Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo has had a busy offseason, signing Kyle Finnegan to a major league deal and re-signing Stephen Strasburg, Yan Gomes, and Howie Kendrick in November, before adding free agents Will Harris, Starlin Castro, and Eric Thames last month and re-signing Asdrúbal Cabrera.
So where does Rizzo think the defending World Series champions are in terms of building their roster for the 2020 campaign?
“We feel comfortable where we’re at,” Rizzo told reporters at the Nationals’ WinterFest celebration on Saturday afternoon in the nation’s capital.
“We had some holes to fill, we lost I think 14 players to free agency after the season, and I think we’ve done a lot of business and we have done some good business, and on January 11th we feel good about where we’re at.”
Is one of the remaining holes at third base after Anthony Rendon signed a 7-year/$245M free agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels this winter?
Castro could be a possible solution at third base. Top prospect Carter Kieboom could end up there in the near future. Kendrick played 15 games at third base last season. Cabrera is capable of playing third, after playing 93 games there for the Texas Rangers last year, with five games at third once he signed on with the Nationals.
So do the Nationals have an answer at third base in the organization right now?
“Yeah, we think we do,” Rizzo said. “We like our versatility, we like our depth at the position, and we’ve got a good mixture of young players that are up and coming and veterans that have proven themselves and it’s given [manager] Davey [Martinez] a lot of tools to work with to keep the bench sharp and to keep the everyday players fresh.”
Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office were in the market for free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson before their recent signings made that seem much less likely, but the GM said he wasn’t ruling anything out at this point, in spite of all of the recent additions to the infield mix.
“We’re never out on anything, my man,” Rizzo told a reporter who asked if the Nationals were out of Donaldson at this point.
“We’re trying to win championships and we certainly never close the door on anybody.”
Even if they don’t land Donaldson, Rizzo said he felt like the club had options who could handle the hot corner.
“We think we’re going to be solid at third base,” Rizzo explained. “All of our options can play it very well.”
“Kieboom is unproven there at the big league level, but he’s a competent shortstop and we feel comfortable from what we’ve seen in the minor leagues at third and at second with him, and of course Castro can do them both and Cabrera can play everywhere, so we feel good about it. We mix Howie in the mix somewhere, second, third, first, and we feel good about where we’re at.”