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MLB Winter Meetings 2017 - Washington Nationals rumors: Nats interested in Wade Davis? Mike Rizzo on relief market...

Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked at the Winter Meetings about what the Nats are looking for as they

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In discussing the Washington Nationals’ bullpen needs on Monday afternoon, on Day 1 of the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings, Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about his approach to a relief market that was starting to move.

“We’re going to look for the best value that we can get,” Rizzo explained.

“We’ll identify guys that we like and if we can get a value we think that fits for our club, we’ll jump on it.”

Asked specifically what he was looking for this winter, Rizzo reiterated what he’d said in the last few months.

He likes the left-handed depth the Nats have in the bullpen with closer Sean Doolittle, Sammy Solis, Matt Grace, and Enny Romero, and there are right-handed relief options with Ryan Madson and the likes of Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover working their way back from injury-riddled 2017 campaigns.

MLB: Washington Nationals-Press Conference Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Since both Kelley and Glover are questions marks, however, and with Brandon Kintzler, who was the seventh inning arm after he was acquired from the Minnesota Twins at the non-waiver deadline last summer, now a free agent, a right-handed reliever capable of working late innings makes the most sense.

“In my mind we have a plan for where we’re at with our bullpen and what we have currently and what we would like to acquire either via free agency or via trade, but we’ve got a good plan in place,” Rizzo said.

One potential problem is that the Nationals have the eighth and ninth innings pretty much set with Doolittle closing out games like he did after he was acquired from the Oakland A’s last July and Madson working the eighth, so finding a late-inning arm who will settle for a set-up role might be difficult when closing gigs are available.

“The market, and specifically in the bullpen market, it’s a supply and demand situation,” Rizzo said.

“You have to identify guys, you try to get them at what you believe is a fair market value for what you’re going to use them as and what they’re going to bring to the table, and make a decision based on how impactful he’s going to be and the way Davey [Martinez] is going to use him.”

With a number of right-handers off the market already, Rizzo was asked if the pace of signings picking up is going to force the Nationals into action?

“We have our plan in place,” he said Tuesday night, when he met with reporters on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings.

“Obviously, if there was an identified person that was in the mix with another team then that would push us along a little bit,” Rizzo explained, “but at this part of the meetings we’re going at our strategy, our pace is good and we’re trying to get all the information we can and then we’ll make any moves that we think are prudent.”

“The relief market — I think it’s a robust market,” he said when asked about the years and dollars some relievers have gotten already this winter. “There [are] a lot of good relievers out there, so we’re gauging that market, the free agent market and the trade market for them.”

A few hours after Rizzo talked to reporters, and after a few more relievers found new homes, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic threw a name out that might be an option for the Nationals.

Would Davis close in Washington, pushing Madson and Doolittle back to the seventh and eighth, respectively? is predicting something like a 4-year/$60M deal for Davis in free agency. FanRag’s Jon Heyman has Davis getting four years and $72M.

Will the Nationals add another potential closer to the back end of the bullpen and have a three-headed monster again in 2018?