Bourn likely to test free agency, could he fit with Nats?

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Bourn likely to test free agency, could he fit with Nats?

The MLB offseason may be a ways away, but one key player that could find his way to Washington over the winter is sending serious signs he may be available for the right price.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Bourn is unlikely to re-sign with his current team because his asking price may be too high. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe first reported the news citing a pessimistic Braves club who reportedly "aren't holding out much hope" to retain the two-time All-Star.

Bourn is enjoying perhaps his best season and fits a need for the Nats as a leadoff hitting center fielder. He hits for a good average, steals bases, and plays stellar defense. He also happens to be a client of Scott Boras.

The Nationals will have money to spend, but it could come down to simply finding a place for Bourn in the lineup. He fits a logical need, but if he joins the outfield Michael Morse would likely have to move to the infield. Morse to the infield would force a decision between he and Adam LaRoche, who with a team option for 2013, has been the team's most consistent bat this season.

LaRoche has proven invaluable this year for the team and is better defensively than Morse. He is also a left-handed bat, although Bourn hits lefty as well.

All things considered equal, Bourn would fit nicely in the outfield with Bryce Harper and Morse. But Jayson Werth carries the team's biggest contract and because of that likely has a secure place in the lineup. His salary escalates to 16 million in 2013 and goes up to 20 million the following year. Harper is also going nowhere.

If Bourn is signed by Washington dominoes will surely fall, they would likely trade one of their players away or part with LaRoche via free agency. It could come down to money and how long of a deal Bourn wants.

Bourn, 29, is hitting .291 this season with a career-high nine home runs, 50 RBI (second most in career), and a National League-best 30 stolen bases. That sure sounds good placed at the top of the Nationals' lineup, but signing him wouldn't exactly be an easy decision for general manager Mike Rizzo. Signing Bourn would, however, weaken perhaps the Nats' biggest threat in the division for years to come.

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3 key observations from Game 6: Caps save their best for last

3 key observations from Game 6: Caps save their best for last

The Caps are headed to the second round thanks to their 2-1 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6. Here are three key observations from Game 6.

1. Overtime domination

There were stretches of this game in which Toronto was the better team, but when it mattered the most, Washington delivered. The Caps dominated overtime from the drop of the puck until Marcus Johansson put the game away. Washington outshot Toronto 5-0 in overtime and out-chanced them 4-0. It was the most dominant this team has looked the entire series.

RELATED: Capitals vs. Penguins schedule announced

2. Reversing the past?

It would have been so easy for the Caps to wilt after the Auston Matthews goal. That was an incredibly lucky bounce, Washington had only 12:15 left to solve Frederik Andersen who had been great all night, the crowd was roaring, the Caps could very easily have just shrunk and told themselves, we’ll get them in Game 7. But they didn’t, they fought back. Washington took control of the game after Matthews scored and they didn’t look back.

3. So much overtime

Let’s take a moment to give a tip of the cap to Toronto. This is about as close a series as you can get. Five games, five of the six games went into overtime. How is that even possible? It was an incredible series and closer than many thought, but the Maple Leafs were a much better team than many thought and Mike Babcock showed why he is the best coach in the NHL.

Congratulations on a great series Toronto, you’re going to be a great team for a long time.

MORE CAPITALS: Caps finish off Toronto in OT behind Johansson's two goals

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Murphy, Scherzer slam Mets with 7th straight win

Murphy, Scherzer slam Mets with 7th straight win

NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy hit an early grand slam against his former team, Max Scherzer pitched eight fiery innings and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-3 on Sunday night for their seventh straight victory.

Ryan Zimmerman added a two-run homer for the Nationals, who completed a three-game sweep of the short-handed Mets in the first series this season between the NL East rivals.

Missing slugger Yoenis Cespedes and two other injured starters, New York (8-11) has lost four in a row and eight of nine to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Nationals, who own the best record in the majors at 13-5. The winning streak is their longest since a seven-game run last April.

Scherzer (3-1) struck out nine and walked one in his latest win over the Mets, a team he has often dominated -- especially since signing with Washington in January 2015. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, who fanned 17 in a no-hitter at Citi Field on Oct. 3, 2015, pumped his fist and slapped his glove after setting down the crucial hitters in this one.

Koda Glover got three outs for his second major league save, both in the past two days.

Michael Conforto hit his second leadoff homer of the series and had three hits for New York. Neil Walker's two-run homer pulled the Mets to 4-3 in the third, but that was all Scherzer allowed. He got a double-play grounder after Conforto's one-out single in the fifth and retired his final 10 batters.

Murphy connected in the first off Zack Wheeler (1-2), who had sharp stuff throughout his seven innings of four-hit ball. Zimmerman went deep in the eighth against reliever Josh Smoker to make it 6-3.

Murphy, booed by the Queens crowd, has eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 22 games against the Mets since they let him leave as a free agent before last season.

More Nationals: DOES MIKE RIZZO SEE THE NATS HAVING A CLOSER BY COMMITTEE?​