Nationals Today – 1/19

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The Washington Nationals are close to a deal with free-agent reliever John Coffey. If they were to sign him it would be an interesting move for Washington, considering they’ve already made moves this winter to sure up both their starting rotation and their bullpen. He’d likely serve as a set up guy or a seventh inning guy and pitch in front of Clippard and Storen if the deal gets done.

I think the signing here would be a move designed to limit the use of their starting pitchers. With eight potential starters vying for five spots, it is really easy to just throw the “losers” into the bullpen. A strong bullpen though means that you aren’t settling with the arms you put in there, which also makes the competition for the starting rotation much more intense.  Coffey will add depth, a thing that Mike Rizzo is clearly very fond of.

Avoiding Arbitration

The Nats signed Michael Morse and Doug Slaten to one-year deals today to avoid going to arbitration this winter. Morse signed for a base salary of $1.05 million with the potential of $300,000 in performance bonuses, and Slaten inked a deal for $695,000 after a strong showing in 2010.

Judging by last years Brian Bruney disaster, avoiding arbitration at the cost of a few bucks is totally worth the effort. For those of you who don’t remember, Bruney went to arbitration with the Nationals and Kasten’s arguments about the reliever shook him to the point where he never full recovered. The loss of confidence eventually led to his release after some very poor performances.

Must Reads:

Beyond the Box Score gives their take on the Gorzelanny deal…
So does Fangraphs, in an article that looks at the Nationals aspirations for 2012…
Hardball Times ranks Adam Dunn’s contract with the White Sox one of the top five best deals of the year.

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