WASHINGTON -- As Spring Training approaches and with so much of the offseason still unsettled, the Nationals find themselves in a good position. They have been active in the free-agent market and addressed their needs, which has general manager Mike Rizzo feeling good about his team heading into the new
WASHINGTON -- As Spring Training approaches and with so much of the offseason still unsettled, the Nationals find themselves in a good position. They have been active in the free-agent market and addressed their needs, which has general manager Mike Rizzo feeling good about his team heading into the new season.
"We're really satisfied with the team that we have right now," Rizzo said Wednesday morning on MLB Network Radio. "We came into the offseason with some things on our checklist that we wanted to get done."
So far, they have accomplished those goals. They re-signed right-hander Brandon Kintzler to help bolster the bullpen. They brought back veteran utility man Howie Kendrick and signed first baseman Matt Adams to make sure the bench remained strong. To improve rotation depth and compete for a spot as the No. 5 starter, they invited Edwin Jackson back to Spring Training.
These moves might not be flashy, but they have been necessary. From the start of the offseason, Rizzo said that the roster was in need of tweaks, not a massive overhaul, considering Washington is bringing back virtually all of the pieces that contributed to a 97-win season in 2017.
The one area where there is speculation about an upgrade has been at catcher; the Nationals are reportedly the favorites to land Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto in a trade. However, Rizzo said he would be comfortable with Matt Wieters as the starting catcher, and he believes Wieters is a strong bounceback candidate this season.
The only items left on Rizzo's to-do list will likely center around adding depth -- especially pitching depth.
"Nobody's got enough pitching," Rizzo said. "We're always looking for pitching. Starting pitching, relief pitching, right-handed, left-handed, we could always use that and any type of upgrades. We're always on the hunt, but starting pitching is key, and that's the collateral of champions and that's something that were always looking for."
The Nationals do not have a clear fifth starter, but adding another starting pitcher is not a priority, especially at the top of the rotation. There are still some prominent unsigned names in free agency, such as Yu Darvish and Jacob Arrieta, but Rizzo said he has not been following the free-agent pitching market very closely. If he finds a deal, he said that perhaps he would investigate, but he was content with the state of the Nats' rotation.
"We're really satisfied with what we've got," Rizzo said. "We've got ourselves a good rotation. We've got four horses at the top. We've got good young starters behind them in A.J. Cole and [Erick] Fedde."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.