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Harper tweets to Stanton to join Nats

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Harper tweets to Stanton to join Nats

While many baseball fans were tuning in to see who won each league’s manager of the year awards on Tuesday night, the Miami Marlins pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades in recent memory. 

According to FoxSports.com, the Marlins are close to sending Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s three starting position players and their two best pitchers, all in a salary dump that virtually erases all the money they spent last offseason in preparation for their new stadium.

Heading to Miami in return are shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechevarria, pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, and Justin Nicolino, outfielder Marisnick, and catcher Jeff Mathis.

The Marlins make this trade in a clear attempt to shed a massive amount of salary, upwards of $90 million according to FoxSports.com. They already traded closer Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks in late October and seem resigned to not be competitive in 2013.

Before the trade deadline in 2012 they got rid of Hanley Ramirez in a trade with the Dodgers and sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers. Those deals were apparently just the beginning of their overhaul.

All the moves combined change the entire dynamic of the Marlins and their status in the National League East. Next season they will still have Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison, but surrounding them will likely be a group of young players and prospects.

Stanton himself expressed frustration on Twitter after news of the trade broke:

Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple

— Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo818) November 13, 2012

With their superstar young player mad enough to tweet his disapproval, naturally people started responding saying he should come join their team. One of those people was Bryce Harper.

@giancarlo818 you can always come play for the Nats! We will take you anytime! Get some red, white, and blue in your life!

— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) November 14, 2012

Unfortunately for Stanton, it appears the Marlins aren’t looking to trade him, at least according to some reports. And the Nationals aren’t likely to trade for Stanton, although seeing the deal the Marlins just pulled off it's likely most general managers have inquired.

Either way the Marlins’ trade on Tuesday night essentially eliminates them from the conversation for several years. The N.L. East is now no more than a four team race, at least for the foreseeable future. 

 

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Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

The Nationals played their first game of spring training today against the Mets. They won, but that's not nearly the biggest story of the day. It was Bryce Harper's first at-bat that stole the show. 

On just the second pitch he saw of spring training, from lefty Sean Gilmartin, Harper mashed a ginormous home run to right center field. MLB.com shared video of the bomb. 

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Harper smacked the ball at least 400 feet. In his second at-bat, he hit a line-drive single on the first pitch. 

Let's just say it was an exciting start to the year for Harper, who won the 2015 NL MVP only to endure a let-down last season. As Castillo points out, the slugger hit .226 against left-handed pitchers in 2016. 

Harper enters spring training at 230 pounds, up 15 pounds of muscle from last year. 

“I just felt going into the offseason you want to get as strong as you can, try to maintain your weight the best you can and just do everything the right way,” he told the Post. 

MORE NATIONALS: Baker thinks DC sports teams can win a championship this year

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Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is back for a second year and feeling optimistic for his Washington team. Spring training has begun in Florida and it has Baker thinking about how the Nats can create some excitement for local sports fans.

In an interview with American University’s WAMU radio station, Baker said D.C. wants to be a "city of champions.” Furthermore, he thinks it can be pulled off before the year ends.

"I came here to win a championship and you know I would love nothing more than to bring one to Washington. Washington, I didn’t know it before I got there, but it’s had a tough time getting out of the first round in a number of sports."

He projected the Nationals to bring home the next championship for the District, but he knows they have competition of late. 

"Washington Wizards are looking pretty good. I’m pulling for them first because their season ends before ours, so I’ve been really following them. The Capitals have a good thing going. I started watching the Redskins more this year.

"You know once it gets contagious in a city and you get a positive attitude throughout the city, then it transfers to the sports teams. So we want to be known as a city of champions, before the end of the year hopefully."

Baker has a reputation for bringing out the best in his teams, especially managing star players. He managed the San Francisco Giants for ten seasons before moving on to the Chicago Cubs, a team he managed for four seasons.

He's never won a World Series, but has taken a team to Game 7. He also finished third for the 2016 National League Manager of the Year award.

So, what are Baker’s steps for the Nationals to get that ultimate prize? A simple formula, really.

"I think that we’ve got to stay healthy, number one. We’re trying to fill the holes that we need to fill, and we’ve got to play," he said. "You know last year we were very close, we were one hit away or one play away or one pitch away from going to the next round against the Cubs."

While he says he came to win Washington a championship, he's also enjoying his time in the city. 

"I love D.C. Before that, San Francisco was my favorite town; that’s my home. But I tell you, D.C. is definitely in the running," he said. "I thought San Francisco had the best seafood, but man, you guys have the best seafood I think in the world."

Thanks, Dusty!

The Nationals play their first spring training game against the New York mets on Saturday.

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