Have the off-season priorities changed for the #Nats?

While many are thinking of their Thanksgiving plans, Dusty Baker and Mike Rizzo and staff still have work to do. Mike Rizzo re-signed Chris Heisey as a key bench player, and have added some non-roster players like Brandon Snyder over the weekend. Nothing earth shattering yet, and Mike Rizzo usually does his big moves during the Winter Meetings and up until mid-January. Patience is a virtue in Mike Rizzo’s world even though fans want something big to cheer about now.

We are now just two weeks from the start of the Winter Meetings which will be held at the Gaylord Resort in National Harbor, Maryland overlooking the Potomac River. In the past week, we are hearing some juicy rumors linking the Washington Nationals to some of the top players like Chris Sale, Miguel Cabrera, and Andrew McCutchen.

Has the off-season priorities changed for the Washington Nationals? Are they really serious about acquiring ace starting pitchers and 1st baseman?

winter meetings dusty baker shot_2015-12-08-21-58-57_1

Are these still the same priorities for this off-season?

  1. Shutdown closer
  2. Add one key position player to CF or shortstop
  3. Lefty bullpen depth
  4. Starter depth
  5. Catcher depth
  6. Plan B for 1st base

Last year heading into the off-season, the Nats had greater needs:

  1. Hire a manager/coaching staff
  2. 2nd baseman (preferably left-handed batter)
  3. Centerfielder/lead-off batter
  4. Bench bat lefty
  5. 4th outfielder
  6. Solve Papelbon/closer situation

Last year, Washington Nationals’ general Manager Mike Rizzo checked off each box even though the Jonathan Papelbon situation wasn’t resolved until July 30th of this year when Mark Melancon was acquired.

There clearly were some other 2016 weaknesses like 1st base and shortstop production that will be question marks for the 2017 roster, and the belief is that Ryan Zimmerman will be the starter for 1st base which will not make that a high priority; however, a Plan B for 1st base is prudent as the Nats could look at adding a player like lefty Brandon Moss who plays both outfield and 1st base.

Could Mike Rizzo make upgrades by re-signing Mark Melancon and Wilson Ramos? This is what Mike Rizzo said on both Ramos and Melancon during his appearance in October on 106.7 The Fan radio:

“We have interest in both of those players,” Mike Rizzo said on the Sports Junkies show. “There’s a deal out there for each and every one of these guys. They differ by the circumstances and the situations, but we’d love to have Willy back, we’d love to have Mark back. They were key components to what we did last year and we’re going to make a run at both of them.

“There’s a deal to be had out there, it’s just that two parties have to meet on it and we’re certainly going to discuss it with both guys and we’d like to have both guys back. Percentage? I don’t know. It depends on what their expectations are, what they’re looking for, how much can we fit into the payroll and that type of thing, but suffice it to say, we like both guys and we’d love to have them both on the team. We’re a better team with either or both of those guys on it.”

So far there has been no movement on either player. We know that there are several teams interested in Mark Melancon and Wilson Ramos. We will see where all this goes as we are in ‘wait and see’ mode.


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