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Zobrist decision likely this week, Nats in mix


Zobrist decision likely this week, Nats in mix

NASHVILLE — Ben Zobrist, among the most-popular free agents on the market this winter, is likely to make a decision this week, and the Nationals are among the final suitors for the versatile veteran.

Zobrist, who lives in Nashville, is scheduled to meet with Nationals officials in town for the Winter Meetings on Tuesday, a source familiar with the talks confirmed. He already met in the last week with the Mets and Giants, believed to be the two other finalists to sign him.

The Nationals have long been intrigued by Zobrist, whose ability to play multiple positions makes him attractive to a host of other clubs. They engaged in trade talks with the Rays last winter, but Tampa Bay dealt him and infielder Yunel Escobar to the Athletics for catcher John Jaso and two prospects. (Escobar then was flipped to the Nats for reliever Tyler Clippard.)

The Nationals made another attempt to acquire Zobrist over the summer but watched as the A’s sent him to Kansas City for a pair of prospects. Now he’s finally available as a free agent, though the price tag will be significant.

Zobrist, 34, is believed to be seeking a 4-year contract, a commitment the Mets reportedly are willing to make. It remains to be seen whether the Nationals will go that far for a player who will be 39 years old during the majority of the fourth season of a new contract.

There’s no denying Zobrist’s potential value to the Nationals, who would probably view him primarily as a second baseman but would also want him to back up Jayson Werth in left field and (on rare occasions) Bryce Harper in right field. A switch-hitter with a career .363 on-base percentage and .802 OPS in seven seasons as a big-league regular, Zobrist would give the Nationals a much-needed left-handed bat to complement Harper, not to mention another veteran clubhouse leader.

Money obviously will play a role in Zobrist’s decision, but if all three presumed finalists make 4-year offers, his ultimate choice may have more to do with where he feels most comfortable and believes he has the best chance to win. The Nationals obviously offer a good opportunity for success, but the Mets are defending NL champions while the Giants own three World Series rings in the last six years.

The Washington Post was first to report Zobrist’s scheduled meeting Tuesday with the Nationals.

RELATED: Report: Nats considering former MVP Jimmy Rollins

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Trea Turner undergoes surgery to finally fix his broken index finger

Trea Turner undergoes surgery to finally fix his broken index finger

Trea Turner finally found the time to have his finger fixed.

A Saturday Instagram post showed Turner holding up his heavily wrapped right hand and held the caption: "Only took 7 months to get this finger fixed but now my ring will fit better! 🏆 Thank you to Dr. Carlson and all the staff at @hspecialsurgery for taking care of me! World class job by everyone! Forever thankful!"

"Can’t wait to start hitting with 10 fingers..."

Turner did not play from April 3 to May 17 after fracturing a knuckle on his right index finger when he turned to bunt, and a pitch from Philadelphia starter Zach Eflin struck his finger.

Turner's absence was among several enormous blows to the Nationals' health early in the season. His replacements -- Wilmer Difo and prospect Carter Kieboom -- both played poorly. Turner finished his shortened season as a 2.4-WAR player. Difo and Kieboom combined for -2.1 WAR in limited duty. The swing from Turner to his replacements became a massive hole and coincided with the Nationals bumbling through April and May.

When Turner returned, he still was not healed. He swung with nine fingers on the bat. Often, it flew out of his hands at the end of the swing when he first began to play again. He was never able to bend the finger enough so the tip touched the palm of his hand. Turner also went to great length not to discuss his situation through the year.

There was no immediate timeline for Turner's recovery process available Saturday.


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College GameDay sign takes dig at Astros amid sign-stealing scandal

College GameDay sign takes dig at Astros amid sign-stealing scandal

The College GameDay crew is in Waco, Texas, this weekend to set the stage for the highly touted Big 12 matchup between Baylor and Oklahoma that kicks off Saturday night at 7: 30 p.m.

Baylor fans were out in full force for the live broadcast, holding countless signs that took shots at the Sooners. But one fan went outside the college football realm for their inspiration.

The Astros are facing widespread scrutiny as a result of a report that detailed allegations claiming they used high-powered cameras to steal opposing pitchers’ signs during the 2017 season, when they went on to win the World Series.

Houston can’t do much to defend itself until MLB concludes its investigation, so for now it just has to take jabs left and right from all corners of the sports world.

And apparently, even from Waco.