Tick tick. Three weeks plus a day to the official start of Spring Training

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

The upper right-hand corner of the photo above says “TICK” in the background and it feels like time is ticking away. We are exactly three weeks and one day away from the start of Spring Training, and we hope Jayson Werth is talking to Mike Rizzo on what the team needs like the photo above.

MLB Trade Rumors has compiled a list of their top 10 remaining free agents with names like Jason Hammel who was their 15th rated free agent, and after Hammel is Matt Wieters, Mike Napoli, Greg Holland, Travis Wood, Brandon Moss, Joe Blanton, Sergio Romo, Fernando Salas, and Boone Logan who was rated as their 39th top free agent. Of course there are dozens of other players available including names like Stephen Drew, Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez, and Mark Reynolds who are all impact bats still on the market, but they were not within the MLBTR top 10 list.

What is agent Scott Boras waiting for? Has any of his clients signed free agent deals yet? We see names like Greg Holland, Matt Wieters, Stephen Drew and Pedro Alvarez as players unsigned and available.

Scott Boras is not the only agent with players available. The expectations are that all of these players will be signed before the season begins. The larger question is the landing spots, and for fans of the Washington Nationals, who does Mike Rizzo sign?

There were rumors that broke last week that the Nationals were tapped out on their payroll which is near $150 million. The Nationals do not comment on payroll, but during the Winter Meetings, Mike Rizzo did comment on the dollars and his roster construction.

“The Lerner family has never curtailed us from doing a deal that improves the ballclub,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said at the Winter Meetings. “And I think that’s going to continue.”

To date during this off-season, the Nationals have only signed one player to a Major League contract as a free agent and that was Chris Heisey who signed a one-year $1.4 million deal. To Mike Rizzo’s credit, he had previously extended Stephen Strasburg to a multi-year deal, and traded for Adam Eaton and Derek Norris.

In addition, there have been a total of seven Minor League free agents signed with Spring Training invites and those players are:

  1. Jacob Turner
  2. Mike Broadway
  3. Emmanuel Burriss
  4. Tim Collins
  5. Dustin Antolin
  6. Brandon Snyder
  7. Braulio Lara

Our SaoMagnifico points out that Derek Eitel, and Corban Joseph were also signed to Minor League deals are were also extended Spring Training invites.

There should be other players like Neal Cotts added to that list when they become official on Minor League deals. The Nationals are currently at 37 players on their 40-man roster which also gives Mike Rizzo some flexibility to pick up some waived players or even make a trade in addition to free agents signed to Major League deals.

Mike Rizzo is certainly working hard and was busy inking all of his arbitration eligible players to contracts and also tried in earnest to sign closer Kenley Jansen.

Don’t fret as Mike Rizzo did sign Matt Belisle last year on February 17th showing that free agents signings can happen at any time as well as trades.

Tick, tick, as we all are in wait and see mode.



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