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Nationals' Anthony Rendon named 2019 Hank Aaron Award finalist

Nationals' Anthony Rendon named 2019 Hank Aaron Award finalist

Anthony Rendon has been named a finalist for the 2019 Hank Aaron Award, which has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999, MLB announced in a release.

Fans can vote to help select winners from both the American and National Leagues starting Thursday, Oct. 3 at MLB.com/hankaaronaward and on all 30 team sites until Oct. 9.

Rendon has been the Nationals' best player this season, batting .319, hitting 34 home runs, with an OPS of 1.010.

Among this year's finalists are five former winners: Christian Yelich, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Cabrera.

For the 10th year in a row, a panel of Hall of Famers will also vote. Led by Aaron himself, the rest of the panel is comprised of Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount.

The winners of the 2019 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 115th World Series.

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, according to the release.

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Juan Soto greets Nationals fans while dressed as Santa Claus

Juan Soto greets Nationals fans while dressed as Santa Claus

The winter can feel like one of the slowest seasons of the year, especially for baseball fans who long for the season to pick back up again.

But Nationals outfielder Juan Soto met with fans on Saturday at a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia, and did his best to make them feel merry by getting in the holiday spirit.

Soto already helped give D.C. the greatest gift of all in a World Series title, so maybe he really is Mr. Claus.

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Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

The Nationals announced their first move toward rebuilding their bullpen for the 2020 season Sunday, signing right-hander Kyle Finnegan to a major-league deal.

Finnegan, 28, became a free agent for the first time this winter after seven seasons in the Oakland Athletics’ minor-league system. The A’s drafted him in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft out of Texas State, originally developing him as a starter until converting him into a reliever in 2016.

Oakland granted Finnegan an invite to Spring Training ahead of last season, but he never made his way onto the team’s 40-man roster. His breakout season was in 2019, when the organization asked him to lower his arm slot to generate more movement on his pitches.

Finnegan posted a 2.66 ERA with 14 saves over 42 appearances for AA-Midland and AAA-Las Vegas last year. His fastball has touched triple digits in the past but sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. His newfound success has also seen him rack up more strikeouts, as evidenced by his K/9 that jumped from 9.7 in 2018 to 12.8 in 2019.

Prior to signing with Washington, Finnegan joined the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League. He has a 2.31 ERA in 14 appearances so far this winter.

The Nationals’ 40-man roster now sits at 30 with the addition of Finnegan following non-tenders of Javy Guerra and Koda Glover. It will move up to 32 once the signings of Yan Gomes and Howie Kendrick are made official. The move comes less than 12 hours before the MLB Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin in San Diego.

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