MLB Hot Stove Rumors: Nationals in position to make splash in winter meetings
Mike Rizzo could go big-game hunting soon
With the winter meetings a week away, it's time to kindle the hot stove. One team well-positioned to do just that? The Washington Nationals.
Fresh off a Divisional Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Nationals have every reason to act aggressively this winter, all with an eye on pushing deeper into next postseason. How aggressive might the Nationals get? Would you buy aggressive enough to land Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale? Here's what ESPN's Buster Olney wrote on Monday:
The White Sox have told the Cubs they won't deal with them, but it appears that a handful of teams -- the Dodgers, Cardinals, Rangers, Nationals and Astros, among others -- have a legitimate shot at landing MLB's second-best left-hander.
The Nationals make sense as a potential Sale landing spot for multiple reasons, including, most notably, they have the necessary amount of high-caliber prospects and payroll space. They also have great incentive to make a splash, owed to the idea of making the most of what remains of Bryce Harper's team control -- he's expected to test free agency following the 2018 season. Factor in how general manager Mike Rizzo doesn't have many holes to fill -- he needs a new catcher, which, good luck, and a new closer -- and you can understand why he could pick this winter as the right time to swing for the fences.
Were such a scenario to play out, the Nationals could then insert Sale into a rotation that already features Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg -- talk about a fearsome threesome to face in a short series. Sprinkle in Joe Ross and Tanner Roark, and the Nationals could theoretically recoup some lost talent via a subsequent Gio Gonzalez trade.
Of course, all of this is easier to talk about and dream about than actually do. All we know for certain is that the Nationals have the resources to win the offseason. As such, you'd be wise to keep an eye on them.