With the expected shutdown of ace Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals have become a popular team among trade rumors involving MLB pitchers. Most linked to the Nationals has been Brewers' pitcher Zack Greinke, but now it has been reported the team is aggressively pursuing another National League right-hander.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman says the Nationals are "trying hard" to get Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster and that they are among approximately four teams involved in talks.
nationals said trying hard on dempster. braves in, & tigers may be, too. 1 gm still thinks dodgers still favorite tho Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 20, 2012
Chicago has been dangling Dempster for quite some time as the 35-year-old is enjoying a career year. Dempster currently leads the majors with a 1.86 ERA and ranks sixth with a 1.02 WHIP.
Dempster may be a more viable option for the Nationals because of his age as the asking price should be nowhere close to what it would take to get Greinke or another top shelf starter like Cole Hamels. Dempster isn't a long-term solution by any means and though the Cubs are likely demanding prospects, it would be tough to justify sending any blue-chip young players for his services.
Dempster is in the last year of a four year contract and carries a salary of 14 million this season. He, like Greinke and Hamels, is scheduled to be a free agent after this year. It would likely be a rental situation for the Nats if they choose to trade for Dempster.
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.
MORE NATS: Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well in 2016
Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers.
Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.
Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS.
With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years.
Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan