Why Doug Fister?
The Nationals have already addressed their need for another starting pitcher, trading for Doug Fister on Monday night. Then they closed out the week by bolstering their bench with the signing of Nate McLouth late Friday afternoon.
So, what’s left for Mike Rizzo and Co. to do once they arrive in Orlando on Sunday for the start of the Winter Meetings?
Not much, though there still are a few items on the Nationals’ agenda.
Though — as has been the case throughout a sport that has been overwhelmed with major news this week — they’ve made two significant acquisitions in recent days, the Nats know their roster remains far from complete.
The top priority now: Get a left-hander for the bullpen. There are several worthy candidates out there — most notably Eric O’Flaherty, J.P. Howell and Boone Logan — but they aren’t going to remain available for long. It would not be surprising if the Nationals depart Orlando on Thursday with a new lefty reliever in tow.
The Nats also have at least one more bench spot to fill, possibly as many as three. They would like to add a veteran catcher to back up Wilson Ramos, not subjecting Jhonatan Solano to those duties for a full season. They probably want to bring in another infielder to compete with Danny Espinosa and Zach Walters for a spot on the bench (though this acquisition might well have to come on a minor-league deal). And there’s still possibly one more reserve job available, depending on how the Nats feel about Tyler Moore.
Even if they don’t make any additions to the major-league roster, there still are other tasks for the Nationals to complete at the Winter Meetings. Rizzo will have the opportunity to speak with any agent or fellow GM in the game, face to face. New manager Matt Williams will have the opportunity to get involved as well, whether in the form of media interviews or inside Rizzo’s suite as team officials discuss potential transactions.
There are also a host of industry meetings for club personnel to attend, not to mention Thursday morning’s Rule 5 draft (though at this point it’s tough to see the Nationals having roster space for one of those guys).
So, while there may be no blockbuster in the works, there still could be plenty of developments for the Nats at the Winter Meetings.