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How Aaron Judge could help the Nationals keep Bryce Harper in Washington

How Aaron Judge could help the Nationals keep Bryce Harper in Washington

Every time Aaron Judge launches a screamer to the upper decks, that's one more homer that the Yankees didn't need to pay Bryce Harper $400 million to hit. 

That's the logic ESPN senior writer Andrew Marchand presented last month to suggest that Judge could disrupt the Yankees' plans to go after Harper in 2018. 

And after Judge won the Home Run Derby last night over a hitter like Giancarlo Stanton, it's becoming more and more apparent that he's checking the key boxes that Harper would for the Yankees. 

MORE NATIONALS: Scherzer tabbed N.L. All-Star Starter

1) He's got the star power. After the derby victory, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred said Judge could "become the face of the game." Speaking to ESPN, Judge's agent said he has been approached daily by brands wanting a piece of his client's celebrity. 

2) He's got the hitting power. Judge is leading the MLB with 30 homers and 75 runs at the All-Star Break. At this point in the season, Judge bests Harper in batting average, home runs, RBIs and on-base percentage. 

But unlike Harper – who reportedly could command up to $500 million in free agency – Judge is dirt cheap. He's on making $535,000 this year and won't be an unrestricted free agent until 2023 at age 31, according to Spotrac.com

None of this means the Yankees won't pursue the 2015 MVP, but it might help head off a bidding war that drives his price tag off the charts. Judge could be the difference between wanting and needing Harper in the minds of Brian Cashman and company. 

The Nationals will take any reality that could help keep the price of retaining Harper within their reach. Now, this doesn't help them if and when the Cubs or Dodgers come calling. 

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Nationals place Ryan Madson on 10-day DL

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USA TODAY Sports

Nationals place Ryan Madson on 10-day DL

Ryan Madson is the latest Washington National headed to the DL, turning the team's relief pitching rotation upside down even more than it already is. 

According to MASN's Dan Kolko, the 37-year-old is nursing a "lumbar nerve root irritation" injury and will sit out for 10 days. 

In response, the team has named Koda Glover as the closer, who was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse Wednesday. 

Glover gave up a game-ending solo blast to the Cardinals' Kevin DeJong Monday night. 

The night before, Madson was on the other end of David Bote's walk-off grand slam in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Cubs. 

As for Tuesday night, Glover's status remains unknown

 

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Back-to-back walk-offsNationals walked off again, this time by Cardinals' Paul DeJong

Zim is sizzlin' hot: After standout performances, Nationals' 1B Ryan Zimmerman named NL Player of the Week

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Nationals walked off again, this time by Cardinals' Paul DeJong

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Nationals walked off again, this time by Cardinals' Paul DeJong

ST. LOUIS -- Nationals manager Dave Martinez was awake most of the night after Washington lost on a walk-off grand slam Sunday.

He likely won't be catching up on that missed sleep Monday.

Paul DeJong handed the Nationals their second straight walk-off loss, capping a back-and-forth finish with a game-ending solo homer in the ninth inning of the St. Cardinals' 7-6 victory Monday night.

DeJong took Koda Glover (0-1) deep leading off the ninth on a 3-1 pitch. A night earlier, Ryan Madson allowed a game-ending ninth-inning grand slam to the Chicago Cubs' David Bote in a 4-3 defeat.

"I don't sleep most nights, I like to watch replays of the game," Martinez said. "And last night was no different."

Washington's bullpen has blown saves in three of its past four games. All-Star closer Sean Doolittle has been on the disabled list since early July, and top setup man Kelvin Herrera went to the DL with right rotator cuff impingement last week.

"I don't know what else to do," Martinez said of the bullpen.

The usually stoic DeJong wasn't quite sure how to celebrate his first career walk-off homer. He started calm, keeping his head down as he rounded the bases. After coming around third, though, he whipped his helmet into the grass, threw his arms down and bellowed out a roar.

"My first walkoff, it felt so good I had to do something a little different," DeJong said.

The Cardinals recorded their 10th walkoff of the season and DeJong became the sixth different player to end a game in grand fashion.

"They're all special, all emotional," St. Louis interim manager Mike Shildt said. "These guys have the mentality, `Do your job, keep the line moving.' They have a lot of trust with each other."

The Cardinals have won six in a row and moved to nine games over .500 for the first time this season.

DeJong's 380-foot drive ended a wild final two innings.

Matt Carpenter and Jedd Gyorko homered in the eighth inning to put St. Louis up 6-4. Gyorko started the rally with a leadoff drive, and Carpenter followed with a three-run homer off Sammy Solis.

The Nationals tied it at 6 in the top of the ninth on RBI singles by Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters off closer Bud Norris. Dakota Hudson (3-0) relieved Norris and stranded two baserunners by retiring Wilmer Difo and Adam Eaton.

Juan Soto and Bryce Harper homered for the Nationals, who have lost five of seven.

Gyorko sparked St. Louis' big eighth inning with his homer off Justin Miller. Kolten Wong and Patrick Wisdom then singled to set up Carpenter's 33rd homer. Carpenter has homered in seven of his past 10 games. He extended his major-league leading on-base streak to 31 games with a first-inning bunt single. He has 17 homers during that string.

Harper won a 10-pitch battle with starter Miles Mikolas by drilling his 29th homer leading off the fourth to lead 2-1.

Ryan Zimmerman added a run-scoring double in the second for the Nationals.

Jose Martinez had four hits for the Cardinals.

Mikolas gave up four runs on four hits over seven innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Tommy Milone started for Washington and gave up two runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings.

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