Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo On Rumors Of Interest In Grant Balfour

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

So are the Washington Nationals interested in free agent closer Grant Balfour? Nats' GM Mike Rizzo was asked this morning during an appearance on the MLB Network's Hot Stove show. His answer had a familiar ring to it, but is that a sign?

Asked this morning about the rumors of interest in free agent closer Grant Balfour on the Washington Nationals' part, GM Mike Rizzo jokingly told MLB Network Hot Stove hosts Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian that they should ask their colleague, Ken Rosenthal, who was the first to report that the Nats were thinking about inking the 36-year-old former Oakland A's closer.

"We feel our bullpen is extremely strong and it's a big part of our ballclub, but if you can strengthen a strength, that never hurts either." - Nats' GM Mike Rizzo on the MLB Network

"Ask Ken," Rizzo said. "He's got all the information on that one."

"At this time of the year," he continued, "we're looking at any way to improve our ballclub and sometimes you get some values at this time of the year. We're looking at any way to either strengthen a weakness that we have or, and we feel our bullpen is extremely strong and it's a big part of our ballclub, but if you can strengthen a strength, that never hurts either. So, you can never have too many good players, and especially in January, you can never have too many good arms, too many starters, too many relievers. And we're looking at every avenue and we leave no stone unturned. If you can find a value and improve your ballclub, strengthen a strength, we're all for it."

• Check out the entire interview with the Nationals' GM on the MLB Network below:


As the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore noted on Twitter, the "strengthen a strength" language Rizzo used in the interview is similar to what he said last season when the Nationals surprised most in baseball circles with their decision to sign Rafael Soriano to a 2-year/$28M deal after it appeared that they were done building for the defense of their 2012 NL East crown.

"Rafi was a good fit because he's one hell of a closer," Rizzo said last January. "And you strengthen a strength and you keep moving forward and keep acquiring talent and assets to become the best ballclub that you can possibly become."

The WaPost's reporter also noted in his own write-up of Rizzo's appearance on the MLB Network today that a source told him Balfour is expected to make a decision on a new home in the next week, so the Nationals should know soon if another arm will be added to the mix for 2014...

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