Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was clear when he spoke to reporters at the Winter Meetings last week that he was keeping his options open when it comes to the possibility that the Nats will add another second baseman or a utility infielder to the mix for 2019.
“If there was a definite everyday second baseman that we liked that we thought was an upgrade, we would certainly consider that,” Rizzo explained to reporters in Las Vegas.
“If it was more of a kind of a hybrid role, we would consider that. We’ve left ourselves open to a lot of different types of options, a lot of different ways to build the bench and the back of the roster.”
Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes wrote last week that the Nationals have interest in free agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu, while noting the, “... sense from people familiar with their plans is he’s going to cost more than they’re willing to spend.”
With cheaper options/better values out there, and with prospects Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia in the organization and working their way up, the WaPost reported noted, there is no desperate need to add a second baseman, which is what Rizzo and Co. in the front office have been saying all winter.
Wilmer Difo and Howie Kendrick are already on the 40-Man roster, and with Kieboom and Garcia there are plenty of options.
The Nationals continue to look around, however, with Janes’ colleague at the Washington Post, Jesse Dougherty reporting that the team has met with free agent infielder/outfielder Josh Harrison’s representatives twice now:
Source with knowledge of the situation: Nationals have had two brief meetings w/ Josh Harrison’s representation, in San Diego and Las Vegas. There is “mutual interest,” according to the source, but they noted that Harrison’s camp seems to be looking closely at other options.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) December 17, 2018
Harrison, 31, is coming off a .250/.293/.363, 13 double, eight home run, 0.3 fWAR campaign in his eighth season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who declined an option for 2019 that would have paid him $10.5M. Harrison was limited to just 97 games and 374 plate appearances by the second hand fracture he suffered in the past two seasons.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman predicted that Harrison will get something in the 2-year/$12M range this winter.
Will the Nationals add a Harrison or Harrison-like infielder to the mix in the infield? Should they? Would Harrison start over Kendrick or Difo, or come off the bench in D.C.?