Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about the state of the Nats’ closer search in a Sirius/XM Fantasy interview with Craig Mish and Jim Bowden earlier this week.
Rizzo said there really wasn’t too much to report.
“We haven’t touched base in the trade market for closers in quite some time,” Rizzo said.
“As we go into the beginning of Spring Training, we have several candidates that we think can pitch the ninth inning,” he added.
“Dusty [Baker] is going to answer that question. He’s going to pick the guy that he thinks can handle the situation the best.”
Rizzo went on to say that at this point, he expected the Nationals’ closer to come from within the organization rather than from a trade.
FanRagSports.com’s Jon Heyman, in giving the Nats a “B-” grade for their work building their roster this winter, wrote that the, “continuing pen question carries the potential to haunt them.”
After failing to re-sign Mark Melancon, who, “... preferred the signing bonus in SF, a Nats person said he believed,” and missing out on Kenley Jansen and others, while declining to, “... trade center field prodigy Victor Robles for Alex Colome and never really coming to close to a deal for David Robertson,” the Nationals, “... are holding tryouts for closer.”
The in-house battle, Heyman adds, includes, “Blake Treinen, Shawn Kelley, Enny Romero, Koda Glover or even Joe Nathan, a great one who’s 42 but has shocked them early.”
Elsewhere in the article, Heyman cites sources who say the Nats like Robertson, though the Nationals and White Sox, “... were never really close on a trade during the winter.”
“The issue is this: if you talk to a Nats person, he’ll suggest the White Sox don’t behave like they really want to trade him, and if you ask a ChiSox person, he’ll say the Nats just weren’t very aggressive.”
Now that the Nationals have signed Matt Wieters, and can potentially trade from their catching depth, Heyman notes, the White Sox, “... could use a young catcher and Pedro Severino could make sense.”
Will the Nationals be willing to trade Severino, who was described by Rizzo this winter as their catcher of the future? What else would it take to get Robertson from the Sox?
Do you believe Rizzo when he says that the next closer will come from within the organization, or do you think the Nats are still looking to add a late-inning arm?