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Another day off for Harper


Another day off for Harper

PHOENIX -- Some leftover thoughts from last night's 9-1 thumping of the Diamondbacks...

-- Bryce Harper bounced back from his rough Houston series with a productive game at the plate, even though he didn't produce a base hit. The rookie went 0-for-2 with a pair of sacrifice flies and a walk and generally looked more relaxed than he did Wednesday in Houston when he twice argued with umpire Angel Hernandez over called third strikes and then made an ill-advised throw from center field.

Davey Johnson decided to give Harper the final game of that series off, citing his need for a mental break after that difficult game (not to mention a difficult stretch since the All-Star break). Well, the manager is giving the 19-year-old another day off tonight, but not as a reaction to anything he did last night. Instead, Johnson wants to find a way to give Tyler Moore a start in the outfield.

"I might as well tell you now, I'm going to get Tyler Moore in the lineup, because once Jayson Werth got here I haven't had that opportunity," he said. "There's nothing wrong with Bryce. He played a good game, and he'll play the day game against the left-hander Sunday. I'm just telling you up-front now so I don't have to hear all this crap tomorrow."

So the outfield alignment tonight should have Moore in left field, Werth in center field and Michael Morse in right field. Johnson also said he plans to hit Werth leadoff for the first time, with Danny Espinosa batting second.

-- The baseball world was abuzz yet again yesterday with Stephen Strasburg Shutdown Fever after a Yahoo! Sports report citing GM Mike Rizzo saying the right-hander won't pitch more than 180 innings this season. All of a sudden, media members and fans alike wondered whether Rizzo was suggesting Strasburg could be allowed to pitch deeper into the season than everyone originally thought.

Well, here's the lowdown, straight from Rizzo: Nothing has changed at all. The Nationals' plan for Strasburg has been consistent from the first day of spring training. There is no exact number of innings. It's a broad range, probably no fewer than 160, almost certainly no more than 180.

That doesn't mean Strasburg is going to get to 180, though. Rizzo is going to watch him closely over the next several weeks and make the decision when to pull the plug based on what he sees, not based on what the precise innings count is.

Point is, the Nationals will shut down Strasburg before the end of the regular season and he will not pitch in the postseason. That plan hasn't changed one bit since February.

-- Steve Lombardozzi quietly put together a four-hit, four-run game last night, impressing his manager.

"He had a heck of a game today," Johnson said. "He's been actually getting more aggressive at the plate. He's had a tendency to take everything the other way, and Rick Eckstein's been working with him on getting the head out, hit the ball more where it's pitched. He got that double yesterday down the right-field line, and then today the first time up turned on one inside and then the triple. That's who he can be, because he's right on top of the plate and they pound him. He doesn't get to extend very much. But he's another one, he's just a babe in the woods."

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Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

The Washington Nationals were unable to trade the farm to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for former Cy Young winner Chris Sale. But still looking to make a splash, the Nationals went back to the White Sox, and have made a deal.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Nationals will trade Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton, pending physicals.

Eaton, 28 years old, will be entering his sixth season, having played two seasons with the Diamondbacks and two season with the White Sox.

Eaton has never made an All-Star team, but has a solid OBP of .357 and has back-to-back seasons of 14 home runs and at least 50 RBIs. He also has a very friendly contract, having recently signed a five-year, $23.5 million contract.

In return, the White Sox get a treasure trove of prospects.

Giolito is the top prospect in the Nationals' organization and one of the top prospects in all of MLB. He appeared in six games for the nationals in 2016, finishing with a 6.75 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Lopez, the No. 4 prospect in the organization, appeared in 11 games in 2016, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

Dunning, one of the ace of the Florida Gators' staff, was selected by the Nationals with the 29th pick of the 2016 MLB Draft.

But considering the Nationals were willing to give up numerous top prospects for Chris Sale or Andrew McCutchen, it's puzzling that the Nationals would receive just Eaton in return.

Heading into the 2016 winter meetings, it was well known that the Nationals were interested in making a big splash and shaking things up.

It looks like they're doing just that.

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Nationals were willing to give up the farm for Chris Sale

Nationals were willing to give up the farm for Chris Sale

By Jason Dobkin

The Nationals were ready to give up a host of top prospects to get Chris Sale from the White Sox.

They weren't able to nab the ace — Chicago decided to trade Sale to the Red Sox for a group of prospects headlined by second baseman Yoan Moncada — but it wasn't for lack of a competitive offer.

The Nats were deep in talks with the White Sox on Monday night, offering up two of their top prospects in right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito and outfielder Victor Robles. They were also reportedly willing to let go of another top pitching prospect, Reynaldo Lopez, who originally wasn't on the table.

Giolito and Robles are two of the best prospects in baseball, and Lopez isn't far behind. Moncada, though, is considered possibly the No. 1 prospect. In addition to Moncada, the Red Sox also gave up stud pitching prospect Michael Kopech.

RELATED: Should the Nationals pursue Andrew McCutchen?

The Nats could have possibly gotten a deal done involving Trea Turner, but they weren't willing to budge on him.

The Nationals' missing on Sale comes not long after they also missed out on pitcher Mark Melancon, who signed with the Giants.

Considering how much Washington was willing to part with to get Sale, losing out on him probably hurts.

MORE: Two ways to look at the Nationals' missing out on Chris Sale