Nationals expected to make offer to Javier Vazquez

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The Nationals have been linked to nearly every free agent starting pitcher this offseason.  They’re tuned into the Cliff Lee negotiations, they’ve expressed interest in Jorge De La Rosa.  And now it appears they have a beat on available right-hander Javier Vazquez.

According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, the Nats are expected to make a contract offer to Vazquez by next week.

The 34-year-old righty told reporters in late October that he is open to pitching in the nation’s capital because it’s not too far from his Puerto Rico home, and he’s not exactly going to be sifting through a pile offers after the 5.32 ERA and 1.40 WHIP that he posted over 31 appearances this year for the Yankees.  Vazquez will be lucky to land a two-year deal.  And he’ll be extremely lucky if that deal approaches $15 million.

The market is thin on quality starting pitching this winter, but Vazquez showed a complete lack of effectiveness in New York and isn’t getting any younger.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.