Nationals “have expressed interest in Derrek Lee”

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Washington has been linked to just about every veteran first baseman on the market this offseason, so not surprisingly Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals “have expressed interest in Derrek Lee.”

Lee is 35 years old and coming off his worst season since 1998, hitting .260/.347/.428 with 19 homers in 148 games for the Cubs and Braves, but he played nearly the entire time with a thumb injury that eventually required surgery and had posted an OPS above .800 for 10 straight seasons.

Ladson adds that the Nationals “are still in the mix for Adam LaRoche” and they’ve been linked to him throughout the offseason, so it’s unclear which first baseman is atop their wish list.

Josh Willingham is already on the roster and the Nationals could seemingly just plug him in at first base, but general manager Mike Rizzo has made it very clear he doesn’t view that as a viable option and Willingham is likely to be traded eventually.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”