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Rollins: If healthy Philly still better

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Rollins: If healthy Philly still better

Despite trading off some of their assets before the deadline, the Phillies still have enough talent to compete for a playoff spot in 2013. A healthy Phillies team still looks good on paper even if they missed the postseason this year.

The Nationals were able to capitalize on the Phillies taking a step back this season and wound up with not only the best record in the division, but the best overall in baseball as well.

But despite the Nats proving they are the best team in the majors, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins thinks that Philly would have been even better than the Nationals if they were healthier.

Here is his quote 'congratulating' the Nationals on their season, via Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:

"They had a good year," he said. "They're a talented team. Just playing against them for a while, you know they're talented. You always knew if they put it together and found some pitching ... and they've had the opportunity to have some big draft picks, and those guys have made it up to the big leagues and it's all come together for them. So that's great for them. But with us being healthy, you know, they're still second place. But we weren't."

Yes, as if the Nationals themselves were completely healthy. Washington was, in fact, able to overcome just as many injuries as the Phillies, if not more. They withstood significant time missing their closer of 43 games in 2011 in Drew Storen, their highest paid player in Jayson Werth for two months, and maybe the best shortstop in baseball in Ian Desmond for a month. That's just to name a few.

Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman tallied up the games lost for key Phillies players and compared it to key players on the Nationals:

"Six members of the Phillies' projected Opening Day lineup and rotation (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Placido Polanco) missed a combined 309 games this season, a tough obstacle to overcome. Rollins, though, apparently forgot that five members of the Nationals' projected Opening Day lineup (Werth, Zimmerman, Morse, Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos) and their projected closer (Drew Storen) missed a combined 380 games."

The Phillies will be back next year, there is no doubt about it. But as a team of aging stars they look to be on the decline. The Nationals are one of the league's youngest teams and an extra year of experience for Bryce Harper (19), Stephen Strasburg (23), Gio Gonzalez (26), Jordan Zimmermann (26), and Ian Desmond (26) surely won't hurt.

Rollins has famously made correct predictions in the past, but this one no one can be that sure about. The Phillies will probably be better in 2013 that they were this year and that is good for baseball. But the Nationals could be too and there is no guarantee they will relinquish the division title they now own.

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Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history. 

Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him. 

During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.  

In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons. 

Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store

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Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract

On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.

Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop. 

It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series. 

Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster. 

Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.

The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda. 

There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others