Nolan Ryan Jersey

WASHINGTON (AP) — Not only did the 2018 Washington Nationals
fail to get over the hump — despite those infamous camels — they didn’t even
make the postseason ,
let alone finally win a playoff series for the first time.“It’s not something
you want to go through,” Bryce Harper said. “You have all the hopes and
aspirations to be one of the best teams in baseball in spring training. We did
what we could to possibly get there, but we didn’t do enough.”Now the big
question looming over the earlier-than-expected offseason becomes whether Harper
will leave as a free agent.“Nobody knows if I’m going to be back or nobody knows
if I am going to be in a different uniform,” the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and
2015 NL MVP said. “If something happens, I am not afraid of change.”Plenty of
roster shuffling is expected for a club that finished 82-80 for second place in
the NL East under rookie manager Dave Martinez after winning two consecutive
division titles with the discarded Dusty Baker.Nothing will matter quite as much
as what happens with Harper, who is not only one of the on-field leaders of the
Nationals, he is one of the most prominent players in the entire sport.That’s
why the slugging outfielder, who posted team highs of 34 homers, 100 RBIs, 103
runs (tied) and 130 walks, should get a contract worth hundreds of millions of
dollars, perhaps even surpassing the record for the largest deal in baseball
history.“With these type of deals you’re talking about, you’re not betting on
the baseball player, you’re betting on the person,” general manager Mike Rizzo
said. “And he’s a person we’d like to have with us.”A resolution to that,
however it goes, would help Rizzo determine what resources he has to use toward
all of the other issues that need addressing.“I consider this year an
anomaly Nolan Ryan
,” Rizzo said.A look at what else to know about the
Nationals as thoughts turn to 2019:INJURIES TO BLAME?Both Rizzo and Martinez —
along with some of their players — pointed to injuries as a contributing factor
in the disappointing season. 1B Ryan Zimmerman, 2B Daniel Murphy, OF Adam Eaton
and C Matt Wieters each played in fewer than 100 games. Key backup Howie
Kendrick played in only 40. RHP Stephen Strasburg missed about a third of the
season. 3B Anthony Rendon was sideline for a few weeks early on. Closer Sean
Doolittle and other members of the bullpen sat out stretches, too. “We were
always missing pieces,” Martinez said. “As we (cleared) one hurdle, something
happened.”MARTINEZ’S FUTUREThere have been questions about whether Martinez will
keep his job. Rizzo has been supportive, although the GM seemed to be in Baker’s
corner, too. “We haven’t considered anything else. We think he’s got a firm
grasp on the clubhouse. He’s doing a good job in the dugout,” Rizzo said. “I
think he’s getting better each and every day, each and every game.” As for what
Martinez thinks he might do differently next season? “We’re going to spend a lot
more time on just the fundamentals of baseball and doing the little things,” he
said. “Because little things, to me, can become really big things.”SCHERZER AND
STRASBURG Max Scherzer’s 300 strikeouts, 2.53 ERA, 220 2/3 innings and various
other stats showed once again how valuable the righty is. Beyond him and
Strasburg, though, there’s not much there in the rotation. Washington could add
at least two ,
maybe three, starters.SOTO AND ROBLESThe most promising news of 2018 was the
discovery of 19-year-old outfielder Juan Soto, the NL Rookie of the Month in
June, July and September who finished with a .292 average, 22 homers, 70 RBIs
and 79 walks. Only two other teenagers (Harper was one) ever hit 20 HRs in a
season. Another young outfielder, 21-year-old Victor Robles, also appears to be
a keeper.SO MANY NEEDSThe Nationals must find starters at second base and
catcher. They need bullpen help. They need new bench pieces. LOS ANGELES (AP) —
Mookie Betts figures he should always use his baseball success to give back to
the world.Even in the middle of the World Series.The Boston Red Sox slugger was
surprised to find himself in the spotlight this week for a late-night good deed.
A few hours after the Red Sox won Game 2 on Wednesday night , Betts and his
cousin were spotted providing hot meals to the homeless outside the Boston
Public Library, braving temperatures in the 30s to feed dozens of people.Former
Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, now a radio host on WEEI, was tipped off about
Betts’ distribution of several trays of hot food. Merloni publicized the good
deed on social media , leading to widespread acclaim for the probable AL
MVP.“It’s pretty cool,” Betts said in the Dodger Stadium visitors’ dugout before
Game 3 on Friday. “I’ve been blessed with everything I have, and I might as well
share it.”Betts, who batted .346 with 32 homers and 80 RBIs during the regular
season, never intended for anyone to find out about his good work in the
community. He and his cousin went out in hoodies with no fanfare Cole Hamels
, providing steak tips and chicken to anyone trying to make
it through Massachusetts’ brutal cold.Betts simply feels an obligation to do
what he can, whenever he can, for the less fortunate.“It’s not the first time
I’ve done it,” Betts said. “It wasn’t supposed to get (the attention) it
got.”Betts is taking care of his work on the field as well after a slow start to
the postseason at the plate. The 26-year-old outfielder went 4 for 8 in the
first two games of his first World Series, boosting his postseason average to
.255.Betts also fed untold thousands in a decidedly different way Tuesday: By
stealing a base in the World Series opener , Betts triggered Taco Bell’s famed
“Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion, providing everybody in the country with
one free taco available Nov. 1.Betts’ charitable nature even caught the
attention of Hank Aaron. The Hall of Famer was in Los Angeles to present the
Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the player selected as the best hitter in
each league — to Boston’s J.D. Martinez and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich.“No
question about it, yes, he’s a role model,” Aaron said of Betts. “When you think
about who he is, where he is, he certainly is a role model.”Whether it’s good
food or good fortune, Betts said he has one rule.“Don’t waste it,” Betts said.
“That’s what my dad told me: don’t waste it.”
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