With the winter meetings in full swing, the Washington Nationals have made a few major additions to attempt to fill glaring holes from last season. They appear to be finished in the starting pitching market, as the Doug Fister trade led to a surplus of starting pitchers on the roster. However, that acquisition opened up another hole, the need for a utility infielder.
By adding another veteran starter to the roster, the Nationals most likely do not want to add another starting pitcher. Barring injuries, the first four slots in the rotation are locked up; and there is a battle brewing for the fifth spot between Ross Detwiler, Taylor Jordan, and Tanner Roark.
The Nationals also made a splash when searching for a fourth outfielder, as they signed former Baltimore Oriole Nate McLouth. I do not believe that they will add another free agent outfielder, with utility man Tyler Moore capable of playing in left or right field. The Nationals want to give Moore an opportunity to increase his at bats, and by adding another outfielder they could only hinder his progress.
As I mentioned earlier, Washington is in deep need for some depth in the infielder. The Nationals have a solid starting lineup, but who knows where they will turn if one of them goes down with an injury. General Manager Mike Rizzo has said that he wants to give Danny Espinosa an opportunity to make the roster out of spring training. If Espinosa shows that he has improved at the plate, he will back up Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon in the middle infield.
If Danny Espinosa crashes and burns, (not to be a downer, but I think he will in Washington
, however I do hope he succeeds) the Nationals will either give the utility infield job to Zach Walters, or an unknown free agent. I presume that Zach Walters would be the top choice due to his power and success in the minor leagues. Walters looks like he could be a strong player in the future, and the Nationals may want to begin his major league development immediately.
Washington needs to find a veteran free agent to replace the role previously played by Chad Tracy. One possible rumored candidate is Eric Chavez. Chavez has drawn interest from all around the league, including teams such as the Braves or Yankees. He had a strong 2013 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and could be a strong bat off the bench for the Nationals if they add him.
The Nats fixed a glaring need when the traded for lefty reliever Jerry Blevins. Blevins is a solid lefty reliever, and fills a role that was left empty for Washington last year. Now, the question is whether or not the Nationals will add one more lefty. I believe they will, whether that be Eric O’Flaherty, or another player in free agency. The Nationals realize they made a mistake by not having a left handed reliever ready for the start of last season, and are poised to learn from the mistake in this year’s market.