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Three Nats are finalists for BBWAA awards

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Three Nats are finalists for BBWAA awards

Davey Johnson, Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez have all been named finalists for major awards that will be handed out next week by the Baseball Writers Association.

Harper is a finalist for NL Rookie of the Year, which will be announced Monday evening. Johnson is up for NL Manager of the Year, to be revealed Tuesday evening. And Gio Gonzalez was among the top three finishers in voting for the NL Cy Young Award, the winner set to be named next Wednesday evening.

The only BBWAA award without a finalist from the Nationals will be NL MVP, though both Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond are expected to have received top 10 votes by the writers.

Of the three Nationals who were named finalists, Johnson appears the likeliest award winner. The 69-year-old manager guided a franchise that had never posted a winning season since it arrived in Washington in 2005 to an MLB-best 98 wins and the NL East title before it lost the NLDS to the Cardinals in five games.

Johnson's toughest competition will come from Dusty Baker, who led the Reds to a 97-65 record. Bruce Bochy, whose Giants went on to win the World Series, is the third finalist among NL managers.

(Voting for all BBWAA awards are submitted before the start of the playoffs, so only regular-season performance is taken into consideration.)

Harper appears to have a good chance of becoming the first Washington player to win Rookie of the Year honors since Senators outfielders Albie Pearson and Bob Allison captured back-to-back awards in 1958 and 1959.

Harper led all NL rookies with 98 runs and 57 extra-base hits, finished second with 22 homers and 18 stolen bases and third with a .477 slugging percentage and .817 OPS. The other rookie finalists in the NL: Reds third baseman Todd Frazier and Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley.

Gonzalez faces a tougher challenge to capture NL Cy Young Award honors, with Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey the odds-on favorite to win. Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw also finished among the top three.

The five finalists for NL MVP: Giants catcher Buster Posey, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, Padres third baseman Chase Headley and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. The winner of that award will be revealed on Nov. 15.

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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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