Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio reported the Washington Nationals are looking to still add players, which brought out tweets from Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton
If there were two needs the Washington Nationals still have with spring training approaching, it’s at catcher and closer. Yesterday, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio tweeted that the Washington Nationals are still showing interest in free agent catcher Matt Wieters and reliever Greg Holland, but they still have concerns over their budget:
#Nationals still have interest in both Wieters & Holland..but they are way over budget on Spring Training Complex making decision difficult
Later that day, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post tweeted from a spokesperson with the Nats that there is no correlation between the money spent on the West Palm Beach facility and the signing of players:
A Nats spokesperson said this: “One has nothing to do with the other. Our ST facility budget does not impact our ability to sign players.”
Now, this isn’t the first time Harper has tweeted something about a player the Washington Nationals have acquired via free agency or trade. On the night of the Eaton deal, Harper tweeted WOW, which can be interpreted in any way you see fit:
After all of the Washington Nationals players that were eligible for arbitration reached deals with the team, Baseball Reference has their current payroll at $151.3 million. The question remains as to how far this team can go in terms of payroll, especially with the new spring training facility still being constructed?
On the other hand, it’s good to see these players voice their opinions as to which players they would like to play with. Adding either Wieters or Holland will make the Washington Nationals a better team. Wieters can add more power at the catching position and Holland has the closer experience this team needs. But, can the Nats get them at the right cost?
When you look at the Harper tweets in particular, there is no secret that he only has two years left on his contract before he becomes the top free agent on the market. Last week, the Washington Nationals were avoid going to arbitration by giving him over $13 million on a one-year deal.
While Harper shouldn’t decide every move Mike Rizzo and the Washington Nationals should make, it might be important to give him an opinion on who he would like to play with. Down the road, it might help the two sides come closer to reaching a deal and keeping Harper in the Nation’s Capital for the foreseeable future.
It is understandable if the fans are frustrated that the Washington Nationals lose out on some free agents because of the budget and everyone knows what’s going on with the MASN situation. However, Rizzo needs to make sure he gets the right deal for any of these players.
If there was a choice between Wieters and Holland, the Washington Nationals need Holland more since they already added Derek Norris as the catcher earlier this winter. While Holland hasn’t pitched since 2015, he would add more depth to the late innings of the bullpen.
Right now, the Washington Nationals still have three open spots on the 40-man roster. They still have room to make some moves before spring training. It will be interesting to see what those moves will end up being. These tweets won’t be a big factor, but it’s definitely something to watch.