In the immediate aftermath of the news that Trea Turner had suffered a fractured right wrist that would cost him 8-10 weeks on the DL, word out of Washington was that the Nationals would go with Stephen Drew and Wilmer Difo at short until their everyday shortstop was able to return.
Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo confirmed as much when he spoke to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney for Olney’s podcast, which was posted this morning.
“Now that Trea Turner is down we’re going to have Stephen Drew and Difo and that group of guys have to step up and play for us,” Rizzo said, noting that they like the veteran presence Drew provides, though they have to protect his legs, as Rizzo put it, and can use Difo when necessary as they try to weather the storm.
Rizzo said that the Nationals, will, however, continue to pursue relief help as the Nats attempt to bolster their bullpen.
After the latest blown save, in the Nationals’ series-ending loss to the Chicago Cubs last week in the nation’s capital, Dusty Baker said, as has before, that he needs help when he was asked if his team was a reliever away from being a good team.
“We’re a really good team now,” Baker said, “but we still need some help.”
Over the weekend, the latest chatter, from Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo, said the Nationals had interest New York’s Addison Reed, with Cafardo writing that the Mets, “... probably wouldn’t deal him to the Nationals, but there’s plenty of interest.”
Cafardo also brought up the Oakland A’s Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle as potential targets for the Nationals, writing that they, “... are both having good years and are likely to change addresses soon,” though, “Doolittle is more of an injury risk.”
“Both relievers could be targeted by the Nationals and Yankees,” Cafardo wrote.
They’ve signed long-shot relievers like Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez to see what he has left and veteran right-hander Kevin Jepsen, but neither of those relievers is likely going to solve the Nationals’ issues.
So where does the search stand at this point?
“Right now we’re just kind of testing the market,” Rizzo told Olney today.
“I’ve talked to a lot of my fellow general managers and just kind of to see where the market is right now.
“It’s no secret that we’re going to be looking for upgrades in the bullpen, and with that said, people aren’t going to want to help us out of the goodness of their heart.
“We’re going to have to see what deal makes sense for us in the long-term and short-term and see if we can do our part, do my part, to improve the ballclub.”
Is he focusing on closers, or just focusing on adding depth to the bullpen?
“I think it’s going to be a fluid decision,” Rizzo explained. “We’re going to have to see what’s available and what the cost is, that’s always the issue, and supply and demand at this time of the year is always what it comes down to.
“We’ve shown that we’ve been willing to pull the trigger and do deals at the last couple of trade deadlines.
“I don’t see that being any different right now. We have to make good, prudent moves.
“We’re a good team. The good thing is that we have a good team and we know what our flaws are, they’re pretty clear and we’re going to have a strategy to see if we can improve it.”