“We have a plan that has some tweaks to it,” Rizzo said. “We have some plans that, if it works out, you could do a more impactful addition to the club. We’re open for any or all type of situations that help us get better.”
The Nationals’ various scenarios hinge on what happens with first baseman Adam LaRoche. The Nationals and LaRoche’s representatives from his agency, SFX, have been in touch multiple times since the end of the season, Rizzo said, but the sides are currently allowing LaRoche to seek out interested teams and determine what the price to sign him would be.
Rizzo wants to bring LaRoche back after he hit 33 home runs and won a Gold Glove. He also became a solidifying clubhouse presence, and his left-handed bat fit perfectly into the middle of the Nationals’ lineup. But “we have other options, so that makes it less critical” to re-sign him, Rizzo said.
The Nationals could move Michael Morse to first base. The possibilities then become boundless. The team feels Tyler Moore has the ability to be an everyday player, and they could simply move him to left field. More likely, Washington would try to acquire a high-impact outfielder. Rizzo said he would feel comfortable leaving Bryce Harper in center field and Jayson Werth at leadoff next year, and so they could add any kind of player in the outfield.
They could vie for a center fielder who flies around the outfield and reaches base often, such as Michael Bourn. Or they could try to trade for a slugging corner outfielder such as Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rizzo drafted Upton with the first overall pick when he served as Arizona’s scouting director.
“Good impact players are attractive to us and we’ve got the flexibility that we’re not keyholed into center field, leadoff, first base,” Rizzo said. “We’ve got a team that’s versatile enough that we can look at a broader picture and get an impact player for us if his skill set fits our club. We don’t necessarily have to look at a leadoff-center fielder like we did a couple years ago because we can move Harper to the corner, get a guy in center, keep Harper in center, get a corner guy, keep guys in the corner, stay with the team we have. There’s a lot of things.”