The bench for each major league team is a major part of a team's long-term success through the ups and downs of a rigorous 162-game season.
Many times, if you make the right choices for your bench this time of year, it can reap short-term return if you trade them at the trading deadline for future prospects. Jerry Hairston Jr., made a big splash with the Milwaukee Brewers deep into the playoffs last season after the Nationals traded him for minor leaguer Erik Komatsu.
Last week, the Nationals lost Komatsu to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Rule 5 draft, but could get him back if he doesn't crack the Cards' 25-man roster out of spring training.
Of course, the Nationals would rather be contenders and buyers come July 31, instead of sellers.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com tweeted the Nationals are interested in improving their bench with free agents Mike Cameron, Greg Dobbs and Mark DeRosa.
Cameron, a center fielder, has played in 17 seasons with a career slash line of .249/.338/.444. Most recently, he played 45 games with the Marlins in 2011 and will be 39 in early January.
The 33-year old Dobbs, a third baseman and outfielder, also played last season with the Marlins and has eight seasons under his belt in the majors, hitting .364/.308/.405.
DeRosa, a 36-year old infielder and outfielder, has 14 seasons of experience in the majors. He has hit a career .272/.341/.416 line, most recently with the Giants.