Dec 10, 2013, 12:01 PM EDT
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Though several clubs have expressed interest in Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, the Nationals’ asking price remains high, with general manager Mike Rizzo seeking a major return for either reliever.
Both Storen and Clippard have been viewed as potential trade candidates since season’s end due to their escalating salaries and the Nationals’ excess of late-inning relievers. Their names have surfaced even more at the Winter Meetings, with more than one club broaching the subject with Rizzo, according to sources familiar with the talks.
The Cubs, in particular, recently initiated trade discussions, with team executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer viewing either Storen or Clippard as a potential closer in Chicago. But those talks haven’t moved beyond preliminary stages, according to sources, and may not advance at all given how much Rizzo is seeking in a deal.
While open to the possibility of trading either right-hander, the Nationals don’t feel any pressure to make a move and are comfortable entering spring training with Storen and Clippard remaining in their setup roles ahead of closer Rafael Soriano.
“We feel good about our seventh- and eighth-inning guys,” Rizzo said Monday.
The Nationals, if they keep everyone, would have one of baseball’s priciest bullpens. Soriano’s 2014 salary is $14 million (though $7 million of that money is deferred). Clippard could earn more than $6 million via arbitration after making $4 million this season. Storen is likely to see his salary rise to about $3.5 million after making $2.5 million this season. And the Nationals still expect to add a veteran left-hander, either through free agency or a trade, who would make seven figures.
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