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Nats like versatility of new CF Ben Revere


Nats like versatility of new CF Ben Revere

Losing Denard Span to free agency on Thursday was a tough development for the Nationals, as expected as his exit was. But in trading for outfielder Ben Revere just 24 hours later, the Nationals have found themselves quite the competent replacement.

Revere was the heir apparent to Span in Minnesota when the Twins traded Span to the Nationals. Now he will replace Span once again, this time in Washington.

Revere slides right in as a left-handed hitting and speedy leadoff hitter. He projects as their starting center fielder and is both young - he's only 27 - and under team control for two years. He fills several needs that were created by Span's departure, and general manager Mike Rizzo loves what Revere will bring to his roster.

"We think that he’s a player that can impact us for a couple of years. Any time you get an everyday-type of player that can impact the ballclub and fits a need so well for a reliever that has one year left, then that’s something you have to look into. It’s something that we’ve done the last two years with [Yunel] Escobar and now Drew [Storen] for Ben," Rizzo said.

Rizzo threw out plenty of superlatives for Revere on his Saturday conference call to announce the trade. But versatility may have emerged as the key characteristic Rizzo sees in Revere as an addition.

"He’s one of the fastest players in the league. He can steal you a base. He plays good defense. He’s a left-handed contact hitter. When we talk about players like Ben Revere and his skillset, he doesn’t hit many doubles and he doesn’t get many walks, but the guy gets on base.," he said.

"He’s hit at the top of the lineup each stage of his career. He’s got a propensity to steal you a base in big situations and he’s the type of leadoff hitter that is very tough to pitch against. He fouls off a lot of pitches and has really good at-bats. We look forward to seeing him on our team this year."

Rizzo went on to describe Revere's defense in further depth:

"He can really play the position. He’s a good defensive center fielder with a short-throwing arm, a poor throwing arm. But beyond that, he’s got good range angles and (takes) good routes to the baseballs and makes great plays. I feel good about him in the outfield, anywhere in the outfield. With Revere and Taylor, you’ve got yourself two of the best defensive guys in the league. And of course, you got [Bryce Harper] who’s a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder and Jayson [Werth] who knows how to play all three positions also."

Revere fits into the bigger picture for Rizzo and the Nationals as a contact-hitter who does not strike out a lot. With Daniel Murphy also in store, the Nationals lineup will operate much differently in 2016.

"I think we’re much more balanced now. I think we’re a different offensive club. Our offensive efficiency should go up. We’re going to strike out less and put the ball in play more. We’re going to be more athletic and faster this year. We’ve got ourselves an array of different players that are versatile. We’ve given Dusty a lot of ammunition in a lot of different ways to win a ballgame," Rizzo explained.

"Athleticism, speed – those are all things that we tried to adhere to this winter and to improve ourselves in. And I think when you look at the athleticism we’ve added, the accomplished major league hitters that we’ve put on the roster, the guys that don’t strike out much and move the ball around and can play really opportunistic offense. I think that was what we were going into the offseason trying to do and I think we’ve accomplished a lot of our goals."

[RELATED: Nats' GM Rizzo issues a detailed defense of Papelbon]

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Nats prospect update: Three minor-leaguers sent to Kansas City for Kelvin Herrera

Nats prospect update: Three minor-leaguers sent to Kansas City for Kelvin Herrera

The biggest story in Nationals prospects this week is the three Washington lost to the Royals in return for closer Kelvin Herrera. Here’s a look at what the Nationals gave up to add more depth to the bullpen.

Kelvin Gutierrez, AA 3B

The infielder, formerly on the Nationals’ 40-man roster, has posted a .285/.344/.388 line through his six-season minor league tenure. One of his greatest strengths is his speed, with 55 career stolen bases and 14 extra-base hits this season. His other notable tool is his powerful arm strength, which may help explain his transition from shortstop to the hot corner.

Blake Perkins, High A OF

The Nationals chose outfielder Blake Perkins in the second round of the 2015 draft. He has quite a bit of room to improve at the plate, batting .234/.344/.290 this season in Hagerstown. However, what he lacks offensively, he makes up for in the outfield. According to Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser, Perkins has “plus speed, mature instincts, excellent routes and an above-average arm.”

Yohanse Morel, RHP

The biggest wild card of the group, Morel is a 17-year-old outfielder-turned-pitcher from the Dominican Republic. His fastball reaches 95 mph and he certainly has huge potential for growth. He has not yet pitched in the U.S. since making his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in early June.

So, what did the Nationals gain?

Right-handed closer Kelvin Herrera is a two-time All-Star who is currently in the midst of a stellar season. In his Nats debut, he needed just six pitches to shut down the Orioles in the eight. The team is reportedly (and understandably) thrilled to have Herrera joining the roster. Adam Eaton said, "I'm so happy he's here and he's on my team and I don't have to face him anytime in the near future."

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Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The rain was heavy and relentless. As the puddles grew deeper on the tarp at Nationals Park, the Baltimore Orioles were left to wonder if their bid for a rare road victory would be thwarted by, of all things, the weather.

During a season in which very little has worked in their favor, the Orioles withstood a long rain delay to beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.

Baltimore led 2-0 after four innings when play was stopped. After a wait of 2 hours, 43 minutes, the game resumed with a few hundred fans from the announced crowd of 32,153 sprinkled around the lower seating bowl.

Mark Trumbo homered for Baltimore, and Andrew Cashner and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in a game that ended long after midnight.

"It was nice," Trumbo said. "I'm glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash. But it ended up being pretty big for us."

Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak to Washington that began last May, won for only the fourth time in 20 games and improved the majors' worst road record to 10-28.

This one was worth the wait.

"It's never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark," Trumbo said. "Then you have to restart. It's almost two games in one, so, great job by our guys tonight."

The Nationals managed only two hits following the delay, both in the ninth inning.

"It happens. You can't do anything about the rain," manager Dave Martinez said. "You've got to come out and get yourself ready to play. I'm not going to make any excuses."

The rain delay cut short a solid pitching performance by Cashner, who allowed three hits and no walks over four innings in his return from an 11-day stay on the disabled list with back spasms.

Miguel Castro (2-2) followed with two hitless innings, Darren O'Day pitched a perfect seventh and Zach Britton got four outs.

Brad Brach allowed the Nationals to load the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out Mark Reynolds .

Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Gio Gonzalez (6-4), and for a while it appeared the drive would be washed out by the rain.

"One pitch. That was the whole game," Gonzalez lamented. "That was it."

Indeed, it all ended well for the Orioles, who added a run in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia .