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Winter Meetings Rumors: N.L. East

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Winter Meetings Rumors: N.L. East

Washington Nationals

Once again the Nationals are the subject of tons of rumors in the offseason and now they are focused on their need for another starting pitcher. Two players in particular have been linked to the Nats. A trade for James Shields of the Rays was discussed according to Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman, but the teams aren’t close to a deal at the moment. The Rays wanted both Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa, two starters on the team’s 2012 team that won 98 games. Shields went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA through 227 2/3 innings in 2012. 

The Nats have also been linked to free agent right-hander Mike Pelfrey who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Pelfrey spent the last seven seasons with the New York Mets and holds a 4.36 ERA in his career.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies are still believed to be looking for their starting center fielder and could be seeking a cheaper alternative to Michael Bourn. Angel Pagan may be their primary target as the 31-year-old isn’t seeking a deal as long or as lucrative. Pagan was a member of the World Series champion Giants and they are believed to be competing with Philadelphia for his services. [UPDATE: The Giants have re-signed Pagan to a four-year, $40 million deal]

Atlanta Braves

The Braves have already been active in this year’s offseason in acquiring B.J. Upton and Jordan Walden. It appears they are still shopping, but could be waiting for the market to play out. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the team may still be interested in Shane Victorino and Angel Pagan, but not at their current prices. They also discussed a trade for Dexter Fowler of the Rockies and that pitcher Mike Minor was requested in return. Sounds like that was more than Atlanta wants to give up.

New York Mets

Believe it or not, the Mets have continued talks with teams about trading 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. It sounds like the 38-year-old is unlikely to reach a contract extension with New York and the team wants to see what they can get with his value as high as it will ever be. These types of scenarios are rare, so it will be interesting to see what the Mets can get for the veteran knuckleballer.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins aren’t going to throw around money like they did last year, but Miami is interested in acquiring some veterans on the cheap for 2013. Juan C. Rodriguez of The South Florida Sun Sentinel has reported the team’s interest in free agent outfielder Mark DeRosa. DeRosa, 37, was a bench player for the Nationals in 2012.

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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

MORE NATS: Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well in 2016

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Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

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