Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo was asked last month about the possibility of Denard Span returning to D.C. for a fourth season even after the Nats declined to give him a qualifying offer and let the veteran outfielder became a free agent.
"We certainly have kept in contact with him and several other players," Rizzo explained.
"He's a guy that we really enjoyed his time here and the main thing about him is we have to see where his health is as we move forward in the offseason."
In his three seasons in D.C., the 31-year-old center fielder, acquired by the Nationals in a November 2012 trade with the Minnesota Twins, posted a combined .292/.345/.404 line with 84 doubles, 19 triples and 14 home runs in 361 games and 1,605 plate appearances, but his time in the nation's capital came to an end after a 2015 campaign in which he struggled to recover from two surgical procedures and had his season end prematurely when a back/hip issue lead to a third surgery.
Even this afternoon, when he spoke to reporters following Daniel Murphy's introductory press conference, Rizzo did not rule out the possibility of Span returning, though he said it was at this point a "remote" possibility.
"We’ve talked to Denard," Rizzo said, as quoted by reporters, including CSN Mid-Atlantic's Chase Hughes. "We’ve kept in contact with Denard. So I would say it’s remotely possible. We’ve kept in contact with him."
After Span worked out for teams last month, his agent, Scott Boras, said that he expected Span to sign soon:
This afternoon, Span agreed to what is reportedly a 3-year/$31M deal with the San Francisco Giants:
Rizzo told reporters this afternoon that in spite of the attempt to sign Jason Heyward this winter and rumors of interest in adding an outfield bat, he's comfortable with Michael Taylor continuing to play center field on an everyday basis as he did when Span was out of the lineup last season.
"If there’s a value out there that can help the ballclub, then we would certainly look into it," Rizzo said, as quoted in the Washington Post, "but we like our depth and we like our talent level."
With the outfielder market now moving quickly, will the Nationals strike and add an outfield bat to the mix? Will they find that bat in a trade rather than signing a free agent?