Rizzo: More major moves unlikely for Nationals

Rizzo: More major moves unlikely for Nationals
February 13, 2013, 3:45 pm
Share This Post

VIERA, Fla. -- Though a handful of prominent free agents remain on the open market even after camps across baseball have opened, the Nationals appear content to stick with what they have ... barring injury or other calamity.

"If you're talking about a big-time trade or a big-time free agent acquisition, I would think that would have to be something that was set off by something that happens here in camp," general manager Mike Rizzo said in his first media session of the spring. "But we're always looking to get ourselves better and deeper, and if there's something to be done that makes sense for us, we'll certainly do it."

At this point, any potential moves likely would be to add depth at Class AAA Syracuse, particularly pitching depth. The Nationals' big-league staff is all but finalized already, with five starters in place and perhaps only one bullpen job up for grabs among several contenders.

The Nationals do remain thin in backup rotation candidates, though they did fortify the position a bit this winter with the re-signing of Zach Duke, the conversion of Christian Garcia to a starter and the signing of veteran Ross Ohlendorf. Rizzo admitted it's been a challenge convincing free agents to join the organization with little guarantee of a big-league roster spot becoming available.

"I will say that it was very, very difficult to get guys in that scenario, to come in on minor-league contracts, just because of the roster that we have intact," Rizzo said. "The front office did a great job of acquiring guys that have a chance to help us, if not at the beginning of the season, sometime during the season, and always with the forethought of having depth at multiple positions."

Rizzo said the uncertainty surrounding Gio Gonzalez, who has been connected to the Miami clinic under investigation by MLB for distributing performance enhancing drugs, hasn't altered his approach to roster construction. Though there are several veteran pitchers still on the market, headlined by right-hander Kyle Lohse, Rizzo indicated he's not looking for a potential Gonzalez replacement.

"It did not intensify anything for us," he said. "We're always looking. We always like depth. But it did not intensify with that."