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Report: Nats shopping Morse

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Report: Nats shopping Morse

In acquiring center fielder Denard Span, the Nationals now have to figure out what they do with Michael Morse. Do they bring him back into the infield and place him at first? This is only if they are giving up on retaining Adam LaRoche.

The other option is to trade Morse and, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, it appears that is their first option. Stark spoke to an American League source who says the Nats are “definitely shopping Mike Morse a little bit.” 

Morse will be 31 on Opening Day and has one year left on a two-year deal. After 2013 a move to the A.L. would be logical, especially with his size (245 lbs) and style of play. It is not surprising the Nats have contacted American League teams to gauge interest. 

Morse is a fan favorite, but the power-hitter’s value could be at an all-time high. The Nats are unlikely to re-sign him after 2013 and trading him now is better than midseason. The slugger has become a star in Washington, but could benefit long-term by changing leagues.

But trading Morse all relies on the ability to bring back LaRoche, a situation the team has less control over. For LaRoche to return, it depends on him accepting a deal. To send Morse out the door all the Nats have to do is find a trade partner. This would suggest a deal gets done with LaRoche, either in Washington or elsewhere, before the team makes a move on Morse.

LaRoche is the best first baseman available in this year’s free agency, but if Morse is to be had, he could present a better option for some teams at the position. They would likely have to give up prospects to trade for him, but Morse is younger than LaRoche and won’t require a new contract until 2013. Of the teams looking for a first baseman and being tied to LaRoche, will they now consider Morse?

The asking price for Morse, however, is probably pretty high. Teams with deep farm systems would seem to have the edge. That may eliminate some teams that have been linked to LaRoche. Take for example the Red Sox and Orioles, neither team would seem willing to part with their young building blocks. And neither are deep at pitcher which the Nationals are still looking to secure if Edwin Jackson signs with another team.

Neither option for the Nationals, re-signing LaRoche or trading Morse, will be as easy as it sounds. But both players give the Nats good options at first base. Only one of them will be back in 2013, but which one will the Nationals keep?

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Stephen Strasburg returns to Nats lineup after DL stint

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Stephen Strasburg returns to Nats lineup after DL stint

Friday night marks the first second-half game of Major League Baseball's 162-game season. 

The Washington Nationals begin 5.5 games out of the first-place Phillies and host the second-place Braves for a three-game series before traveling to Milwaukee. 

One big piece to Dave Martinez's staff who has been missing since June 8 is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander was activated from the DL and will start on the mound Friday night. 

Ryan Zimmerman was also activated but is not in Martinez's starting lineup. 

Prior to experiencing inflammation in his right shoulder during a June 8 start that forced him out of the game early, Strasburg saw flashes of dominance throughout his 13 starts owning a 3.46 ERA with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. 

Zimmerman hasn't played since May 9 due to a strained right oblique. With the emergence of Matt Adams, it will be interesting to see how Martinez uses both guys throughout the summer. 

Here is a look at Friday night's official lineup: 

According to Byron Kerr, Zimmerman is still happy to be back, despite not being in the starting lineup. 

Catch the Nationals hosting the Braves Friday at 7:05 p.m. on MASN2. 

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8 bold MLB predictions sure to be proven wrong

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8 bold MLB predictions sure to be proven wrong

It doesn't have quite the same feel as Opening Day, but the first games after the MLB All-Star break certainly have their own unique excitement to them.

Teams are jockeying for playoff position, and the trade deadline is rapidly approaching. The Nats have struggled through the first half, but are still within striking distance of a spot in the 2018 postseason, so every game matters.

To help get you ready for the rest of the 2018 regular season, our baseball writers have provided a couple of bold predictions which are sure to be proven wrong by August.

Bold predictions for the second half of the 2018 MLB season:

Ryan Wormeli: 1) Despite the consensus top three teams in baseball all residing in the American League, this year’s World Series champion will be a National League squad.

2) Max Scherzer does NOT win the National League Cy Young award, even though most fans agree he has the best statistical season.

Cam Ellis: 1) Bryce Harper ends up with 45 home runs this season.

2) Koda Glover eventually gets the 7th inning spot.

Michaela Johnson: 1) Nationals win the NL East (I know this VERY bold but like I said I have high expectations).

2) Tanner Roark will get back on top of his game.

Tyler Byrum: 1) The Milwaukee Brewers will drop out of the playoff hunt. 

Every year the Brewers seem to be close to running away with the NL Central. Then, once we get closer to the All-Star break and move beyond they go silent. It’s getting quite ridiculous at this point. Last year they had 50 wins in the first half, finished with only 86.

2) Philadelphia will make a trade deadline acquisition, but it will not get them over the hump. 

There are just too many issues with the Phillies; starting pitching behind Aaron Nola, consistent batting as a team, and the bullpen. They’ve done a fantastic job to piece together a 53-42 record and sit atop the division, but it will be tough to maintain it. 

Right now, they are almost the exact opposite of the Nationals.