin Towers, who departed for an African vacation shortly after the Upton trade was completed a week ago, said that adding a contact hitter in Prado should help the team be less reliant on the home run.

Prado prides himself on being able to do ``the little things'' to make a team successful.

``You know that in the National League, more often you can play the game and do the little things right, you can take advantage of the other team,'' he said. ``That's my thing, just trying to make that as a routine because in small games, that can make a difference, and one game can make a difference at the end of the year.''

He looks forward to playing for manager Kirk Gibson.

``What I heard is he's an aggressive guy,'' Prado said. ``He likes the little things. He likes to move the runner, and I like that, man. He understands. He played the game a long time. He played the right way, and he likes those guys.''

He is accustomed to filling the No. 2 spot in the batting order his whole career, a spot that Aaron Hill filled with great success for Arizona last season. He said he's open to batting somewhere else in the order.

``I've been in the second hole pretty much all my career. I can put the ball in play, I can hit the ball to right field. That's more me,'' he said, ``but I can adjust myself to any situation in the game.''

Prado hit .301 last season with 42 doubles, 10 home runs and 70 RBIs in 156 games. He led the National League with 60 multi-hit games and was fourth in hits and fifth in doubles. He played several positions, primarily left field but also third base, second base, first base and shortstop. He has never played an entire season at third base and knows it will be a challenge.

``I think the challenge is the reaction because there are a lot of hitters in the National League that actually hit the ball so hard,'' he said. ``But I'm working on it, to be as comfortable as I can be at third base. I know I've got (third base coach) Matt Williams on the team and he was one of the best third basemen back then and I've got to take advantage of that as much as I can.''

Prado was asked about the perception around baseball that the Diamondbacks didn't get enough for Upton.

``You know, I think sometimes people have different opinions,'' he said. ``I feel like both teams took advantage of the trade. People don't see that right now because Justin Upton is a superstar-caliber guy.''

But Prado said that, besides himself, there is a lot of young talent coming to Arizona in the deal.

``Maybe in a couple years,'' he said, ``people will think in a different way.''

Pitchers and catchers report to the Diamondbacks' Scottsdale spring training facility on Feb. 11, with all players reporting three days later.

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Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

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Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Salivating and awe came first. Distribution will have to wait.

The Nationals revealed their jewel-laden championship ring during a slow-moving, hour-long telecast Sunday night which was originally supposed to include select players receiving their rings. After pushback from the players -- who wanted to receive the rings together when it was safe to do so -- the night was converted to more of a reveal than reaction.

The ring itself included several nods to the D.C. area, markers from the championship season, and specific personalizations.

Here’s a blow-by-blow:

-- The ring is 14-karat white and yellow gold

-- The “W” logo is made from 30 rubies to represent the 30 runs the team scored in the four World Series game

-- Around the logo are 58 pavé-set diamonds

-- Above and below the logo or the words “World Champions” set over the ring via 32 sapphires. This number represents the sum total of the team’s 2019 walk-off wins (7), shutout wins (13), longest winning streak (8 games), and playoff rounds won (4).

-- An additional 108 diamonds are featured along the ring top, representing the number of regular season and postseason wins (105), plus one diamond for the World Series title and two diamonds for the locations -- Washington and Montreal -- of the franchise.

-- The top and bottom of the ring have 12 rubies to represent the total number of postseason wins

-- On the left side in yellow gold is the player’s name

-- Beneath the name is a flag, the Capitol Building and the Roman numerals MMVI to represent the year the Lerner family purchased the franchise

-- The player’s number is in diamonds on the bottom left side

-- “Fight Finished” is on the right side

-- The interior of the ring is engraved with a shark symbol holding a yellow gold trophy. So, yes, a nod to “Baby Shark” has made it onto the rings

-- Also on the interior are the team logos of each opponent the Nationals defeated in the postseason

-- “Go 1-0 every day” is also engraved inside

-- In total, the average championship ring contains 170 total diamonds, 32 custom-cut sapphires, 31 custom-cut rubies, and 24 princess-cut rubies for a precious total stone carat weight of 23.2 carats.

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The lead up of the ring reveal included congratulatory messages from a slew of people associated with the Nationals in the present and past.

Former closer Chad Cordero and catcher Brian Schneider started the video messages. Denard Span and Adam LaRoche followed. Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, former Redskins player Brian Mitchell, chef José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci were among several others to send congratulations.

In a post-reveal show, the players emphasized they were looking forward to receiving the rings in a group.

“I think the only thing better than seeing it is going to be wearing it,” Howie Kendrick said.

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Max Scherzer: Nationals players opening rings together will be ‘final piece to our championship’

Max Scherzer: Nationals players opening rings together will be ‘final piece to our championship’

One year to the day after the Nationals began their climb out of the depths of a 19-31 start on their way to winning the World Series, the team unveiled its championship ring design.

Introduced in a virtual ring ceremony hosted by a conglomerate of Nationals officials and media members, the rings captured many significant images and phrases from the Nationals’ historic season such as “Go 1-0 Today” and Baby Shark.

A few players were originally set to receive their rings during the virtual ceremony before the rest of the team, but the Nationals released a statement Saturday saying that “the players collectively decided they would prefer to receive their rings when the team could be physically reunited.”

Instead, the entire team watched on with the rest of baseball fans as the design was introduced. After the presentation ended, several players went on a Zoom call with MASN’s Dan Kolko to discuss their thoughts on the new bling.

“It’s cool to see in person but I think I’ll be with Davey [Martinez] when I can actually put that thing on,” Nationals starter Max Scherzer said. “I think all of us, when we’re all together, when we can have that moment together, that’s the final piece to our championship and that’ll be an emotional moment.”

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As part of the presentation, the Nationals invited fans to support their #NATS4GOOD community response fund that assists those who’ve been directly affected by the coronavirus outbreak,

“I’m with Max, I think it’ll be cool for us all to get it together,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “I think with the situation that we’re in, obviously nothing is normal right now so to give the fans a look at this and at the same time raise some money…it’s the least we can do.”

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