Feb 7, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT
USA Today Sports Images
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
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.
- Pujols gets 500th, Nats fall to Angels
- Pujols launches 500th homer at Nationals' expense
- Who is the Nats best 8th inning option?
- Fister pitches 3 innings, on track for May 7 return
- Nats Game Thread: No rest for Desmond
- Nationals recall Barrett, send Cedeno to AAA
- Clippard: "No one is going to feel sorry for me" (VIDEO)
- Desmond, Clippard unravel in eighth inning of Nats' loss
- Williams shows faith in Clippard despite struggles
- Trout talk: How good is he? (VIDEO)