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 »
NL EAST STANDINGS
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
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. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Manny Pacquiao to throw first pitch before Nats-Dodgers game
- Strasburg, Nationals look to secure series win vs. Mariners
- Mets could lose Murphy for rest of season
- Nats blast King Felix, open series vs. Mariners with win
- Zimmermann, Nats get huge test with King Felix out in Seattle
- Nats extend contract with Single-A Hagerstown
- The Baseball Show: Williams for Manager of the Year?
- MLB Power Rankings: L.A. Angels flying high
- Mariners will have familiar face as manager vs. Nats this weekend
- Nats extend deal with Auburn Doubledays of NYP League