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Harper tweets to Stanton to join Nats

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Harper tweets to Stanton to join Nats

While many baseball fans were tuning in to see who won each league’s manager of the year awards on Tuesday night, the Miami Marlins pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades in recent memory. 

According to FoxSports.com, the Marlins are close to sending Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s three starting position players and their two best pitchers, all in a salary dump that virtually erases all the money they spent last offseason in preparation for their new stadium.

Heading to Miami in return are shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechevarria, pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, and Justin Nicolino, outfielder Marisnick, and catcher Jeff Mathis.

The Marlins make this trade in a clear attempt to shed a massive amount of salary, upwards of $90 million according to FoxSports.com. They already traded closer Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks in late October and seem resigned to not be competitive in 2013.

Before the trade deadline in 2012 they got rid of Hanley Ramirez in a trade with the Dodgers and sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers. Those deals were apparently just the beginning of their overhaul.

All the moves combined change the entire dynamic of the Marlins and their status in the National League East. Next season they will still have Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison, but surrounding them will likely be a group of young players and prospects.

Stanton himself expressed frustration on Twitter after news of the trade broke:

Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple

— Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo818) November 13, 2012

With their superstar young player mad enough to tweet his disapproval, naturally people started responding saying he should come join their team. One of those people was Bryce Harper.

@giancarlo818 you can always come play for the Nats! We will take you anytime! Get some red, white, and blue in your life!

— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) November 14, 2012

Unfortunately for Stanton, it appears the Marlins aren’t looking to trade him, at least according to some reports. And the Nationals aren’t likely to trade for Stanton, although seeing the deal the Marlins just pulled off it's likely most general managers have inquired.

Either way the Marlins’ trade on Tuesday night essentially eliminates them from the conversation for several years. The N.L. East is now no more than a four team race, at least for the foreseeable future. 

 

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Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

WASHINGTON -- Having already won their first series at Nationals Park since April 2016, the Philadelphia Phillies will go for the sweep of Washington on Sunday night.

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) faces Nationals right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66).

Pivetta was drafted by the Nationals in 2013 and went to the Phillies in 2015 as part of the Jonathan Papelbon trade.

After struggling for three straight starts -- giving up 13 runs in 14 innings -- Pivetta allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals last time out, striking out a career-high 13 batters.

"That's some of the best stuff I've seen him have all year," catcher Andrew Knapp told mlb.com. "The curveball was electric."

Pivetta got 11 swings and misses with the curveball.

"It was nice to have it back," Pivetta told mlb.com. "It all started with my delivery. I was staying up through it, not trying to rush too much and it worked out."

It his first start -- and second big-league appearance -- the 24-year-old Rodriguez picked up a win against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. He allowed five runs, four hits and three walks in five innings.

Rodriguez and Satuday's losing pitcher, Erick Fedde, are filling in for injured starters Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson.

The Phillies have outscored the Nationals 17-5 in the fist two games of the series. On Saturday, Maikel Franco had four hits and Carlos Santana homered to back Aaron Nola in a 5-3 victory.

"That was just a tremendous all-around baseball game," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco. "It's so interesting how we've been looking for him to be not just a hitter but a defender and a baserunner and an all-around athlete."

Franco drove in a run and scored twice, including the go-ahead run when he scored just ahead of the tag on Jesmuel Valentin's sacrifice fly.

The Phillies, who have won six of seven, pounded out double-digit hits for the second day in a row in Washington.

"They have a lot of patient hitters," Fedde said of the Phillies. "I think that's what makes it tough. Guys aren't swinging at bunch of junk, so you have to attack them."

The Phillies have now won four straight series for the first time since May 2016 and are 2-0 in what will be a stretch of 10 games against the Nationals and the New York Yankees.

Anthony Rendon homered and Daniel Murphy had a two-run single for Washington, which has lost three of four while scoring nine runs.

"Look, I've got all the confidence in the world we're going to start hitting," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We'll start scoring some runs. Right now, the bullpen is a little beat up. We've got to get them going again."

Rendon is doing his part. In his las 15 games, he is batting .382 with seven doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs.

Hellickson (right groin strain) will make a rehab start Sunday for Class A Potomac and then is expected to rejoin the Nationals' rotation.

Hernandez said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is about a week from beginning a rehab assignment.

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Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

It’s happening.

When the 2018 All-Star Weekend comes to Washington, D.C. in the middle of July, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, but only on one condition: He has to be a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team.

Though Harper is having a down year, only hitting .213 thus far, he leads the NL in home runs with 19.

In the June 18 update of All-Star game voting, Harper sat second among all outfielders with just north of 1,000,000 votes.

That means he’s not only going to make the All-Star team, but he’ll likely start in the outfield.

Harper, a five-time All-Star, competed in the Home Run Derby once before. He was the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in 2013, losing by just one long ball, 9-8.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will take place on July 16 at Nationals Park.

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