Zach Duke
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Report: Reds to sign Zach Duke

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The Reds are closing in on a deal with lefty reliever Zach Duke, per Jon Heyman of Fancred. Rumors of the deal first sprouted on Thursday evening, but as of Friday, the team has yet to reveal any contract terms or make a formal announcement.

Duke, 35, split his 2018 campaign between the Twins and Mariners following a midseason trade to Seattle for right-hander Chase De Jong and corner infielder Ryan Costello. He pitched to a combined 4.15 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 through 52 innings of relief. While his results weren’t anything to write home about, they represented an important step forward for the veteran left-hander in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery during the 2016 offseason and UCL and forearm surgery in the middle of the Cardinals’ 2017 run.

In Cincinnati, Duke will provide additional depth in a bullpen that already includes right-handers Michael Lorenzen, Jared Hughes, and David Hernandez, lefties Wandy Peralta, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, and Brandon Finnegan, and closer Raisel Iglesias. The Reds may still seek further reinforcements as the 2019 season draws nearer, but already missed out on one of their targets when free agent reliever Shawn Kelley inked a deal with the Rangers earlier this week.

Nationals virtually unveil 2019 World Series rings

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On Sunday evening, the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals unveiled their championship rings online. The Nats took down the Astros in seven hard-fought games last October to win their first Fall Classic in franchise history, with starter Stephen Strasburg winning MVP honors.

As the video highlights about the ring, the Nationals honored “Baby Shark,” a children’s song that became part of the team’s identity last year thanks to reserve outfielder Gerardo Parra. The ring also has all kinds of mementos referencing the Nationals’ triumphs throughout the years, including a reference to 2006, when the Lerner family bought the franchise.

It is a shame that, due to the global pandemic, the Nationals haven’t been able to properly get their rings like past championship winners. But they will, in due time. For now, the players can look forward to receiving their rings in the mail.