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Ryan Zimmerman fittingly hits first World Series home run in Nationals history

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USA Today Sports Images

Ryan Zimmerman fittingly hits first World Series home run in Nationals history

Mr. National. Face of the franchise.

First Nationals draft pick. First Nationals World Series home run.

Ryan freaking Zimmerman.

The longtime D.C. star has spent 14 long seasons in the nation’s capital, all building toward the organization’s first-ever World Series berth.

Zimmerman didn’t wait long to make his impact felt, jumping on the second pitch he ever saw in the Fall Classic and sending it a long, long way.

What made this home run even more impressive was who it came against. Gerrit Cole was the best pitcher in baseball this season and had taken his game to another level in the postseason. Zimmerman’s home run was just the second run allowed by the Astros’ ace in October. And home runs have not been flying this postseason, with rumors of MLB’s ball being de-juiced.

This was a special moment for both Zimmerman and Nationals fans everywhere who have followed his journey with the team since 2005.

Zimmerman entered this postseason as the active player with the most career games played without having made a World Series appearance. Now he has one, and has already shown he was meant to be here.

It was only fitting. The first run, RBI and home run always had to come from Mr. National himself.

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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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