The Washington Nationals remain bold despite baseball’s hot stove season remaining lukewarm. They are still the team to beat in the NL East.
Although you did not expect the Washington Nationals to be busy in the off-season, you have to wonder if somebody forgot to plug in the hot stove.
The Nats bolstered their bullpen by re-signing Brandon Kintzler and kept a power bat on their bench nabbing Matt Adams from the Atlanta Braves. Outside of the Miami Marlins fire sale and Shohei Ohtani hitching with the Los Angeles Angels, it remains quiet.
Wade Davis needs the solitude to count his millions from the Colorado Rockies.
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Of the 12 free agents the Nats have, only three are signed. Kintzler, Ryan Raburn to a minor-league deal and Jose Lobaton moved to the New York Mets on a spring invite and minor-league contract. No truth to the rumor players are spending the winter learning how to remove their own helmets.
Unless you are a bullpen pitcher headed for Denver, you are not on the top of anyone’s list either. Poor Gerrit Cole of the Pittsburgh Pirates was all but traded to the New York Yankees twice as Manny Machado laughs at what the Baltimore Orioles wanted for him.
This is a most unusual winter. For the Nats that is fine.
Keeping Kintzler was a nice surprise. Sure, they asked about Davis and looked over Greg Holland, but the bullpen is in excellent shape heading toward the season.
Alex Avila remains on the open market, but Washington thinks the battle to spell Matt Wieters can stay in-house. In a National League East growing easier to win, there is not pressure to trade for or sign a big-name starter. They need one, but have the trade chips and a rare luxury of time to wait.
This is the same core that won 97 games last season. Adam Eaton returns from injury as Bryce Harper hits a contract year. Even as those big names tick off the board elsewhere, the Nats remain loaded and division favorites.
The lack of news or hot rumors puts a damper on this time of year. But, you cannot win in October now. In Washington’s case, patience is a true virtue.