Nationals in search of improvements in rotation, alignment

Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo met with the media today at the Winter Meetings. As part of that session, he mentioned starting pitching and “other offensive player” as the club’s needs, according to Mark Zuckerman of The bat would ideally be left-handed, reports ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.

The Nats were the worst team in baseball in 2022, after leaning heavily into rebuilding mode in recent years. superstars like Trea Turner, Max Scherzer Y juan soto all were traded to other teams in exchange for prospects, leaving the club with a roster largely made up of unproven youngsters and veteran placeholders. As such, there are plenty of areas on the roster where they could easily find improvements this winter.

Rotation is certainly one of those areas, as they have a lot of uncertainty there. Stephen Strasbourg he’s thrown a little over 30 innings over the past three seasons combined and he’s still not sure what he can do going forward. patrick corbin He still has two seasons left on his contract, but has seen his ERA rise four straight years, finishing at 6.31 in 2022. Other than those two, the other rotation options have limited experience and have health or performance concerns. josiah gray he has a 5.17 ERA in 219 1/3 career innings. cade cavalli he made one MLB start before shoulder inflammation ended his 2022. mackenzie gore He used to be the best pitching prospect in the sport, but he lost his grip in 2020 and 2021. He got back on track in 2022, but then missed the second half of the season with elbow inflammation.

Given all those question marks, a solid veterans presence would make sense. This theoretical pitcher could provide a stabilizing presence for the club while also becoming a trading chip, being traded at the deadline for prospects. The Nats aren’t likely to surpass the market for highly sought after pitchers like Carlos Rodon either jameson taillonbut maybe they could look for other options like ross stripping, miguel wacha, corey kluber, Drew Rucinski either drew smyly.

As for the bat the club is looking to add, the most logical place would be in the outfield, given that they have so many infield options. youths C. J. Abrams Y luis garcia they will likely get playing time in the middle of the frame to see if they can establish themselves as center pieces. As for corners, the club will probably give first base joey meneses a chance to see if his breakout as a rookie at the age of 30 was for real. faded perspective carter kieboom he could get most of the playing time at third if he seems healthy and on track in the spring. The club signed Jeimer Candelario as a backup plan for Kieboom, though he could also move to the first base/DH combo if Kieboom continues to struggle. meanwhile veteran Ildemaro Vargas you are available to fill a utility role or to fill any position that becomes vacant through injury or poor performance.

In the gardens, things seem a little less calm. thomas lane it looks likely that he will get one of the turf spots after putting in a decent performance in the past two seasons. His ability to plan center field might spell trouble for Victor Roblesthat he is a strong defender and has speed, but has posted a wRC+ below 70 for three years in a row. alex calls He had a nice debut in 2022 but in a small sample of just 47 games. There would be plenty of room for a veteran addition here as the club apparently prefer a lefty as Thomas, Call, Robles, Meneses and Kieboom are all righties. It’s unlikely the Nats would beat the market by a cody bellinger or a Miguel Conforto, since both seem to have a lot of interest. Veterans like it though david peralta, kevin kiermaier either corey dickerson They can all likely be had in one-year deals without breaking the bank, though those are just speculative attacks. Much like the planned addition of a starting pitcher, it makes a lot of sense to add a veteran to help guide younger players while also potentially adding someone who could be traded midyear.

The Nats would surely love to improve on a season in which they lost 107 games, but short-term containment is likely not going to be a priority with the holes in the roster and the strengths of their opponents. The Mets have been spending aggressively, even reportedly signing justin verlander the present day. The Phillies are coming off a World Series appearance and have reportedly added Trea Turner. The Braves have locked up most of their young players in extensions and look set to compete for a long time. It will be a long climb for the Nats to catch up with those clubs, which will likely start with some modest moves by 2023.

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