Nationals

Quick Links

Report: Free agent Ian Desmond has new suitor in NL West

iandesmond062915.png

Report: Free agent Ian Desmond has new suitor in NL West

Pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training around baseball, but several notable free agents remain unsigned, largely due to MLB's practice of qualifying offers.

Ian Desmond falls in that category despite boasting three Silver Slugger awards from 2012-14 and 19 homers last year. A new report, however, has the Colorado Rockies entering his sweepstakes.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that "the Rockies have been in contact with Desmond’s representatives," noting that their interest could be dependent on MLB's decision whether to suspend Jose Reyes for a domestic violence incident. Desmond, 30, has also received interest this offseason from the Padres, Rays and White Sox, but Rosenthal calls the Rockies perhaps the "cleanest fit," in part due to the potential opportunity left behind by Reyes.

Last week we explored the possibility of Desmond accepting a one-year deal and whether him resetting next year with experience at other defensive positions would help. Rosenthal notes that the Rockies, who own a protected fourth overall pick, would only have to surrender the 38th overall selection to sign Desmond.

Desmond would be fun to watch at Coors Field, which is known for helping out power numbers. Desmond was fifth in ESPN's 'Golden Sledgehammer' race in 2015. That list ranks the highest average distance per home run for players with at least 18 homers in a season. Desmond averaged 414 feet on his homers, which goes to show his elite power, especially for a shortstop.

Desmond is consistently in the 20-25 homer range. If you put him in Coors, could he hit 25-30? That would certainly help his cause next offseason if he re-entered free agency.

[RELATED: Former Nats All-Star attempting MLB comeback]

Quick Links

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

screen_shot_2018-05-21_at_7.52.30_pm.png
@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

Quick Links

Can slumping Nationals, Gio Gonzalez end losing streak Monday vs. Padres?

usatsi_10837294.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Can slumping Nationals, Gio Gonzalez end losing streak Monday vs. Padres?

When the Washington Nationals visited San Diego on May 7-9, they won the first two games of a three-game series to move within 1 1/2 games of the National League West lead.

At the time, the Nationals were on a bit of a run and the Padres were reeling with a 13-24 record.

Two weeks after that series, the Padres and Nationals meet again in Washington, D.C (7:05 p.m. ET, Monday). And the fortunes of the two teams have changed a bit.

Since winning that series finale at Petco Park to avoid being swept by the Nationals, the Padres have gone 7-4 and are riding a three-game winning streak.

The Nationals have gone 4-4 and just lost a third straight game to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in Washington to slip four games off the lead in their division.

The Nationals are the home team this time for a three-game series that opens Monday night with a matchup of left-handers -- Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 2.36 ERA) going for Washington with Robbie Erlin (1-2, 3.46) making a spot start for San Diego.

On paper, the pairing clearly favors the hosts.

Erlin, 27, has met the Nationals twice in his career. Both games were at Nationals Park. Erlin is 0-2 in the matchups with a 16.39 ERA.

In Erlin's two previous outings in the nation's capital, Erlin has given up 17 runs, 19 hits and six walks with six strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. The Nationals have hit .413 against Erlin, who has a 2.68 WHIP against Washington.

This will be only the second start of the season for Erlin, who returned this year after having Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery midway through 2016.

Thirteen of Erlin's 14 appearances this season have been out of the bullpen. His one previous start was April 16 against the Dodgers. He gave up six runs (five earned), seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in three innings.

Erlin is filling the vacancy created when rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi went on the disabled list with a slightly strained glute. The Padres are hoping Lucchesi will miss only one start, although it looks like it could now be two or three.

Gonzalez is no stranger to the Padres. He started the May 9 game that the Nationals lost 2-1. Gonzalez allowed one run, five hits and three walks in six innings. Afterward, he said he struggled with his command.

Gonzalez was not involved in that decision. During his career, he has made seven starts against the Padres and has a 3-2 record with a 3.21 ERA, a 1.357 WHIP and a .253 opponents' batting average. Against the Padres, Gonzalez has given up 19 runs (15 earned), 41 hits and 16 walks with 41 strikeouts in 42 innings.

When the Nationals were in San Diego, first baseman-left fielder Matt Adams went 3-for-8 with a double, two homers, six RBIs and three runs scored -- although he got the third game off.

Since leaving San Diego, Adams has hit only .143. Washington's Bryce Harper is hitting .125 in the last eight games with a homer and three RBIs.

Another key player in the first Padres-Nationals series was Howie Kendrick, who was 5-for-12 with a double and two runs scored. But Kendrick has been lost with a ruptured Achilles tendon and on Saturday the Nationals promoted a 19-year-old prospect from Double-A.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: