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Should the Nats look at Wilson?

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Should the Nats look at Wilson?

The Washington Nationals are moving through the offseason quietly, but they still have a few needs to address. One is the replacement for lefty reliever Sean Burnett if he signs elsewhere, so the Nats are looking for at least one member of their bullpen.

But what if the Nationals choose to be more aggressive and look for insurance at closer? If that is the Nats’ intention, the market for closers and relief pitchers may be starting to dry up. Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson have already found deals and even Jeremy Affeldt, who looked like a good substitute for Burnett, was signed.

Still remaining among this year’s best free agents are Mike Adams and Joakim Soria, plus Burnett if the Nats are still interested. But one more possibility has presented itself in recent days. What about Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants?

Wilson is expected to be non-tendered by the Giants later this week after making $8.5 million in 2012. The black-bearded closer pitched in just two games this past season after undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. He is 30 years old with two elbow scars, but the potential gain could be worth a one-year deal.

Before 2012, Wilson had averaged 41 saves between 2008 and 2011. He was a huge part of the 2010 World Series team with a career-high 48 regular season saves and six in the postseason. Wilson, in fact, has never allowed an earned run in the playoffs across ten appearances. 

For Wilson, it’s all about the elbow as the experience and composure would not be a problem. Entering free agency coming off his second Tommy John surgery, the asking price can’t be very high. 

The Nationals signed Brad Lidge in January to fill a similar role last season, ‘closer B’ if you will. He was brought in for one year, $1 million plus incentives.

Lidge was 35 and coming off of a season of just 25 games because of shoulder problems. The situations are different in some ways, but also similar in that both were former World Series heroes looking to move on to new chapters of their careers. If the price is right, should the Nationals take a look?

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Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

When it comes to sports, we sometimes forget that the athletes we look up to are just normal people.  Normal people who have a lot to prove to millions of people on a weekly basis.  Former Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel has discussed one his human moments in an interview with 590 The Fan in St. Louis.

Ankiel admitted to drinking vodka during his plight as a pitcher. He referenced his first two starts of the 2001 season, in particular against the his opener Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to giving in to alcohol to soothe him. In the previous postseason, he became the first pitcher since 1980 to throw five wild pitches in a single inning. 

It may have worked for a couple of games but Ankiel eventually realized it was only making matters worse.

Ankiel began playing in the MLB at the age of 19 and has had a fluctuating career through six teams.  All the while, he has keep a “never give up” mentality.

Why the sudden need to vent? The St. Louis baseball pitcher is getting up close and personal with his upcoming book, “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed my Life” which is co-written with sports writer, Tim Brown will be released on April 18.  

His two seasons with the Nationals, resulted in 127 hits and 52 RBIs as an outfielder. 

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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. 

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