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Rizzo: No offers for Clippard, Storen, Span

Dec 10, 2013, 6:04 PM EDT

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — On Tuesday morning, two Nationals sources downplayed trade talks involving Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mike Rizzo shot down the notion he’s even received a formal offer for either reliever. Or center fielder Denard Span.

“We haven’t been fielding all that many calls on Clippard and Storen,” Rizzo said from his suite at the Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World. “There’s a lot of ‘lobby talk,’ I call it, about it. But there’s been actually no offer, no trade scenario that’s official, that included Clippard or Storen. Or Span.”

Rizzo appears perfectly content to go into spring training with a deep, albeit expensive, bullpen that includes Clippard and Storen setting up closer Rafael Soriano. Despite speculation that another club could pursue either Clippard or Storen for closing duties, the Nationals prefer to keep all three on the roster, recognizing the need for depth.

“What happens if Soriano gets hurt?” one club official said. “We need those two guys.”

Soriano recorded 43 saves with a 3.11 ERA this season, but he also was charged with a career-high six blown saves while seeing his strikeout rate drop to a career-worst 6.9 per nine innings.

Clippard and Storen, meanwhile, each have closing experience for the Nationals, with Storen recording 43 saves in 2011 and Clippard saving 32 games in 2012 while Storen was recovering from elbow surgery.

That experience makes either right-hander attractive to other clubs. But even if the Nationals were willing to engage in serious trade talks, the price they would set for Clippard or Storen would be extremely high.

That also holds true for Span, whose status as the Nationals’ leadoff hitter and center fielder remains rock-solid in the wake of this week’s signing of veteran Nate McLouth. Club officials believe Span can pick up where he left off in the second half of the season, when he hit .302 with a .337 on-base percentage.

“You don’t argue with Denard leading off,” new manager Matt Williams said Tuesday. ” We think of him in that role.”

Rizzo didn’t publicly address any trade discussions involving Danny Espinosa, but the GM talked up his infielder on Monday and multiple club sources said Tuesday there’s no chance of Espinosa being traded this winter.

After a disastrous season when he hit .158, was demoted and then hit .216 in Syracuse, Espinosa’s value is at an all-time low. Regardless, the Nationals still view the 26-year-old as an important part of the club’s future, perhaps as a utility infielder, and see him as an immediate answer at shortstop if Ian Desmond were to be injured.

  1. David Proctor - Dec 10, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Posting from the other thread, but Kilgore is reporting that Zimmerman will see some time at 1B in 2014.

    __

    “Late last week in Washington, Matt Williams met with Ryan Zimmerman for the first time since Williams became the manager of the Washington Nationals. As each shared their view on the team and Zimmerman’s role, Williams posed a question to the Nationals’ franchise player: “Do you own a first baseman’s mitt?”

    Zimmerman did not, and he still has not started to break in an oversize glove. But, he promises, that will change.

    “I’ll get one,” Zimmerman said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/12/10/ryan-zimmerman-will-see-time-at-first-base-in-2014/

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      Uh huh, see my.comments on who can backup LaRoche at 1st. It only works if Espi then can hit which makes TyMo the odd man out if this happens.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:33 PM

        Here’s what else I like, Chase Headley could be available. If LaRoche has problems or RZim struggles defensively there are viable options. Maybe it’s Rendon, maybe Espinosa or maybe an acquisition like Headley.

      • nats128 - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        Ghost, you nailed it in how easily Tyler Moore could be expendable.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      This is smart. I’d like to see them do the same thing with Jayson Werth. Not because I expect either of them (Ryan Zimmerman or Mr. Werth) to (a) be second on the 1B depth chart in 2014, or (b) make the transition to 1B in 2015, but because it will give the Nats (and their new manager) more options in double-switch (or similar) situations. It gives the team added flexibility, particularly with the Nate McLouth acquisition.

  2. nats128 - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    What you have to like is players who can play mulitple positions and how the backups could work. I think Ryan Zimmerman picking up a 1st basemans glove.

    It now gives Rizzo the opportunity to get another versatile outfielder.

    Espinosa backs up 3rd, SS and 2nd
    Zimmerman backs up 1st
    McLouth backs up all the outfield positions especially Werth when a RHP is pitching.

    Since Hairstons defense is poor it would help to get another RH outfielder on the bench. With this move it allows Rizzo to get another RH outfielder.

    1. Backup catcher
    2. McLouth
    3. Espinosa
    4. Hairston
    5.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 10, 2013 at 8:09 PM

      That would be my guess is Rizzo will package up for a trade for a RH outfielder and a LH reliever. Time to call the Indians.

  3. sjm308 - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    I am very happy to have fewer people trashing Espinosa on here and more accepting what Rizzo is trying to put into action.

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