NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With nearly their entire roster in place for the 2013 season, the Nationals have all but wrapped up their Winter Meetings.
General manager Mike Rizzo has taken a flight back to D.C., along with a good number of Nationals executives, and after taking part in a luncheon with members of the local media, manager Davey Johnson is heading out, as well.
The Nationals traded for center fielder Denard Span last week, re-signed left-handed reliever Zach Duke on Monday and agreed to terms with right-handed starter Dan Haren yesterday.
Johnson seemed really pleased with the signing of Haren, who will round out the Nationals' rotation, assuming he passes his physical. Johnson spent a couple minutes with Angels manager Mike Scioscia after this afternoon's luncheon getting a bit of a scouting report on the veteran right-hander.
"Dan Haren's a really great pickup, and of course you've got Denard Span before," Johnson said. "That's a quality player, also. We had in-house options. You guys know that I'd probably try to give Christian Garcia or Zach Duke an opportunity to compete for that starting role, but when you got a quality pitcher like Haren, that just gives us more opportunity to let some of our young talent develop."
The Nats will continue to wait and see how the market for Adam LaRoche develops, field trade offers for Michael Morse, attempt to add another left-handed reliever (J.P. Howell is a top candidate) and try to bring in some additional starting pitching depth at the Triple-A level.
But outside of that, the Nats have accomplished much of what they had hoped to this offseason, allowing Rizzo, Johnson and others to head out a day earlier than planned.
"We didn't have a long wish list," Johnson said.
The Nats' wish list going forward centers on LaRoche. Johnson is still pushing hard for the 33-year-old first baseman to accept the Nationals' two-year offer, and Johnson is optimistic LaRoche will end up returning to the district.
"I won't sleep real comfortable 'til he does," Johnson added.
"I had him at my golf tournament, and I told him, 'You don't want to go somewhere and be miserable. You know you're going to have a good time in D.C. I won't platoon you.' So we'll see. I don't know if there's a deadline, but that would be a nice Christmas present. That would put the icing on the cake."
The Nats will still have members of their front office at the Rule 5 draft tomorrow. Assistant general manager Bryan Minniti will run the show.
As I've written earlier, the Nats don't expect to select anyone, but don't be surprised if one or two of their players (namely pitcher Rob Wort) are picked by other teams.