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Daniel Hudson unexpectedly finds himself a national topic of conversation

Daniel Hudson unexpectedly finds himself a national topic of conversation

Daniel Hudson tried to conduct his personal business as adroitly and privately as possible. He knew his third daughter, Millie, was arriving soon and the Nationals’ sudden playoff run posed a scheduling conflict. He also knew he wasn’t going to miss the birth of his child for a baseball game.

Simplicity can still find trouble. Social media -- the feral home to belching, polluted minds willing to dispatch nonsense with a few taps and a grin -- wriggled its way into Hudson’s life despite his lack of usage. He canned the apps a few years ago to, in his Saturday pregame words, “try to focus myself on more positive stuff in my life.”

Yet, criticism found its way back to the Hudsons. The negative always tends to ooze like an unwanted pollutant, tainting a lot of the positive feedback Hudson was thankful for, and Hudson’s situation became no different despite his multiple attempts to manage it with clear-headed decisions.

Dissolving his social media presence was his first way to combat the feedback -- a term loosely used here -- from the environment. Knowing Millie was en route, and the team had an off-day Thursday no matter what, he and his wife tried to manage the real-life situation accordingly. 

“Her due date was originally the 14th,” Hudson told reporters Saturday in St. Louis. “Once we kind of had an idea of a playoff schedule, if we got past the wild-card round who we were going to play, obviously Game 5 if we got to it in Los Angeles it was a little more convenient for me to get home. So we tried to schedule an induction for the 10th, which was [Thursday]. Just kind of made sense to go in between. If we were able to advance, obviously the 14th and my first two kids came a little bit later than their due date, so if you push it back a couple days you're looking at maybe Game 6, Game 7 of a championship series. I figure Game 1 is a little bit better to miss than an elimination game.

“So that's the way we tried to plan it. Obviously things changed. Thursday morning we were trying to see if we could get in early for the induction and the way it works, people that are doing natural birth come first, so we couldn't get a bed until [Friday] afternoon, [Friday] evening. So that's kind of the timeline and that's how it went. It's just the way -- you try to plan something and everything goes crazy, so.”

Meanwhile, Hudson’s decision became part of national discourse, even if just a slice. Should he miss a postseason game to attend the birth of his third daughter? Should this even be a question? Who gets to decide?

In Davey Martinez’s view, the answers to those questions were easy. Of course he should put his family first. No, it’s not a question. Hudson gets to decide. 

“I mean, I get it, I understand,” Martinez told reporters Friday. “The timing didn't work out like we thought, baby wasn't ready to come out. So we get him back when we get him back.”

 

Often in these instances, the mother’s understanding is mentioned. What seems to be an uncommon discussion feels more ordinary to those married into the sport. Hudson said his wife  -- a “rock star” in his verbiage -- understood the parameters and focus to try to manage the overall situation as well as possible. Millie was well in the mix when Hudson arrived in Washington after a July 31 trade. He even mentioned October back then when talking about what was to come. He could not have predicted the fervor which eventually enveloped the situation. 

“I'm not on social media anymore,” Hudson said. “I got rid of it a couple years ago. It's just something, a decision I made to try to focus myself one more positive stuff in my life. Obviously it's great tool. We were made aware of a lot of stuff that was going on, obviously, watching the game it was hard to ignore. I mean, I went, I was just telling somebody, I went from not having a job on March 21st to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs, like, hey, life comes at you fast, man. I don't know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on.

“Everybody's got their opinions, man, and I really value my family and my family time. And like I said, the support I got from this organization, and most people, obviously, we were made aware of a lot of negative comments, but everybody's got their opinions and everybody's got their own priorities. And this organization was a hundred percent on board with what my priorities are and I'm really appreciative of that.”

His priorities? 

“I have two older girls as well, so this is my third girl,” Hudson said. “My oldest is 5, my middle one is 3. So needless to say my oldest was pretty excited to meet her new baby sister [Friday]. So to be able to have that experience with my family and be there for the whole thing was everything I could have imagined. Obviously, it is my third kid. And top-3 things in my life, 1A, 1B and 1C, was being there for the birth of all three of my daughters.”

Seems simple enough.

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The ageless Fernando Rodney to reportedly play in Dominican Winter League

The ageless Fernando Rodney to reportedly play in Dominican Winter League

Only one player in the major leagues threw a pitch while over the age of 40 last season. Fernando Rodney, who in fact is 42 and coming off his first ever World Series title, has appeared in at least 50 games each of the last eight years and 10 of the last 11.

For a player who’s three years older than the second-oldest active pitcher, taking the offseason off wouldn’t just be expected—it’d probably be recommended. But Rodney is taking no such break, reportedly signing up for the Dominican Winter League this offseason.

Leones del Escogido plays in his hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. This will actually be the fifth time Rodney will suit up for the team, most recently doing so last winter.

Rodney is a free agent after being picked up by the Nationals midseason. He’s played 17 years in the majors and ranks 17th all-time in saves with 327.

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How big of a priority is filling the hole at second base for the Nationals?

How big of a priority is filling the hole at second base for the Nationals?

When the Nationals entered the offseason, they had significant needs at seven different areas of the roster: catcher, first base, second base, third base, rotation, bullpen and bench.

Washington made strides toward solidifying the first two by inking catcher Yan Gomes and first baseman Howie Kendrick to separate deals over the first five weeks of the offseason. But with former stars Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon both still on the board, there are still many different directions the Nationals could go this winter.

On this week’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast, NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas sat down with Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post and MLB.com’s Jamal Collier to talk about the team’s offseason plans. With the needs the Nationals have in so many areas, the writers agreed Washington didn’t need to prioritize second base.

“Second base, to me, feels like it would probably be the last thing on my checklist if I’m the Nats,” Collier said. “You’re going to operate on some kind of budget and you have to spend money on re-signing [Stephen] Strasburg, figuring out whatever you’re going to do at third base…and you have to do something with this bullpen as well.”

Right now, the Nationals have top prospect Carter Kieboom as a potential option to take the starting job out of Spring Training. They also have veteran utility players Wilmer Difo and Adrian Sanchez on the roster, but neither has been able to produce consistently on the offensive end.

“I would probably band-aid it with probably a cheaper option than Brian Dozier,” Dougherty said. “Maybe even give Carter the shot but have a veteran behind him…César Hernández makes a ton of sense to me. He’s a switch hitter, he can play multiple positions, you have a hole at utility player.”

Dybas also mentioned Starlin Castro as a potential option. Castro played all 162 games for the Miami Marlins last season, hitting .270 with a career-high 22 home runs. He’ll be 30 years old on Opening Day and was lauded by his former club for his clubhouse presence.

One potential option that came off the board in recent weeks was Mike Moustakas, who inked a four-year, $64 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds. A natural third baseman, Moustakas played 47 games at second for the Milwaukee Brewers last season and is now entrenched there for the Reds moving forward with Eugenio Suarez playing third.

“I hate that Moustakas deal,” Collier said. The Reds are “putting him out of position. He’s not a second baseman. So you’re getting worse defensively for a guy who’s pretty much all power. We don’t know what the shape of the ball is going to be [and] he’s only getting older.”

It was certainly a high price tag, which likely took the Nationals out of the running if second base is an area the team is hoping to save money on. But they also could’ve signed Moustakas to play third, a position that is remarkably light on talent in free agency.

For the full episode, which also includes discussions about Rendon and Strasburg’s prospects of returning to Washington, you can find the Nationals Talk podcast at Art19, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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