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⚾️⚾️ The Morning Briefing: Nats extend Ildemaro Vargas
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, September 28.
Good Morning Washington Nationals Fan,
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, September 28, 2023. I am Haden Raymer, let’s dive into this series preview.
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Leading today’s Morning Briefing: Nationals extend utilityman Ildemaro Vargas
The Nationals have come to a one-year agreement with utility man Ildemaro Vargas. Vargas is in the midst of one of the better seasons of his career, setting a career-high in plate appearances while boasting one of his highest OPS. Vargas remains arbitration-eligible through the 2025 season. A huge clubhouse presence for the Nationals gets guaranteed money next season, but not a guaranteed spot on the Opening Day roster.
Why it matters: Despite this being one of Vargas’s best seasons, he has still essentially been a replacement-level player. That, combined with the fact that he isn’t slated to be a free agent until after the 2025 season, and the move just seems odd. Sure, it guarantees Vargas money and a roster spot through the first round of arbitration, but the same move could have happened prior to the arbitration deadline in a couple of weeks. In my eyes, Jake Alu and Vargas will be battling for the final roster spot next spring training, and the Nationals front office seems to think it’s a close race.
The Nationals lost to the Orioles in game two
In the 5-1 loss, the Nationals were never ahead, and their one-run deficit lasted half of an inning. Patrick Corbin threw 4 and 2/3 innings, striking out two while allowing four runs. The Nationals scored one in the fifth thanks to a Dominic Smith double and a Jake Alu single to drive him in and threatened in the sixth by putting two runners in scoring position, but outside of that, the offense fell flat. CJ Abrams stole his 44th base this season. They got swept in their penultimate series.
Corbin’s season ends with a 5.20 ERA over 180 innings. You can see his and Josiah Gray’s final numbers in our new photo gallery here.
The Nats Report Player of the Game is Keibert Ruiz, who went 2-4 and was the only player to get on base twice for the Nationals.
The Nationals have a day off but are now heading to Atlanta with one goal in mind, get win number 70.
Don’t forget to vote in our poll
We put up a poll asking if you think Josiah Gray should be the 2024 Opening Day starter. Go ahead and vote and let us know what you think here.
Down on the Farm Review
The minor league season is over, so it’s now time to examine some minor league performances. As a whole, it was a largely disappointing season in the minors. Only 24 position players with at least 150 plate appearances put up above-average numbers for their level, and when you consider only players in MLB’s top 30, that number falls to 10. We’ve seen the stock of key players like Elijah Green, Robert Hassell II, and Jeremy De La Rosa all tumble. Even some of the players in that group of 10 are ending their seasons with big question marks, like Roismar Quintana and Cristhian Vaquero.
On the pitching side, the biggest positive development, Jake Bennett had his season end early because of Tommy John. But Jarlin Susana and Andry Lara both took steps back this season. The biggest shocks were D.J. Herz, who dominated after coming over to the organization in the Jeimer Candelario trade, and reliever Marlon Perez, who posted the fourth-best strikeout minus walk percentage in the South Atlantic League.
Featured Stories of the Day
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