On a Washington Nationals’ offseason so far

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Mike Rizzo. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

With open training usually some-more than a month away, a Nationals have had a comparatively willing winter. Entering a offseason, their biggest priorities were second bottom and a extensions of their stream players entering their final seasons before giveaway agency. The Nationals don’t seem to have made estimable swell on possibly front.

In December, General Manager Mike Rizzo and Jordan Zimmermann’s representative talked, laying a grounds for intensity destiny talks. The sides were distant detached final winter, before Zimmermann’s standout 2014 season, so a incomparable opening would have to be bridged in talks. Little, if anything, appears to be function on a Fister or Desmond fronts. Desmond is a actor many formidable to reinstate on a Nationals since they miss tip core infield depth, though similar to a understanding for awaiting Trea Turner in a Steve Souza Jr. trade gave them a intensity destiny choice they didn’t have before, even if he winds adult during second. Still, if Desmond were to get hurt, Danny Espinosa would be the Nationals’ best choice during shortstop. In other words, a Nationals’ core infield could change dramatically in a year.

A miss of estimable swell with Desmond might have be a motivating cause in interesting offers for him on a trade market. According to FOX Sports, a Nationals discussed a three-team trade that would have sent Desmond to a Mets and would have brought second baseman Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar to Washington. But a trade talks pennyless down when a Mets balked during promulgation tip prospects to Tampa. (ESPN reported that a Mets’ discussions with a Nationals about Desmond were cursory and a Mets followed Zobrist themselves. Zobrist and Escobar were dealt to Oakland on Saturday.) This isn’t a initial time Desmond’s name has been related to another group in trade rumors this offseason — Seattle was a probability final month — so a Nationals evidently aren’t fearful to partial with him in sequence to make certain they get something behind before losing him in giveaway agency.

Zobrist would have been a good further to a Nationals in a year since of his maladroit bat, flexibility and production. But he also had usually one year left before giveaway agency, so he wouldn’t have solved a Nationals’ infield nonplus over this season. Escobar, underneath agreement for 2016 and with an choice for 2017, could have been a overpass to Nationals prospects such as Turner or Wilmer Difo. Last year, Zobrist (5.7 fWAR) and Escobar (0.2 WAR) were some-more profitable than Desmond (4.1) and Espinosa (0.6) though are several years older.

The Nationals had a possibility to pointer giveaway representative infielders, such as Asdrubal Cabrera and Stephen Drew, to short-term deals to play second bottom and, perhaps, strengthen opposite Desmond’s intensity depart after a season. But Cabrera ($7.5 million) and Drew sealed one-year deals with the Rays and Yankees, respectively. The Nationals showed initial seductiveness in Cabrera though didn’t even make an offer, according to a chairman informed with a situation. They had a possibility to secure a probable short-term fix but chose to go another direction.

If zero else materializes, a Nationals will enter open training with a foe between Espinosa and Dan Uggla, who was strike in a conduct by pitches in 2012 and 2013 and dealt with successive prophesy problems, according to a Boston Globe. Rizzo likes Uggla and drafted him in Arizona. The Nationals are carefree that Uggla, prophesy problems behind him, can rebound behind to be a power-hitting second baseman he has been in a past. Espinosa and Uggla aren’t certain things given their new struggles, though a Nationals can some-more than recompense for a somewhat next normal second baseman if Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman come behind for entirely healthy seasons.

More moves could still happen. The Nationals have received interest in reliever Tyler Clippard. Clippard has usually one year remaining on his agreement and will be paid between $8 million-$9 million, so he fits best with a contending group that has a need. The Blue Jays, according to reports, are seeking to trade for a closer, though the Nationals wish genuine prospects behind for Clippard, according to a chairman informed with a situation. Given his singular market, Clippard might be improved served in a Nationals’ bullpen as a standout set-up male and backup closer.

The Nationals dais could still see upgrades. Jayson Werth’s weekend shoulder medicine might lead to a further of maestro outfield depth. Kevin Frandsen is approaching to title a dais that, for now, looks like it could be any multiple of Espinosa/Uggla, Nate McLouth, Ian Stewart, Tyler Moore, Jose Lobaton, Jeff Kobernus, Emmanuel Burriss or Michael A. Taylor. The Nationals have explored adding bullpen abyss this offseason, interrogation about relievers such as Jason Motte, Sergio Santos and Casey Janssen, and have combined usually teenager joining arms so far.

The Nationals might be in a good position for 2015 though 2016 will be a concern. Eight Nationals will be giveaway agents in 2016: Zimmermann, Fister, Desmond, Clippard, Denard Span, Kevin Frandsen, Matt Thornton and Jerry Blevins. The Nationals have immature left-handed pitchers in a minors that could fill a voids left by Thornton and Blevins, and Taylor is pegged as a team’s core fielder of a future. If no extensions are reached, two-fifths of a Nationals’ revolution could be opposite in 2016 along with a starting shortstop. After 2016, another call of pivotal players — Drew Storen, Wilson Ramos, Craig Stammen and Stephen Strasburg — will be authorised for giveaway agency. The Nationals’ remaining concerns have as most to do with a destiny as they do with this entrance season.

Barry Svrluga contributed.

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