The Washington Nationals’ offseason has consisted of trading for outfielder Adam Eaton after missing out on potential deals for ace pitcher Chris Sale and former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. The Nationals struck out on luring closer Kenley Jansen. Since then their offseason has stalled despite the team still needing a reliever, preferably a closer, and some bench depth.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Nationals are awaiting approval from ownership before moving forward with additions to the roster.
Free agent reliever Greg Holland and catcher Matt Wieters are available. Eaton and teammate Bryce Harper have tweeted their approval for signing both players, but ultimately the call comes from the Lerner family.
Rosenthal detailed the issue that appears to be a roadblock for general manager Mike Rizzo.
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The Nationals, who still want to add a reliever (Greg Holland?) and bench depth, await ownership approval to spend further, sources said.
The Nats reportedly bid more than $80 million for free-agent closer Kenley Jansen, but that appeared to be a special circumstance.
Free-agent catcher Matt Wieters could fit into the same category, given the strong relationship between his agent, Scott Boras, and Nats ownership. But the front office apparently views other needs as more pressing.
The Nationals currently have the 10th-highest payroll in Major League Baseball at $148 million, according to sportrac.com. The team’s resources are a bit then without their own television contract despite having the wealthiest owner in all of the MLB, according to Forbes.
The Nationals have already added catcher Derek Norris, which is why the team views there are more pressing needs in the roster. However, adding Wieters to the roster gives them an upgrade from Norris. Wieters, a four-time all-star, hit .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBIs in 124 games last season with the Baltimore Orioles. But the Nationals have depth at the position in spite of departing with Wilson Ramos between Jose Lobaton and Pedro Severino.
Holland could prove to be a valuable addition. He is reportedly seeking a two-year deal with a one-year option after missing the entire 2016 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Before his injury in late-September 2015, Holland had 145 saves with a 2.42 ERA in six seasons with the Kansas City Royals.