AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

UPDATE: Nationals sign Daniel Murphy to three-year, $37.5M contract


UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the deal is worth $37.5 million.

6:13 p.m. ET: Significant news here on this Christmas Eve, as Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports that the Nationals and free agent Daniel Murphy have agreed to a three-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is pending a physical.

The Nationals recently came close to a trade with the Reds for Brandon Phillips, but the second baseman had 10-and-5 rights and reportedly wouldn’t sign off on a deal. The club moved on to Murphy soon after the deal fell through.

With Murphy, the Nationals will get a much-needed left-handed bat in their lineup. It’s unrealistic to think his historic postseason power surge will continue, but Murphy is a solid .288/.331/.424 hitter in the majors and slugged a career-high 14 homers this past season. Still, it was a foregone conclusion that the Mets were going to move forward without him this offseason. The team’s recent acquisition of Neil Walker from the Pirates made it all but official. The Nationals intend to move Anthony Rendon back to his natural position at third base next season, so Murphy will presumably play second base, even though he’s below-average defensively at the position.

Murphy turned down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Mets, so the Nationals will surrender their 2016 first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in order to sign him. Now that they’ve gone this far, it will be interesting to see if the club pursues another qualifying offer free agent such as outfielder Dexter Fowler or left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. The Nationals already secured a supplemental draft pick when Jordan Zimmermann signed with the Tigers and will get another once Ian Desmond signs with a team.

The Mets and Nationals were already expected to battle it out for first-place in the National League East next season, so this move adds an interesting wrinkle to the mix.

Cole Hamels done for year after just 1 start for Braves

Cole Hamels triceps injury
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ATLANTA — After making just one start for the Atlanta Braves, Cole Hamels is done for the season.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

The Braves placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 18,, but that was a mere formality. General manager Alex Anthopoulos already contacted Major League Baseball about replacing Hamels in the team’s postseason player pool.

“Cole knows himself and his body,” Anthopoulos said. “You trust the player at that point when he says he can’t go.”

The Braves began Monday with a three-game lead in the NL East .and primed for their third straight division title.

Even with that success, Atlanta has struggled throughout the shortened 60-game series to put together a consistent rotation beyond Cy Young contender Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson.

Expected ace Mike Soroka went down with a season-ending injury, former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was demoted after just one start, and Sean Newcomb also was sent to the alternate training site after getting hammered in his four starts.

The Braves have used 12 starters this season.

Anthopoulos had hoped to land another top starter at the trade deadline but the only deal he was able to make was acquiring journeyman Tommy Milone from the Orioles. He’s on the injured list after getting hammered in three starts for the Braves, giving up 22 hits and 16 runs in just 9 2/3 innings.

“There’s no doubt that our starting pitching has not performed to the level we wanted it to or expected it to,” Anthopoulos said. “I know that each year you never have all parts of your club firing. That’s why depth is so important.”

Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year contract last December, reported for spring training with a sore shoulder stemming from an offseason workout.

When camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamels was able to take a more cautious approach to his rehabilitation. But a triceps issue sidelined again before the delayed start of the season in July.

The Braves hoped Hamels would return in time to provide a boost for the playoffs. He also was scheduled to start the final game of the regular season Sunday, putting him in position to join the postseason rotation behind Fried and Anderson.

Now, Hamels is done for the year, his Braves’ career possibly ending after he made that one appearance last week in Baltimore. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in a loss to the Orioles.

Hamels reported no problems immediately after his start, but he didn’t feel right after a bullpen session a couple of days ago.

“You’re not going to try to talk the player into it,” Anthopoulos said. “When he says he isn’t right, that’s all we need to hear.”

Atlanta recalled right-hander Bryse Wilson to replace Hamels on the 28-man roster. The Braves did not immediately name a starter for Tuesday’s game.

With Hamels out, the Braves will apparently go with Fried (7-0, 1.96), Anderson (3-1, 2.36) and Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.74) as their top three postseason starters.

Hamels is a four-time All-Star with a career record of 163-122. He starred on Philadelphia’s World Series-winning team in 2008 and also pitched for Texas and the Chicago Cubs.

Last season, Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs.