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Nationals hang in top 10 of Forbes' most valuable MLB franchises

Nationals hang in top 10 of Forbes' most valuable MLB franchises

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

The season is just weeks underway and the Washington Nationals are priming for a long year, and one that the team is hoping could end in a World Series run. 

On Tuesday, Forbes magazine released their annual rankings of the value of every Major League Baseball team. As NL East division winners for three of the past five years, the Nationals have fallen to 10th place, one spot lower than a season ago. 

Forbes has marked the team with a 23 percent total increase in value, from $1.3 billion last year to now $1.6 billion. According to Forbes' analysis, the largest contributor to the team's value is their market which brings in $634 million. This marks the Nationals largest increase in value since the 2014 to 2015 seasons, when the team jumped by 45 percent after finishing with the National League's best record. 

Passing the Nationals, is their NL East rival, the Philadelphia Phillies who skyrocketed with a 34 percent value increase to ninth place. Total value of the Phillies is $1.65 billion. Across the NL East, the New York Mets come in at sixth ($2 billion), the Atlanta Braves at 12th ($1.5 billion), and the Marlins at 25th ($940 million). 

MORE NATS: Washington makes score respectable but fall in the ninth to the Phillies

Up the beltway, the Baltimore Orioles have fallen to 19th in the league, dropping two spots from last season. The team was passed by the Pittsburgh Pirates (17th) and the team that knocked the Orioles out of the playoffs last season, the Toronto Blue Jays (16th). Overall, the Orioles increased in value by 15 percent from 2015 when the team vaulted up the list. 

However, Baltimore is one of five teams in MLB that is the red when it comes to operating value (-$2.1 million). Forbes notes that a large factor affecting the team's value is their dispute with MASN that is currently being overtaken by the Nationals. The only division rival that they top is the Tampa Bay Rays who are last in all of MLB with $825 million.

Top 5 Most Valuable Teams:

1. New York Yankees ($3.7 billion)

2. Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.75 billion)

3. Boston Red Sox ($2.7 billion)

4. Chicago Cubs ($2.675 billion)

5. San Francisco Giants ($2.65 billion)

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Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

When Max Scherzer was a teenager, he didn't know that one day he'd actually become a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He had no guarantee he'd make it to the majors, much less play in five consecutive MLB All-Star games. 

All he knew was that he had the option to go pro as a kid or go to college, and back then, the Nationals' ace needed a contingency plan in case baseball didn't work out. Fortunately for Scherzer, it did, but he doesn't regret going to college at the University of Missouri, telling Santana Moss on CSN's "Route 89" going to school was a no-brainer.

"It was actually a really easy decision," Scherzer told Moss. "When you get drafted out of high school, you're going to be going into the minor leagues, and that can take three to five or six years — multiple years — in the minor leagues, and you're forfeiting your right to further your education."

Scherzer was drafted in the 43rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003, but he opted to play for Mizzou for three years, which turned out to be a great decision. The Arizona Diamondbacks then drafted him in 2006 in the first round as the 11th overall pick. 

"A lot of times when you sign out of high school, you don't make it to the major leagues," Scherzer continued. "So I realize that your education — that's your safety net.

"You need to further your education in college, and if you do get drafted out of college, you're in a much better position to try to chase your dreams because if it doesn't work out, you still have one year left of school and that's much easier to obtain rather than try to go through four years when you're not coming out of high school."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound

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Nationals offense provides no support in Strasburg's return

Nationals offense provides no support in Strasburg's return

SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run off Stephen Strasburg in the first inning of the right-hander's first start in almost a month and the San Diego Padres beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 Saturday night.

Strasburg (10-4) retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Jose Pirela and then the homer to the switch-hitting Solarte, who drove a 96-mph fastball to right for his 13th.

Strasburg then settled down against his hometown team, retiring 10 straight batters and 13 of 14. He went six innings, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out eight and walking one.

He hadn't pitched since July 23, when he went only two innings at Arizona. He went on the disabled list with an elbow nerve impingement.

Strasburg pitched at West Hills High in suburban Santee and then at San Diego State for coach Tony Gwynn before going to the Nationals with the No. 1 pick overall in the 2009 draft.

While Strasburg pitched well, the Nationals had only three hits.

San Diego's Travis Wood (2-1) also settled down after laboring through the first inning, when he threw 35 pitches but didn't allow a run. He was unscathed until the fifth, when he allowed a one-out single to Jose Lobaton and a two-out double to Adrian Sanchez. The run was unearned because of Woods' throwing error on Strasburg's sacrifice bunt that advanced Lobaton.

Wood allowed just the unearned run on three hits in seven innings, with two strikeouts and two walks.

Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 11th save.