Nationals

Quinnipiac beats Central Connecticut State 85-78

Quinnipiac beats Central Connecticut State 85-78

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) Ike Azotam posted a double-double and Shaq Shannon came off the bench to hit six 3-pointers in Quinnipiac's 85-78 win over Central Connecticut State on Thursday night in a Northeastern Conference matchup.

Azotam finished with 13 points and 17 rebounds, one short of his career-high, Shannon had 18 points, Zaid Hearst recorded his fifth straight game in double figures with 17 points, and Jamee Jackson chipped in 14.

Quinnipiac (7-12, 3-4) held a 51-31 rebounding edge, its second largest margin of the season, and has now outrebounded opponents in 20 straight games dating back to last season.

Kyle Vinales paced Central Connecticut State (7-11, 3-4) with 32 points and Matt Hunter had 13 but the Blue Devils got just 18 points off the bench and let Quinnipiac pull down 17 offensive boards.

The Bobcats scored 15 second-chance points, 38 points in the paint and got 31 points off the bench.

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MLB Rumors: Josh Donaldson could reportedly end up with a four-year contract

MLB Rumors: Josh Donaldson could reportedly end up with a four-year contract

As the hopes for Anthony Rendon's return to Washington fade fast following Stephen Strasburg's record seven-year $245 million contract, Josh Donaldson comes more into focus for Nationals faithful. 

The Nationals had reported interest in him as far back as mid-November, and if they want to spend big on Strasburg and less on third base rather than spend on Rendon and find a cheaper pitcher, Donaldson represented the most value. 

But every team that misses out on Rendon will probably look right to Donaldson, and that reality is reportedly driving up his price. 

According to Mark Bowman, there is a growing expectation Donaldson will end up with a four-year contract. That might be a problem given he's entering his age-34 season, but for the Nationals, there isn't a major difference between a four-year deal and a two-year deal for Donaldson. 

He's coming off a very productive season in Atlanta, where he hit 37 home runs and drove in 94 runs to go along with a .379 on-base percentage. Realistically, Washington would need at least two years of solid production at third base from him to get ample return on their investment. 

Carter Kieboom figures to be in the mix this season at third or second base, but he's much better suited as a middle-infielder. Then, the Nationals have 19-year-old Luis Garcia on the way as one of their top infield prospects. 

By the time Garcia hits the majors he'll ideally go to third base to join Kieboom and Trae Turner as Washington's infield of the future.

And as Bowman notes, the DH could be coming to the National League by after the 2021 season. If Donaldson can still slug, that's an easy move for him to make and play out the last two years of his deal. 

So while a potential four-year contract can and should cause a bit of sticker shock, the Nationals are constructed where they can take that risk to help their team in the short term should Rendon leave for greener pastures. 

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Stephen Strasburg had a specific request in contract negotiations with Nationals

Stephen Strasburg had a specific request in contract negotiations with Nationals

According to Scott Boras, Stephen Strasburg had a specific request of the Nationals before he signed the largest contract ever for a pitcher. 

"He certainly wanted to make sure that [Nationals Park] was open every day in the offseason so that he can go there and work out," Boras said Monday. 

Per Jesse Dougherty, Strasburg has been working out since mid-November. For reference, the Nationals won the World Series on October 30. No days off. 

It's no surprise the Nationals granted the World Series MVP's request. Strasburg is coming off the best year of his career, and he wants to make sure he can work out all winter in the park he'll spend the rest of his career? What a difficult decision. 

Strasburg may not be the highest-paid pitcher of all time for long. Gerrit Cole will most likely command more years and a higher AAV from whoever he signs with this winter. 

But the more important thing for the Nationals and probably their fans as well, is that Strasburg will wear the "Curly W" for his entire career. And maybe another World Series trophy is in play with him, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin headlining the best pitching staff in baseball. 

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