Pen : The talk right now is all LHRP. Javier Lopez is the hot guy right now, the team and Lopez expressing mutual interest. Boone Logan has also been named. I'd be fine with Logan. I'd hate Lopez. Allow me to explain.
In the relief discussion a few commenters mentioned that the LHRP is not only just "getting out lefties" but taking advantage of batters with really bad split numbers. If Ryan Howard hits .300 vs RHP and .100 with no power vs LHP then it would be silly to NOT bring in a lefty to face him. I can't disagree. My issue comes with the idea of the LOOGY though. Having a guy in your pen that only exists for the situation above, who cannot get out righties, is limiting. He can't really be used in trash time. He can't really be used to give you an inning. If the pen gets stretched during a couple of days, he's not really any help.
Enter Javy Lopez :
2013 RHB v Javy : .296 / .361 / .444
2012 RHB v Javy : .417 / .500 / .479
Yikes. That's a one-trick pony right there.
It's not that you can't carry a guy like that. You can. But you better be super confident in the rest of your pen because this is a two batters over 3 nights kind of guy. Are you that confident that Storen has cleared up his issues? That Soriano isn't on the way down? I'm not and thus would prefer someone that isn't as limited
An intriguing suggestion has been floated around that Sammy Solis, minor league SP prospect, could spend some time in the pen as a lefty specialist a la what the Cardinals might do. I'm thinking that's just tossed out there for negotiating with real targets. Sammy's LHB stats against last year was .284 / .333 / .432. In single A. That's not someone you want in your major league pen.
Bench : There will be a replacement for Tracy and Hairston will be back. Assuming the Tracy replacement is good then the Nats are already in better shape than they entered 2013. A new back-up catcher has at least been discussed. Given Ramos' injury history I think this is critical and Jhonatan Solano isn't going to cut it. Lombo and Moore will also be back. The question of course is why the hell Moore is back. Yes he hit .344 / .375 / .459 after coming back but like usual it was a hot start into a cold nothing, .250 / .308 / .417 over the last 15 games. The history with Moore is that his hot streaks are very hot but they are not sustainable and over the long haul he just can't compete at the major league level at the plate. Given that he contributes in no other way, and the plan of using Moore utterly failed last year, it's baffling to me why Moore would be back. I'll guess we'll have to see how much truth there is to this assumption
Starting Pitching : This bothers me more because I really get the vibe that the Nats are looking at not adding anyone to this staff. They probably will add somone, but going into 2014 thinking Roark and Jordan and Detwiler, etc. etc. is going to cut it... I just don't see how a team that has WS aspirations would believe that was a good strategy.
Their has been talk of Price (YES!) or Scherzer (OK!) or others but really those sound more like "If there's a favorable deal out there of course we do it" which isn't how a team should think during its window. With the WC situation changed the way it has, it's no longer enough to sneak in and let luck carry you to a title. You need that window wide open, even if it's briefly rather than open a crack for a long time.
Of course, again, all conjecture. I like that the Nats are looking to make changes where they are necessary in the pen and the bench. I don't like how in SP (which is more important) they seem pretty amibvalent.
Trade Span? Nope. Just Scott "Sherry Lewis" Boras speaking through John "LambChop" Heyman trying to drum up interest or apparent interest in Ellsbury. Nats deny this rumor straight up. I don't see it being true at all.
Tanner Roark & Taylor Jordan are not Tommy Milone & Brad Peacock.