GM Mike Rizzo and Manager Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals were on the MLB Network Radio show Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern this afternoon, talking live from the Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Williams met with D.C. baseball reporters earlier today, and talked about planning to give some of his players time off this year to keep them fresh and available throughout the entire 2014 campaign. He revisited that discussion on Inside Pitch started after a question about the addition of free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, who signed a 2-year/$10.75M deal last week.
"We want to give our guys a day off and we want them to fight with us tooth and nail when we do give them that day off," Williams said, while acknowledging that though no player ever wants to sit, it's a manager's job to decide when someone needs a rest. "It's always nice to have someboday that's looking out for your best interest and letting you know that, 'Today's a day [off]. Take a day, you're going to need it.' We need early days off in April. Those games are important in April, of course, but we have to have longevity. If we want to get to the World Series and if we want to win it, we have to have longevity with our core guys, so we have to take care of them. Nate provides that."
"Nate also will get somewhere between 300-400 at bats, which is great," Williams continued. "And he can do a lot of things. He can steal bases. He's fantastic in all three outfield positions. He throws. He's got the ability to hit for power, so off the bench late in the game he can provide you that. He's kind of that hybrid guy. And he's one of the guys that Mike identified early that this could be a guy that fills the need for us. I don't classify him as a 4th [outfielder], I classify him as one of..."
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo was asked about the continuing search for a left-handed reliever, which he once again admitted was something the Nationals were after this winter.
"We've identified some of the flaws that we had in 2013," Rizzo said. "And I would say that that was probably the biggest mistake that I made going into the season. We went with one left-hander out of the bullpen because [Tyler] Clippard does so much against left-handed hitters, so I think that's something we have to rectify this year. We need to, in our division with the Freemans and the Heywards and the Utleys and those type of left-handed power hitters and good bats, you need to neutralize them, so we're in the market, it's a good year to be looking for a left-handed reliever via the trade market or the free agent market..."
Check out what Rizzo had to say about Stephen Strasburg's recovery from elbow surgery as well through the audio of the interview MLB Network Radio tweeted below:
Here are a few reports on what Matt Williams had to say during his meeting with reporters in Florida this afternoon:
Matt Williams met with Jayson Werth at Werth's house for an hour. "He is shaggy right now," Williams said.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) December 10, 2013
Quick hits from Matt Williams' session with reporters, including lineup possibilities, injury updates and plenty more http://t.co/mKVkjlrGWR— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) December 10, 2013
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