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3 Nats win Silver Slugger awards

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3 Nats win Silver Slugger awards

The first major award of Stephen Strasburg's big-league career was not for anything he did on the pitcher's mound. Instead, it's for what he did in the batter's box.

Strasburg tonight won the Silver Slugger Award, deemed as the best offensive pitcher in the National League by managers and coaches, who also gave the award to Nationals teammates Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche for their offensive performances at shortstop and first base.

Strasburg, Desmond and LaRoche become the third, fourth and fifth players in Nationals history to earn Silver Slugger honors, joining Alfonso Soriano (2006) and Ryan Zimmerman (2009, 2010).

LaRoche joins Zimmerman as a dual Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award winner and becomes the seventh NL first baseman ever to win both awards in the same season, joining Keith Hernandez (1980, 1984), Will Clark (1991), Jeff Bagwell (1994), Todd Helton (2001, 2002), Derrek Lee (2005) and Albert Pujols (2010).

The 32-year-old led all first basemen in his league with 33 homers (a career high) and 100 RBI (matching a career high), though his .510 slugging percentage only ranked fifth.

Desmond's selection is further validation of a breakthrough season that saw the 27-year-old shortstop earn his first career All-Star selection as well as the designation as a finalist for a Gold Glove Award.

Desmond led all NL shortstops with 25 homers, a .292 batting average and .511 slugging percentage. He also stole 21 bases, becoming only the ninth shortstop in big-league history with at least 25 homers and 20 steals in a season.

Strasburg also was an All-Star this season, based entirely on his pitching performance. The 24-year-old right-hander went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts before he was shut down by the Nationals in early September after throwing 159 1/3 innings.

As dominant as he was at times on the mound, Strasburg was equally as dominant at the plate ... at least, for a pitcher. He hit .277 (13-for-47) with a homer, four doubles and an NL-high seven RBI for the season. On July 15, his batting average actually stood at .385, with his OPS at a remarkable 1.102.

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New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado. 

"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.  

It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars. 

The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold. 

Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season. 

The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado. 

The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx. 

MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk

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Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

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USA Today Sports

Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.

The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs. 

Stay tuned for more information!