Feb 7, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
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Drew Storen will have to pitch in a setup role for new closer Rafael Soriano.
As the final countdown to spring training arrives, we're counting down the five biggest storylines facing the Nationals in Viera. We start today with spring storyline No. 5: The new-look bullpen…
The Nationals had one of baseball's best bullpens last season, a deep, talented and balanced group that featured two capable closers, one of the best left-handers in the game, a couple up-and-coming right-handers, a veteran lefty and a reliable long man. And general manager Mike Rizzo had the ability to keep that entire unit intact, if he was willing to spend the money necessary to retain everyone.
Rizzo, though, didn't feel like his three lefties (Sean Burnett, Michael Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny) were worth the contracts each stood to receive either via free agency or arbitration. So all three were left to sign elsewhere, creating an obvious dearth of southpaws in this team's bullpen.
Rizzo did make overtures to a few other available left-handers on the market, most notably J.P. Howell, but in the end decided none were worth it and so instead spent his money on the one thing theRead more »
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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- Clippard: 'I hope we all stay together for at least one more shot'
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo explains trading Detwiler; talks prospects
- Nats announce date pitchers and catchers will report to Viera
- Nationals react to Detwiler and LaRoche leaving this offseason
- Ian Desmond goes 1-on-1 with Mark Zuckerman at Nats Fest
- Zuckerman on the Nats and Bryce Harper's contract settlement
- Storen appreciates Nats' vote of confidence
- Markakis to have neck surgery 2 weeks after signing with Braves
- Stephen Strasburg goes 1-on-1 with Mark Zuckerman at Nats Fest
- Nats, Harper settle on 2-year deal, avoid hearing