Good Easter Monday, Washington Nationals Fans. Thank you for starting the day with us!
4/5/2021: Braves at Nationals 4:05 pm EST (Postponed)
4/6/2021: Braves at Nationals 4:05 pm EST (LHP Drew Smyly 0-0, -.– ERA vs. RHP Max Scherzer 0-0, -.– ERA)
4/7/2021: Braves at Nationals 4:05 pm EST (LHP Max Fried 0-0, 3.60 ERA vs. TBD)
Countdown Clock: 100 Days to the 2021 MLB All-Star Game (Location TBD)
Today’s Morning Briefing was written by Richard and Edited by Jonathan
Today’s Top Story: Opening Day Part Deux
According to a press release from Major League Baseball late Sunday Night, the Washington Nationals will open their season at home on Tuesday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. Without any new positive results in the latest round of testing, the available Nats players will hold a workout at Nationals Park on Monday to ramp up for their season debut on Tuesday.
Yesterday afternoon, General manager Mike Rizzo had a session with reporters where he said another player and Nationals staff member had been placed in mandatory quarantine after the D.C. Department of Health determined them to be “close contacts” to those who had previously tested positive for COVID. This brings the number of players/staff unavailable to 13: four players who tested positive in addition to the seven players and two staffers designated as close contacts.
According to the press release, the Nationals have received no new positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday. Additionally, Rizzo said that pitchers had been allowed to enter Nats Park individually with a catcher and a coach to complete their throwing regimen, but there had been no group activities for position players allowed over the weekend. Rizzo has made it clear that he believes that all the healthy players need to work out to prepare for their opener. “It makes a lot of sense for baseball, player protection-wise, to have these guys go through their paces in a full workout before we take the field and go from zero to 100 miles an hour without working out for a very long period of time,” Rizzo said during yesterday’s press conference.
The Braves are coming off a three-game sweep by the Philadelphia Phillies, so having a day off for the Braves might be something that they also welcome. According to Braves manager Brian Snitker, the Braves planned to travel to D.C. last night.
According to MLB.com, Drew Smyly will make his first start for the Braves on Tuesday, while Max Scherzer will take the ball in what could be his last Opening Day start for the Nats at 4:05 pm ET. Which players will be taking the field behind Scherzer and which will be in quarantine?
Over the Weekend; The Nationals are in Agreement with Catcher Jonathan Lucroy
According to sources, the Washington Nationals were not only dealing with the COVID-19 situation, but they also did some minor housekeeping by agreeing to sign veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy. According to FanSided’s Robert Murray reports (Twitter links), the Washington Nationals agreed to sign catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a minor league contract. Since Lucroy opted out of his previous minor-league deal with the Chicago White Sox because he wasn’t going to be on the Opening Day roster, it seems fair to speculate that he agreed to a deal with the Nats because he saw an opportunity to start the season in the Majors. If that’s the case, it would mean that Yan Gomes and/or Alex Avila will likely start the season on the MLB’s Covid-19 List.
A two-time All-Star in his time with the Brewers, Lucroy’s production has fallen off in recent years, as he has hit only .237/.297/.338 over 782 plate appearances with four different organizations since the start of the 2018 season. If Lucroy sees any time on Washington’s active roster, the Nats will become his eighth different franchise, and 2021 will be Lucroy’s 12th Major League season.
Lindor’s Extension and Its Impact on the Nationals
The New York Mets finally got it done. They got their guy locked in just hours before Opening Day. The Mets and Francisco Lindor agreed to a 10-year extension that will pay him $341 Million. He will be a Met until he is 37-years-old and will be getting paid by them until 2041.
You read that right! Steve Cohen, the richest owner in baseball, handed out a large deferral, and that’s hardly shocking. Contrary to popular belief, the concept of deferred payments is not a negotiating tool reserved strictly for the Lerner Family and the Washington Nationals.
Hope Springs Eternal: Opening Day 2021
On Thursday, I wrote an article about how I am feeling about Opening Day, and I think it is even more appropriate to share again. From the article: “As I reflect on what this country has been through over the past year, the one thing that has remained constant is the thought of baseball. There is a quote in Field of Dreams that sticks out to me today: The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.”
Podcast Alert: In the Clubhouse with the Nats Report
While we all wait for the latest news coming out of South Capitol Street, please take a listen to my interview with Washington Nationals Pitching Prospect Jackson Rutledge. I had so much fun talking with the Nationals prospect, and I think you will also enjoy it!
League News: ’21 All-Star Game, Draft moved from Atlanta
In response to Georgia’s Controversial Voting Laws, Major League Baseball has decided to move the 2021 All-Star Game and Amateur Draft out of Atlanta. Major League Baseball announced this move on Friday afternoon in a press release. From the release: “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
Must Reads: Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball Headlines
- It’s 2021 and we still can’t shake 2020 from the reality! via Talk Nats
- Nationals have another game postponed but are cleared to open season Tuesday via The Washington Post
- Nationals to begin 2021 season on Tuesday vs. Braves via NBC Sports Washington
- Stain to strength: How the Washington Nationals and Johnny DiPuglia turned around the franchise’s international operation via Federal Baseball
- Nationals get a clean batch of tests but remain sidelined in Washington via the Washington Post
- Chicago White Sox DH Yermin Mercedes starts season 8-for-8 to set MLB mark via ESPN
- Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Lawvia The New York Times
- Why MLB’s decision to move its All-Star Game was surprising via CNN
- Opinion: Good luck with your fans, Major League Baseball via the Washington Post
- Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani’s two-way showing was a success and there needs to be more of it via ESPN
- Atlanta Braves cover All-Star Game patch on team jerseys after MLB’s decision to move game via CNN