Nationals showing “heavy interest” in Javier Vazquez

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The Nationals have a loaded starting rotation in Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Dan Haren and Ross Detwiler.

But they’re thinking about adding some depth.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Washington front office is beginning to show “heavy interest” in free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez, who is said to be considering a return to the major leagues after sitting out for the entire 2012 season.

Nightengale says the scouts who have watched Vazquez pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League are “raving” about him. The 36-year-old is reportedly hitting 95 mph with his fastball with some regularity.

Vazquez posted a strong 3.69 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 162/50 K/BB ratio across 192 2/3 innings (32 starts) in 2011 for the Marlins. He’s expected to wait until after the World Baseball Classic to sign with a team.

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.