In less than 48 hours, I’ll be on a flight headed for Orlando, ready to leave behind this brutal weather and kick off spring training 2014.
Word on the street is that the D.C. area is supposed to get more snow later this week. Guess I’ll miss out on that. What awful luck. (Is my sarcasm coming through clearly enough?)
Nationals pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to camp by Thursday, Feb. 13, but I’ll be getting down there a day early in order to get settled and check in with the players who have already arrived.
Many - and I might even say most - pitchers have already made their way down to Viera, Fla., eager to leave behind the cold weather in their hometowns and get to a place where they can get their throwing programs going.
Nats general manager Mike Rizzo will arrive at camp today, as will many team staffers and officials.
As we look over the spring training roster that Rizzo and his staff have assembled to this point (here’s the list I assembled a few days ago, which now includes right-handed reliever Luis Ayala after he was signed to a minor league deal on Friday), there don’t seem to be too many holes.
The Nationals accomplished the bulk of their offseason goals, and they did so pretty early in the process.
Doug Fister was acquired in an early December trade with the Tigers, giving the Nats another proven starter to add to their rotation. Outfielder Nate McLouth was signed to a two-year deal, providing manager Matt Williams with a versatile defender who brings some speed and a little pop from the left-handed side of the plate. Left-hander Jerry Blevins was added in a trade with the Athletics during the Winter Meetings, and he’s now set to be the Nats’ top southpaw in the bullpen.
Those were the three main areas the Nats were looking to improve this winter, and they did so. But are there other needs that you would have liked to see addressed?
The Nats brought in a couple of catchers with major league experience to compete with Jhonatan Solano and Sandy Leon for the backup job, but given Wilson Ramos’ injury history, would you have rather they added someone with a more solid big league track record?
Tyler Moore is still around and the Nats have a couple of players who can back up Ryan Zimmerman at third base, but would you have liked to see them acquire a high-level backup corner infielder, who can play both first and third?
Xavier Cedeno, Tyler Robertson and Sammy Solis are all options as a second left-hander in the bullpen behind Blevins, as is Ross Detwiler if he doesn’t win the final spot in the Nats rotation. But do you think Rizzo should have made bringing in another proven southpaw a higher priority?
Rizzo and the Nats might not be done yet, of course. This is an organization that in the past has made late moves to fill a need or “strengthen a strength,” as Rizzo likes to say, leading up to (or even during) spring training. But for the sake of this discussion, let’s look at the Nats’ offseason to this point.
People are bound to have different opinions on this topic. There is no perfect offseason that will perfectly align with what every fan wishes their team would have accomplished during the winter months. But I’m interested in seeing what areas you wish the Nats would have addressed to this point, that you feel they haven’t done enough work on.