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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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Don't worry Nationals fans, Anthony Rendon was never going to be a Dodger

Don't worry Nationals fans, Anthony Rendon was never going to be a Dodger

While Nationals fans are understandably disappointed Anthony Rendon is no longer a member of the Nationals, they can rest easy knowing he didn't see himself signing the the NL rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers never made an offer to Rendon, per The Athletic, after "sensing that he didn’t want to play in Los Angeles." He instead signed with the Los Angeles Angels, inking a seven-year, $245 million deal to play for the California team that receives considerably less media attention than its in-state rival.

Now entrenched in the AL on the other side of the country, Rendon won't face the Nationals very often nor will his team's play have any effect on Washington's playoff chances from year to year. It was a best-case scenario for fans after it became likely he wouldn't be returning to Washington.

After being spurned by Rendon and losing out on top free-agent pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, the Dodgers are still looking to make their first big move of the offseason.

There's still plenty of time for them to make a move, but Los Angeles can expect little sympathy from Nationals fans that Rendon won't be suiting up in Dodger blue for the next seven years.

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Nationals trading for a third baseman is possible -- as long as it’s not Nolan Arenado

Nationals trading for a third baseman is possible -- as long as it’s not Nolan Arenado

Here’s the list of players on the Nationals’ active roster who could play third base: Wilmer Difo, Jake Noll, Adrián Sánchez, Howie Kendrick, Carter Kieboom. Career major-league starts at the position: Difo, 29; Noll, one; Sánchez, nine; Kendrick, 25; Kieboom, zero. 

Such is the state of third base for the defending World Series champions. Not good. 

Which makes Josh Donaldson’s agent smile and any semi-skilled third baseman with a pulse a possible target. Possible trades? Count the Nationals in. On most. Not on Nolan Arenado. That’s a non-starter because Washington is not going to send assets (prospects) for a contract it was unwilling to give Anthony Rendon in the first place. Zero chance. Zilch.

However, Kris Bryant is more intriguing depending on the years and ask -- as always with trades. Beyond him and Kyle Seager, is there another third baseman the Nationals could pursue in a trade? The question takes on weight because of the aforementioned toothless list of in-house candidates and shallow free-agent talent pool beyond Donaldson.

Any trade consideration needs to begin with an understanding of the parameters Washington is working from. Last season, Rendon’s one-year deal to avoid arbitration earned him $18.8 million. When Washington looks at the cost for its next third baseman, the number will be similar to last season’s cost for Rendon. A bump in the competitive balance tax threshold, plus savings at first base and catcher, provide the Nationals wiggle room for increases in spots. So, $18-25 million annually for a third baseman is in play.

Second, the Nationals’ farm system needs to be taken into account. Their 2018 first-round pick, Mason Denaburg, had shoulder problems last year. Mike Rizzo said at the Winter Meetings that Denaburg is healthy and progressing. But, the early shoulder irritation for a high school pitcher who also had problems his senior year with biceps tendinitis provides his stock pause. He’s a would-be trade chip. So is Kieboom.

But, what is Kieboom’s value? What damage did it receive during his rocky, and brief, appearance in the majors last season? Did his potent hitting in the Pacific Coast League after being sent back mitigate his big-league struggles? 

Beyond Kieboom, the farm system’s next tier is manned by Luis Garcia, 2019 first-round pick Jackson Rutledge, Wil Crowe and Tim Cate, among others. Only Garcia is part of MLB.com’s top-100 prospects list (which is more of a guide than an industry standard).

So, when Bryant or Seager -- or anyone not named Arenado -- are mentioned, know where the Nationals are coming from. If they are positioned to take on money, they don’t want to use assets to do it (this is the Donaldson Scenario). If they can save money, find a solid player and retain the few high-end assets, then a trade could be in play (this would be the Seager Scenario, if Seattle pays some of the contract). 

The Bryant Scenario is the most appealing and challenging. He’s the best player of the group. However, acquiring him would be high-cost and short-term. Bryant has two years remaining before he can become a free agent -- with an outside shot at becoming a free agent after next season because of a grievance he filed against the Cubs for service-time manipulation. Obtaining him would likely focus on multiple pitching prospects.

There is no Arenado Scenario. Just a reminder.

Piled together, Washington is in a tough spot. What it has is not enough. What it needs will be costly.

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