In a Washington Post article this week, Washington Nationals beat writer Chelsea Janes quoted a team source who dismissed the rumors, put forth on Twitter by former Nats’ GM and current ESPN analyst Jim Bowden, that the Nationals’ spending this winter was being affected by the spending on their new Spring Training facility being “... way over budget”.
“One has nothing to do with the other,” a Nationals spokesperson said Wednesday. “Our spring training facility budget does not impact our ability to sign players.”
The Nats still haven’t signed or acquired the closer they’re reportedly after this winter, however, though two reports this morning, including one by Bowden, say they are still looking into back end of the bullpen help as they prepare for the 2017 campaign.
Bowden writes that the best available options at this point are free agent closer Greg Holland, or a trade for the likes of Chicago White Sox’ Dave Robertson, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Alex Colome, the Oakland A’s Ryan Madson or St. Louis Cardinals’ Trevor Rosenthal.
As Bowden notes, the Nationals made plays for Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen (who reportedy got an $85M offer from D.C. but returned to LA), and they have several in-house options including Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen and Koda Glover, but, he writes, “... let’s be realistic: If the Nationals are going to earn a world championship for their 92-year-old owner, Ted Lerner, they’re going to need a better option.”
The best options in Bowden’s mind? Holland or a trade for Robertson, though he notes that the Nats already overpaid in their deal with the Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton, so they would have to include top outfield prospect Victor Robles in a deal for Roberston, “which they are not going to do.”
A trade with the Rays for Colome, “would be a solid alternative,” Bowden writes, “but the Rays’ asking price makes that deal highly unlikely.”
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal too wrote this morning that the Nationals, “still want to add a reliever (Greg Holland?) and bench depth,” but currently, “... await ownership approval to spend further, sources said.”
Washington’s rumored $80-$85M offer to Jansen, Rosenthal writes, “... appeared to be a special circumstance,” and while, “... free-agent catcher Matt Wieters could fit into the same category, given the strong relationship between his agent, Scott Boras, and Nats ownership... the front office apparently views other needs as more pressing.”
“Other needs” ... like a closer? Or bench depth? Spring Training starts in less than a month. Surely the Nationals will add to the bullpen and bench before then, right?