The talk at the start of the offseason was that the Washington Nationals' bullpen needed a full reboot. Depending on what you think of the claims by Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell's sources, who say that the Nationals' plans involve both Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon returning to the 'pen in 2016, their situation may have become slightly less desperate since then. Even if the scorned closer-turned-set-up man and much-maligned closer do return, however, there is plenty of work for Mike Rizzo and co. to do this winter as they attempt to turn a 2015 weakness into a 2016 strength.
Do they go after Aroldis Chapman or Craig Kimbrel again after reportedly expressing interest in both at the trade deadline this past July and finding the cost of each prohibitive? Dusty Baker has history with Chapman and Rizzo's reportedly liked the left-hander since he first scouted him back before the flamethrower signed with the Cincinnati Reds.
Casey Janssen's option for 2016 was not picked up. Matt Thornton could return after two strong seasons in the Nats' pen.
What will Craig Stammen have to offer after he missed most of the season following surgery for a torn right flexor tendon?
Aaron Barrett (who had Tommy John), Felipe Rivero, Erik Davis, Matt Grace, A.J. Cole (maybe?), Abel Del Los Santos (at some point), Taylor Hill, Taylor Jordan, Rafael Martin, Sammy Solis, Blake Treinen?
They could all help out at some point. There's also the Darren O'Day chatter, as the free agent talk begins in earnest.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has identified the Nationals as one of the teams already showing interest in the 33-year-old, free agent right-hander, who put up a 1.52 ERA, a 2.49 FIP, 14 walks (1.93 BB/9) and 82 Ks (11.30 K/9) in 65 ⅓ innings pitched in his fourth season in Baltimore in 2015.
Interest is steep in darren o'day. red sox, tigers, nats, dodgers, royals, cubs all in.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 9, 2015
Heyman predicted a 3-year/$25M contract for O'Day yesterday, writing that the sidewinder is "extremely popular" this winter, "after a career resurrection in Baltimore."
Baltimore Sun writer Dan Connolly wrote last week that he actually thought O'Day and the Nationals were a "perfect fit," noting that the Nationals, "desperately need to fortify their bullpen and always seem to find money to buy players," and, "O'Day's wife, Elizabeth Prann, is a Fox News Channel anchor and reporter based out of Washington and the couple lives in between the two cities for commuting purposes."
On top of that, Connolly suggests, O'Day, "wouldn't have to adjust to Washington's difficult closer, Jonathan Papelbon," since, "[t]hey've known each other since attending the same high school in Jacksonville, Fla."
Will Nats' GM Mike Rizzo make a run at the veteran right-hander who held opposing hitters to a .198/.257/.283 line in 2015, with left-handers hitting .207/.293/.333 and right-handers hitting .192/.236/.256?