During a conversation last week with reporters, Mike Rizzo the general manager for the Washington Nationals made it seem as if the defending champions of the National League East were happy with the roster they have now, saying most of what he wanted to take care of during the offseason was completed early.
Rizzo explained that the team accomplished its shopping early in the offseason, as the team had its strategy going into the winter and fulfilled it. Rizzo added that the team focused on the players it wanted, went after them and got them.
Rizzo stated during the winter that Washington was comfortable with its options in-house competing for its fifth spot in its rotation, and that the organization’s depth behind four starters was strong.
However, with the rumors that always arise, word is that veteran Jake Arrieta, who has not signed with any team, could end up with the Nationals.
Rumors have said that Rizzo likes the possibility of Arrieta signing though there is a question whether the team has the budget for such a signing.
Rizzo has apparently told his front office that they did not have the budget, but those things change. While signing Arrieta would push them over the threshold of the luxury tax, a good chance exists they could reset that during next winter when several players become free agents including Matt Wieters, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez, parts of their bullpen and the most important of all Bryce Harper.
Prior to Arrieta becoming a free agent, he was offered a $17.4 million one year deal by the Chicago Cubs, and that means any team that signs him will forfeit their second- and fifth-highest pick for the 2018 draft, as well as lose $1 million of International signing bonus monies.
Despite all of those concerns, with all the other players on the Nationals under agent Scott Boras, it would not be shocking if the Nationals were able to find a way to sign Arrieta.
The Nationals are said to remain engaged with Arrieta and his handlers as the former winner of the Cy Young award continues to search for a team to play for.
This has been one of the strangest winters in Major League Baseball when it comes to free agents, as many top tier and lower tier players have yet to sign with a team and the start of the regular season is now less than a month away.