Washington Nationals Should Pursue a Veteran Lefty Reliever This Off-Season

By Christopher Gamble
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports


The Washington Nationals priority this off-season will be replacing manager Davey Johnson who retired. After that, a lefty reliever might be the team’s highest priority and the free agent market should give GM Mike Rizzo plenty of options.

The Nationals decided to let Sean Burnett and Michael Gonzalez leave as free agents prior to the start of this season and for a while the Nationals got decent production from Ian Krol and Fernando Abad but they hit some rough patches down the stretch.

There isn’t much to do to the Nationals’ roster this off-season but adding a left-handed reliever and possibly a starter to replace Dan Haren could be at the top after naming a manager. Luckily for Rizzo, he can choose from Boone Logan, J.P. Howell and Oliver Perez, three veteran, proven left-handers who can bolster a pen.

Of those, Logan makes the most sense. Logan is 29-years-old and is coming off his fourth consecutive solid season with the New York Yankees. As a Yankee, Logan posted a 3.38 ERA and struck out 202 batters in 176 innings over the last four years. Logan held left-handed batters to a .243/.312/.378 line in 716 plate appearances, surrendering 155 hits but striking out 205 lefty hitters.

The one detractor is Logan will have surgery this off-season on his elbow. However, he should be ready for spring training and shouldn’t have any problems. Right now, his first preference is to return to the Yankees but with the Yankees trying to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold it might mean the Yankees can’t, or won’t want to, pay Logan’s asking price which should come in somewhere between $4-6 million per year.

Logan is just one of several options for Rizzo this off-season should he choose to upgrade his bullpen. Among Howell, Perez and Logan he can’t really go wrong. The question now is whether or not Rizzo can get one of them at his price.

Chris is a Senior Writer as well as the Hiring and Recruiting Manager for Rant sports. Follow Chris on Twitter and “Like” his page on Facebook.

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