The Washington Nationals‘ season has been over for about a week and a half now, and there has been a lot of chatter regarding what Washington will do with their new-found pitching depth with the emergence of the Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan, as well as Nathan Karns coming up and being serviceable for Washington this season.
GM Mike Rizzo has said thus far that his focus will be finding a manager, and then bullpen and bench help. That’s pretty much what he has said he past few seasons, both because they have been positions of need for Washington and it’s something every team works on each winter.
Most teams in the league usually come into Spring Training with a new reliever or two and at least one or two new bench bats. As I have said before, nobody will know what Rizzo is really thinking of doing until after he does it, as he loves to keep things close to vest.
Something we know about Rizzo’s tenure as Nationals GM is that he loves to have depth at every position. If Danny Espinosa had gone down with his shoulder problems any season without Rizzo at the helm, Washington would have been up the creek without a paddle.
Enter Anthony Rendon and Steve Lombardozzi, who stepped in this season and did not make fans forget totally about Espinosa, but made second base less of an issue this season and give fans hope that they will have a serviceable second baseman in 2014.
Washington has a budding star at catcher in Wilson Ramos, who, coming off of ACL surgery and battled two hamstring issues in 2013, landing on the DL twice. He set a career-high in home runs and RBIs in only 78 games with Washington in 2013.
Ramos is giving fans glimpses of what could be the best catcher in all of baseball, or at least top three with Buster Posey and Yadier Molina. In fact, he looks like he could be better than those two.
Ramos, however, may be also showing fans and Nationals’ brass that he is injury-prone and may not be able to be counted on for a full season behind the plate. With that said and with Rizzo’s love of team depth, could Washington become a major player, or a dark horse for Brian McCann?
The Atlanta Braves season unsurprisingly ended last night as they lost the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Atlanta’s warts were finally fully revealed, as a team just cannot absorb two key players hitting below .200 in the playoffs even as Dan Uggla was left off the roster.
Regardless, with Evan Gattis coming up this season and showing his ability to hit MLB pitching, and with the amount of money McCann may demand this offseason, his days in Atlanta are probably done.
Now, by no means is Washington regarded as a front-runner for McCann’s services, nor should they be. Washington has plenty of catching depth with the team’s much more pressing needs being elsewhere, and they will probably be competing with the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers for McCann’s services.
Plus, McCann has never played more than 145 games in a season, has never hit more than 24 home runs, and would be entering his age 30 season in 2014 — not the best of ages for a catcher who has never broken 150 games played. Plus, if Washington has a guy in Ramos who hit 16 homers in half as many games as McCann, why would they go after him?
Depth is a big factor here, and Washington could literally have the best catching tandem in baseball history. The bottom line however is that even though McCann could be priced out of Washington’s price range, do not be shocked if Rizzo gives McCann a call.