District On Deck Writers Answer Four Questions Before Spring Training

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Sean Doolittle #63 of the Washington Nationals celebrates in the locker room after defeating the Houston Astros in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros with a score of 6 to 2. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Sean Doolittle #63 of the Washington Nationals celebrates in the locker room after defeating the Houston Astros in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros with a score of 6 to 2. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Mark Melancon
Mark Melancon #43 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after a victory against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on October 2, 2016, in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

What is one more move you would like to see the team make?

James: A team can never have too much pitching. The Nationals recent history should be a large enough example of this concept. From the stockpiling of bullpen arms throughout the summer of 2019 to employing a laundry list of players to start games during an injury-riddled 2020 season, having depth at the pitching position is no joke.

For this reason, I do believe the Nationals should sign another arm for depth purposes. With the market being as such this year, adding a couple of guys on minor league contracts could go a long way as injury insurance. Joe Ross hasn’t pitched in over a year, and the Austin Voth/Erick Fedde experiment was a rocky one last year.

There are several veteran pitchers out there still to be had and the Nats should take a flier on one of them. Wouldn’t even have to be a major league contract. Grabbing an innings eating arm on a minors deal could pay big dividends down the road.

Ben: I think this team has done a pretty solid job filling in the obvious holes and the Brad Hand signing, I think moves the needle a bit in the NL East. However, the lineup seems to lack a right-handed power bat, and I am in favor of the club pursuing a power-hitting infielder that you could plug in at third base. With the options dwindling on the free-agent market, the front office may have to get creative. Some names that come to mind would be switch-hitting third baseman Jose Ramirez or even Yankees oft-injured slugger Miguel Andújar, who’s had some defensive issues, but is a force at the plate if healthy.

Max: Most fans want to see Washington add a bridge third baseman but I think that’s a mistake. Yes, Carter Kieboom has yet to prove he belongs at the pro level, but he hasn’t been given a full chance. Entering 2020, many were skeptical of his defense and he quickly impressed, posting 5 DRS. Here’s hoping his bat will follow suit.

In that case, I would love to see the Nats sign Mark Melancon. The bullpen has already become a strength, but why not bolster it even more? Melancon was with the Nats for the second half of the 2016 season and was able to rebuild his stock over the last two years in Atlanta. In his two seasons with the Braves, went 3-1, with a 3.30 ERA, 38 strikeouts, and a 2.81 FIP. Melancon has 205 career saves to only 34 blown saves, providing Rizzo with another closer. Already 35, the veteran wouldn’t be very expensive and would help put the relief corps over the top. You can never have too much bullpen help.

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