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Washington Nationals news & notes: Nats announce signings - Dylan Floro and Nick Senzel

Notes and quotes on the Nationals’ new roster additions...

In discussing what the Nationals are looking for this offseason, at least in terms of help for the bullpen, Washington’s GM and President of Baseball Ops Mike Rizzo told reporters last week at the Winter Meetings he was in the market for reliable, established arms who could provide consistent outings.

“Good, capable, major league relievers that can we count on,” Rizzo explained, “… and not to have such a split with our A-group and our B-group. I think that [Nats’ manager Davey Martinez] likes — well, every manager likes multi-out pitchers, guys who can go back-to-back-to-back, and that’s difficult to do with young kids.”

Rizzo also talked about the need to add a bat to the mix, either at third, first, or in left field.

“I think we’re going to be aggressive again this year looking for a bat that can play the corner infield,” he said.

“Be it third base or first base or DH or left field — a combination of all three of those.”

Milwaukee Brewers v Washington Nationals Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office addressed both of those needs (to some degree) on Monday afternoon, when they announced a deal with veteran reliever Dylan Floro, 32, and confirmed their previously reported agreement with “third baseman Nick Senzel”, 28, a 2016 1st Round pick who spent five years in the majors with Cincinnati’s Reds, who drafted him with the 2nd overall pick in that year’s draft.

Floro brings eight years of experience to the Nationals’ bullpen mix, having debuted in the majors with the Tampa Bays Rays (who drafted him in the 13th Round) in 2012, and pitched for the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers (winning a World Series ring with LA in 2020), the Miami Marlins, and the Minnesota Twins in his career.

The right-handed reliever, “... went (5-6) with a 4.76 ERA, [a 3.43 FIP], and seven saves in 62 relief appearances in 2023 between Miami and Minnesota,” Washington noted in their press release on the signing last night.

“[Floro] struck out 58 hitters in 56.2 innings of work,” they added, and he, “ one of only eight pitchers in Major League baseball to record at least 30 saves and 25 holds since the beginning of the 2021 season, joining new teammate Kyle Finnegan on that list.”

Floro also, they added, “... ranks seventh among Major League relievers with 0.45 home runs allowed per 9.0 innings since the start of the 2020 season (10 HR/198.2 IP).”

He saved 15 games for the Marlins in 2021, 10 in 2022, and seven more for the Fish in 2023 before he was traded to the Twins.

Floro went an inning-plus five times in 62 appearances last year. Where will he fit into the Nationals’ bullpen?

Asked at the Winter Meetings if he envisioned Finnegan and Hunter Harvey both serving in the closer’s role again in 2024 as they did last, Davey Martinez said it was possible another reliever might get opportunities as well.

“Finnegan, Harvey, maybe somebody else. Yeah,” he said.

As for Senzel?

MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted the now-former Reds’ infielder, who played second, third, and all three outfield positions in Cincinnati, “... is expected to start at third base for the Nationals.”

He’s played just 62 games at third in his career, and he’s likely, as the MASN reporter added, a stopgap piece as the club waits to see what they have in Brady House, the 2021 1st Round pick who worked his way up to Double-A in the Nationals’ system in 2023 as a 19-20-year-old.

Senzel, “... is coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 13 home runs and matched a career-high with 42 RBI[s] in 104 games,” for the Reds.

“He added 10 doubles, 26 walks, six stolen bases, and 49 runs scored while hitting .236 with a .399 slugging percentage. A versatile defender, Senzel saw action at third base (57 G), left field (23 G), center field (18 G), right field (18 G), second base (6 G) and designated hitter (4 G) in 2023.”

In 126 plate appearances against left-handed pitching last year, the right-handed hitter put up a .348/.389/.619 line with nine of his 13 home runs off lefties, and he finished the season with a .164/.240/.257 line vs right-handed pitchers.

In his career, he’s posted a .287/.334/.460 line in 409 PAs vs lefties, versus a .219/.288/.330 line vs righties (957 PAs).

In order to make room on the roster, the club announced they had designated 25-year-old Jeter Downs for assignment, after he, “... appeared in six games for the Nationals in 2023, going 2-for-5 (.400) with one RBI, two stolen bases, four walks and four runs scored.”

The Nationals’ 40-man roster is now at 40.