Closer, bench decisions imminent for Nats

January 20th, 2017
Matt Wieters could land with the Nationals, as reports have linked the team to the free-agent catcher. (AP)Paul Sancya/AP

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals boast a strong team that is likely to defend its National League East title, but with less than a month to go before Spring Training, they are interested in making more moves.

Washington has already had a busy offseason, acquiring as its new center fielder and as its new catcher and paving the way for to take over as the everyday shortstop. The Nats have not made any roster moves in over a month, but they still have a few potential options.

The Nationals' search for an experienced closer has stalled, but the candidates remain the same. Those much-discussed names -- Chicago's and Tampa Bay's Alex Colome, who could come via trade -- are still available. The Nats may also decide to add a veteran reliever through free agency to bolster the earlier innings while promoting one of their in-house options as closer.

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Washington also continues to be linked to free-agent catcher Matt Wieters -- including in two separate reports this week by FoxSports.com and ESPN.com -- despite the fact that it acquired Norris earlier this offseason and says it is comfortable with him at starting catcher.

As other sluggers have accepted less money on shorter-term deals, perhaps Wieters will do the same and the Nationals could explore entering his market. Much of the current speculation, however, seems to stem from their strong relationship with Scott Boras, who represents Wieters and more than a third of the players on the Nats' roster.

The Nationals will almost certainly fill out their bench before heading to Spring Training. , Clint Robinson and  are the only locks there, with and likely to compete for the backup outfield spot and currently tabbed as the backup utility infielder. That would leave a lot of inexperience on their bench, which wasn't the case this past season, so the Nats could bring in some veterans to compete for the job.

Still, the Nats find themselves with flexibility as they aim to make improvements during the waning weeks of the offseason.