After spending much of the season trying to fill vacancies created by injuries, the Nationals are about to get a couple of key veterans back from the disabled list.
Both Chad Tracy and Jayson Werth are expected to be activated off the DL during this week's homestand, with Tracy perhaps joining the active roster as soon as tomorrow.
Werth probably needs a few more days on his rehab assignment with Class AAA Syracuse, though the outfielder (who broke his left wrist on May 6) has begun to swing a hot bat. After going hitless in his first 12 at-bats, he enters tonight's game against Lehigh Valley having reached base in six of his last eight plate appearances with three singles, a double and two walks.
Werth has played seven total games on rehab, and both he and the Nationals prefer he spend a bit more time getting his timing down before he comes off the DL. That move could happen in time for this weekend's four-game series against the Marlins.
Tracy, meanwhile, is 6-for-9 with a homer and three RBI over the last three days with Syracuse. He's appeared in 11 total games with Syracuse and Class A Potomac, hitting a combined .333 with five RBI.
The most-productive pinch-hitter in the majors before he needed surgery in late-May to repair a sports hernia, Tracy could give the Nationals another potent bat off the bench if he returns in time for tomorrow's series opener against the Phillies.
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
The Washington Nationals avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year deals today with Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and newly acquired catcher Derek Norris.
If team's and players didn't agree to contracts by today's 1 p.m. ET deadline, an independent arbitrator will rule on the contract at a later date and decide how much the player will play for in 2017.
Harper and the Nationals agreed to a $13.625 million deal, which was significantly more than the $9.3 million contract that was projected by MLB Trade Rumors. Last season, coming off his 2015 MVP campaign, Harper made $5 million. The 24-year-old will be a free agent after the 2018 season.
Harper is coming off a disappointing season by his standards, in which he hit just .243 with 24 homers, which was way down from his total of 42 dingers in 2015.
According to multiple reports, Rendon signed for $5.8 million, Roark signed for $4.315 million and Norris' deal was for $4.2 million.
Roark made just $543,400 last season, which he vastly out-performed. Roark was one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League last year as he won 16 games and posted a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings of work.
With today's signings, all of the Nationals' arbitration-eligible players are under contract for 2017.
Related: Tanner Roark to replace Max Scherzer on World Baseball Classic roster