We can finally refer to the 2016 season as “last year” as we have turned the calendar to 2017. Spring Training is a calendar month away in February, and Mike Rizzo will use this remaining time to finalize his roster.
There are literally dozens of free agents that remain unsigned, and while few fit what the Nationals need, sometimes the price is right which is why Mike Rizzo could pursue other players with prices falling while staying away from Mark Trumbo and Jose Bautista who are the only remaining players with Qualified Offers tied to them.
Rizzo traded Drew Storen for Ben Revere on January 8th of last year, and Rizzo has used the month of January in past years to plug open roster spots as the 40-man roster is currently at 37 players. Greg Holland, who grew up not too far away in Marion, North Carolina, remains unsigned, and we have been told by sources that he has been on Mike Rizzo’s short list.
Holland is represented by Scott Boras, and the Nats have made January signings with Boras before like Rafael Soriano on January 17, 2013, Max Scherzer on January 21, 2015, and Stephen Drew on January 6, 2016.
Last year in January, the list had some very big names left on it like Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis and Justin Upton. In addition were pitchers, Wei-Yin Chen, Ian Kennedy, and Doug Fister were the top three starters remaining in January. Other players included outfielders like Denard Span, Gerardo Parra, and Howie Kendrick.
We expect Brian Dozier to be traded in this next week, and there is sure to be some other trades completed as there are some teams with excess outfielders and infielders.
Some pitchers like Neftali Feliz, Travis Wood, Joe Blanton, Boone Logan and Sergio Romo are all unsigned along with Greg Holland. Wood and Blanton have filled multiple roles in their careers while Feliz, Romo and Holland have all been relievers in the back of the bullpen.
For bench and back-up starter roles, Brandon Moss, Stephen Drew and Luis Valbuena are all unsigned, and each could fit a need for the Nationals.
UPDATED: Here is an excerpt from MLBTR that they published mid-morning that goes well with our article, “…As things stand entering 2017, players like Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, Jason Hammel, Matt Wieters, Michael Saunders, Mike Napoli, Greg Holland, Travis Wood, and Neftali Feliz all remain available despite entering the winter listed among the top 25 players on MLBTR’s annual ranking of the top 50 free agents. Other unsigned players include Brandon Moss, Luis Valbuena, Nick Hundley, Chase Utley, Rajai Davis, Angel Pagan, Adam Lind, Pedro Alvarez, Kurt Suzuki, and Colby Rasmus, along with a variety of relievers (e.g., Joe Blanton, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Fernando Salas, Boone Logan, Jerry Blevins, Drew Storen).”
Who could the Nationals sign?