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Craig Kimbrel reportedly signs with the Cubs, so where do the Nationals turn?

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Craig Kimbrel reportedly signs with the Cubs, so where do the Nationals turn?

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel has finally found a new home. But it is not Nationals Park. 

Kimbrel has agreed to sign a three-year, $43 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. 

The race for Kimbrel heated up on Monday when teams no longer had to give up a compensatory draft pick to sign him. The good news for the Nats is he didn't end up with an NL East rival like the Phillies or the Braves, Kimbrel's former employers. 

The bad news, of course, is he won't be joining Washington's bullpen, which still holds the highest bullpen ERA in baseball. 

That said, Kimbrel joining the Nats was always a long shot, as Todd Dybas wrote Monday,

"They are desperate to remain under the competitive balance tax this season," wrote Dybas. "They want to save pennies now to save dollars later. It’s short-sighted. But, it’s where they are."

Given the Nats' budgetary constraints and Kimbrel's high salary demands, his path to D.C. faced major complications from the beginning. And if Washington wants to upgrade its bullpen now, it will have to do so via trade, likely giving up a prospect in the process.

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Juan Soto’s titanic home run helps Nationals finally find some offense

Juan Soto’s titanic home run helps Nationals finally find some offense

Reprieves are rarely handed over in Major League Baseball. The day-after-day evolution of a season usually doesn’t leave room for an unearned break. It has to be captured.

Finally, the Nationals found a path to a giddy break Monday night in a 16-4 exhale against the Mets. It snapped a three-game losing streak. It also snapped a glaring inability to score runs early in the season.

Washington brought the worst offense in the major leagues to Citi Field for a four-game series against the Mets. They scored just 35 runs in 11 total games prior, and nine runs in seven losses. The Nationals went from 29th in total runs (they were only ahead of St. Louis, which has played five games this season) at the start of the day to 26th by the end.

RELATED: DAVEY MARTINEZ GIVES PIGGYBACK RIDE TO HELP ASDRUBAL CABRERA CELEBRATE HR

Asdrúbal Cabrera homered twice. Juan Soto hit a home run so far into center field it cleared the Big Apple and stunned Mets announcer Ron Darling. It went 463 feet. Soto said he watched the ball fly out of the park to see if it would land in the metal apple.

“I see it, and it was way far,” Soto said with a laugh.

The pitch was a 77-mph curveball from left-hander Steven Matz. Soto was hitless (0-for-5) against left-handed pitchers coming into the game. He hit Matz’s curveball 108.6 mph to dead center field where only the apple and black tarps reside. Darling said he’s never seen a ball hit to that spot prior.

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Yan Gomes picked up his first two hits of the season on Monday. Cabrera now has three home runs and is hitting .357 (sample-size warning, of course). Soto is hitting .444 since rejoining the team Aug. 5.

Trea Turner also went 3-for-5. He and Adam Eaton have done little at the top of the Nationals lineup to start the season, to the point Eaton was given Monday off against a left-handed starter. Josh Harrison took his place in right field and in the No. 2 spot in the order.

“It’s fun to see the boys break out of it,” Davey Martinez said.

However, this remains a one-game sample size. It’s not consistency, it’s not what the rest of the season has been about, it’s no guarantee of what will happen Tuesday night. But at least it’s a start.

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Nationals manager Davey Martinez gives piggyback ride to help Asdrúbal Cabrera celebrate 2nd homer

Nationals manager Davey Martinez gives piggyback ride to help Asdrúbal Cabrera celebrate 2nd homer

Davey Martinez has a new job: piggyback ride.

Asdrúbal Cabrera hopped on the Nationals manager Monday night following his second home run of the evening. Cabrera took a ride through a jubilant dugout in what became a rout for the struggling Nationals.

Cabrera homered twice Monday.

The idea was also partially a troll of a new member of the Mets, Brian Dozier. Dozier would hop on stout batting practice pitcher Ali Modami following a home run last season and ride through the dugout. Modami opted out of this season.

RELATED: TWITTER HAS FUN AT METS EXPENSE

The Nationals finally had something to dance about in the dugout after scoring 16 runs Monday night in Citi Field. They are 5-7 on the season.

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