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Mitch Haniger hits walk-off homer to complete sweep of Angels

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The Mariners came from behind to defeat the Angels 8-6 on Wednesday, completing a three-game series sweep at home against their division rival. In doing so, the Mariners maintained a slight hold on first place in the AL West ahead of the Astros, who entered the day a half-game behind.

Trailing 6-4 after the top of the seventh inning, the Mariners began clawing back. Jean Segura knocked in a run with a double in the bottom of the seventh. Ryon Healy hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. Mitch Haniger ended it, breaking a 6-6 tie with a two-run home run to left field off of Oliver Drake.

Haniger homered twice in Tuesday’s win and also made a terrific throw from the left field corner to throw out Luis Valbuena, so he’s been pulling his weight and then some lately. On the season, Haniger is hitting .270/.352/.524 with 16 home runs, 52 RBI, and 35 runs scored in 284 plate appearances.

The Nationals have inquired about Kris Bryant

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The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.

Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.

Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.

For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.

Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.

But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.