On Thursday morning a report emerged from USA Today by Bob Nightengale quoting anonymous MLB general managers saying they were now rooting against the Nationals. The resentment revolves specifically around Mike Rizzo's decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg right before the postseason. Rival MLB executives apparently don't like the move and think Rizzo is presumptuous to believe the Nationals will be in the playoffs for years to come.
Rizzo has now decided to respond and in firing back used a phrase he made famous back in May.
Speaking to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Rizzo called the comments "chicken (bleep).'' Rizzo, from Chicago, then said, "that's not how we do things in my neighborhood.''
Rizzo also implied the statements came from jealousy, saying they could have come from a general manager whose team lost 120 games this season. The closest team to lose that many was the Astros who won 107. Their GM, Jeff Luhnow, praised Rizzo just recently for allowing him to speak with third base coach Bo Porter who will be Houston's manager next season.
Rizzo was exaggerating with the number and he may actually be wrong about it coming completely from envy. The first GM's quote suggests his team may still be in the playoffs.
"If we don't win the World Series, I don't care who does," one general manager told USA TODAY Sports, "as long as it's not those guys.
The second executive could be from a team already eliminated, but not enough information is given to conclude either way.
You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado.
"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.
It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars.
The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold.
Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season.
The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado.
The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx.
MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk
Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.
The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs.
Stay tuned for more information!