Harper tweets to Stanton to join Nats

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Harper tweets to Stanton to join Nats

While many baseball fans were tuning in to see who won each league’s manager of the year awards on Tuesday night, the Miami Marlins pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades in recent memory. 

According to FoxSports.com, the Marlins are close to sending Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s three starting position players and their two best pitchers, all in a salary dump that virtually erases all the money they spent last offseason in preparation for their new stadium.

Heading to Miami in return are shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechevarria, pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, and Justin Nicolino, outfielder Marisnick, and catcher Jeff Mathis.

The Marlins make this trade in a clear attempt to shed a massive amount of salary, upwards of $90 million according to FoxSports.com. They already traded closer Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks in late October and seem resigned to not be competitive in 2013.

Before the trade deadline in 2012 they got rid of Hanley Ramirez in a trade with the Dodgers and sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers. Those deals were apparently just the beginning of their overhaul.

All the moves combined change the entire dynamic of the Marlins and their status in the National League East. Next season they will still have Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison, but surrounding them will likely be a group of young players and prospects.

Stanton himself expressed frustration on Twitter after news of the trade broke:

Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple

— Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo818) November 13, 2012

With their superstar young player mad enough to tweet his disapproval, naturally people started responding saying he should come join their team. One of those people was Bryce Harper.

@giancarlo818 you can always come play for the Nats! We will take you anytime! Get some red, white, and blue in your life!

— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) November 14, 2012

Unfortunately for Stanton, it appears the Marlins aren’t looking to trade him, at least according to some reports. And the Nationals aren’t likely to trade for Stanton, although seeing the deal the Marlins just pulled off it's likely most general managers have inquired.

Either way the Marlins’ trade on Tuesday night essentially eliminates them from the conversation for several years. The N.L. East is now no more than a four team race, at least for the foreseeable future. 

 

Nats begin series at World Series-champion Kansas City Royals

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Nats begin series at World Series-champion Kansas City Royals

Nats (17-7) vs. Royals (13-11) at Kauffman Stadium

The Nationals rolled through St. Louis this weekend to secure their first sweep of the Cardinals since 2007. It was an impressive series against a team that led baseball with 100 wins last year. And now, on Monday night, they will face another of MLB's most talented clubs.

The Nats begin a three-game set with the defending champion Kansas City Royals with an 8:15 p.m. first pitch. Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 1.42) and right-hander Edinson Volquez (3-1, 3.34) are the scheduled starters.

Gio is pitching his fifth game of the 2016 season and is off to the best start of his career. The Nats' southpaw is holding opponents to a .196 average and .489 OPS. The Royals, though, will be his biggest challenge to date.

Gonzalez will pitch to Jose Lobaton per usual, though Wilson Ramos is back from the bereavement list. The rest of the Nats' lineup is as expected with Stephen Drew in there as the designated hitter.

First pitch: 8:15 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Gio Gonzalez vs. Royals - Edinson Volquez

NATS

CF Michael Taylor
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Jayson Werth
DH Stephen Drew
C Jose Lobaton
SS Danny Espinosa
(LHP Gio Gonzalez)

ROYALS

SS Alcides Escobar
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Kendrys Morales
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
2B Omar Infante
3B Christian Colon
RF Paulo Orlando
(RHP Edinson Volquez)

Follow along with GameView here.

Baker had his team rub a former player's ears for good luck vs. Cards

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Baker had his team rub a former player's ears for good luck vs. Cards

You're going to lobe this story. Wait, sorry, you're going to love this story.

Before the Nationals' weekend series against the Cardinals that started on Friday, a former player and current pal of Dusty Baker named Kirk Rueter stopped by to say hello. It was there when things took a turn for the weird, according to USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale.

As a pitcher under Baker with the Giants, Rueter apparently developed a reputation for having incredibly good fortune. With that in mind,  Baker — whose team had just been swept at home by the Phillies — wanted to take advantage of his penchant for luck.

So he had his buddy walk through Washington's clubhouse and told his roster to rub his ears.

Yes, this is a thing that happened.

The bizarre superstition, of course, seemed to work, considering the Nats took all three games from St. Louis, an organization that has given them fits before. Next up is a four-game tilt in Kansas City. Rueter better bring his ears. 

MORE NATIONALS: WHY NATS PITCHERS THROWING MORE PITCHES ISN'T WORRISOME

Bryce Harper named NL player of the month for April

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Bryce Harper named NL player of the month for April

Bryce Harper's hot start to the 2016 season has earned him the NL player of the month award for the month of April.

The Nats slugger saw his batting average dip to .286 by month's end, but finished April with nine homers, 24 RBI and six steals. Harper eclipsed the 100 career homers mark on April 14 and at one point hit a home run in four consecutive games. 

Other highlights from Harper's April include an eight game RBI steak, a six game streak of hitting home runs at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Harper's first career pinch-hit homer and his first two career grand slams. His first grand slam was on career homer No. 100.

The reigning NL MVP, Harper has won NL player of the month one other time in his career, in May of 2015. Max Scherzer also won the NL pitcher of the month award twice last season, in May and June.

Harper, 23, is batting .273/.390/.679 this season in 24 games. He was the co-NL player of the week for April 11-17 with Nolan Arenado of the Rockies.

Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles won the AL player of the month award for April.