Nationals Chatter: Balfour possibly to D.C., Gonzalez gives back

We hope you’re all recovering from the snowstorm and getting ready for NatsFest! In case you missed it, the Nationals could be looking to add another reliever with extensive closing experience.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why would the team add another closer when there are already three options on the team?” Insurance, that’s why.

* Last season, Nationals fans everywhere became captivated with the untucking fascination. To those that aren’t familiar with the phenomenon, closer Rafael Soriano would untuck his jersey after recording a save. Soriano did this 43 times in 2013.

Well, what would happen if the Nationals went a different route with the closer situation in 2014? Perhaps, a route with a little more rage. Over the holiday weekend, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the Nats have shown interest in free agent closer Grant Balfour. Yes, the same Balfour who failed his physical with the Orioles earlier in the offseason. Rosenthal reports that by adding Balfour, the Nats could minimize Soriano’s appearances, and avoid triggering his option for the 2015 season. Balfour saved 38 games for the Oakland Athletics in 2013.

Bringing in the feisty Australian certainly won’t hurt the Nationals, so I say why not give it a shot? As long as general manager Mike Rizzo is satisfied with Balfour’s medical records, what could it hurt? He’ll definitely bring passion to the team, as seen here during the ALDS against the Tigers in October.

* Last week, I touched on Gio Gonzalez’s hometown of Hialeah honoring him with “Gio Gonzalez Day” on Jan. 8. On Thursday, Gonzalez donated Air Jordan cleats and Wilson gloves to his high school’s baseball team, the Hialeah High Thoroughbreads. Everyone on the 25-man roster received a pair of cleats and a glove. Gonzalez’s childhood teammate Jonathan Hernandez is the varsity coach and said the gesture made the day feel like “Christmas morning.” But that’s not where Gonzalez’s generosity stops. According to The Washington Post, Gonzalez tries to stop by practice at least two times a week. The Post posted the picture from Hernandez below.

gio-team-sidebar.jpgIt’s always refreshing seeing an athlete give back to the community from which they came. Gonzalez has done this multiple times with his high school team, as he has donated gloves, cleats and shirts in previous years.

* Finally, NatsFest is Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. For more information on NatsFest, click here. Bryce Harper, Doug Fister’s fiancé and Gonzalez have expressed their excitement about coming to the event and seeing fans. Here are their tweets:

The staff will see you at NatsFest!

That’s a wrap of this week’s Nationals Chatter. Don’t forget to come back next week!

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