The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros’ shared Spring Training facility is just about finished as we’ve seen in a series of updates over the last few weeks, but in a tweet this afternoon, former Nats’ GM Jim Bowden told reporters the price tag may actually be affecting the Nationals’ spending this winter:
#Nationals still have interest in both Wieters & Holland..but they are way over budget on Spring Training Complex making decision difficult— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) January 18, 2017
The Nationals’ (disputed) rumored interest in Matt Wieters has been well-documented this winter, and there have been multiple reports that Holland, who’s recovering from Tommy John surgery, is a target as the Nats attempt to bolster the back end of their bullpen, so the interest makes sense... their spending on the Spring Training complex affecting their opportunities to add free agents? Not so much.
In Bryce Harper’s mind, if it comes down to a choice between a team store at the new facility and signing Wieters and Holland, it’s a clear choice:
Harper, 24, avoided arbitration with the Nationals when he signed a 1-year/$13.63M deal last week... and he is headed for free agency after the 2018 campaign unless he signs an extension.
He’d apparently be fine with the Nationals adding a bat and a closer over a team store in the new Spring Training facility.
Harper’s not alone:
That’s new Nationals’ outfielder Adam “Spanky” Eaton seconding Harper’s tweet in support of adding Wieters and Holland this winter.
The Nationals did, of course, acquire catcher Derek Norris after losing Wilson Ramos to free agency, so how Wieters would fit in D.C. is unclear, and Holland is a question mark in that he’s returning from Tommy John, but the Nats and GM Mike Rizzo have shown a willingness to take chances on TJS patients before...
So will the Rizzo and Co. in the front office listen to Harper and Eaton and make some additions?
Do you think the Nationals appreciate public suggestions from their players?