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3 Nats win Silver Slugger awards

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3 Nats win Silver Slugger awards

The first major award of Stephen Strasburg's big-league career was not for anything he did on the pitcher's mound. Instead, it's for what he did in the batter's box.

Strasburg tonight won the Silver Slugger Award, deemed as the best offensive pitcher in the National League by managers and coaches, who also gave the award to Nationals teammates Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche for their offensive performances at shortstop and first base.

Strasburg, Desmond and LaRoche become the third, fourth and fifth players in Nationals history to earn Silver Slugger honors, joining Alfonso Soriano (2006) and Ryan Zimmerman (2009, 2010).

LaRoche joins Zimmerman as a dual Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award winner and becomes the seventh NL first baseman ever to win both awards in the same season, joining Keith Hernandez (1980, 1984), Will Clark (1991), Jeff Bagwell (1994), Todd Helton (2001, 2002), Derrek Lee (2005) and Albert Pujols (2010).

The 32-year-old led all first basemen in his league with 33 homers (a career high) and 100 RBI (matching a career high), though his .510 slugging percentage only ranked fifth.

Desmond's selection is further validation of a breakthrough season that saw the 27-year-old shortstop earn his first career All-Star selection as well as the designation as a finalist for a Gold Glove Award.

Desmond led all NL shortstops with 25 homers, a .292 batting average and .511 slugging percentage. He also stole 21 bases, becoming only the ninth shortstop in big-league history with at least 25 homers and 20 steals in a season.

Strasburg also was an All-Star this season, based entirely on his pitching performance. The 24-year-old right-hander went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts before he was shut down by the Nationals in early September after throwing 159 1/3 innings.

As dominant as he was at times on the mound, Strasburg was equally as dominant at the plate ... at least, for a pitcher. He hit .277 (13-for-47) with a homer, four doubles and an NL-high seven RBI for the season. On July 15, his batting average actually stood at .385, with his OPS at a remarkable 1.102.

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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras

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Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.

Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.

On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.

But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.

Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.

Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways

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