Nationals Aim To Improve Bullpen

As the worst team in baseball, the Nationals have many potential ways to improve for 2010.  We've already heard about their craving for better middle infield defense and a veteran starting pitcher.  Today's Bill Ladson learned of GM Mike Rizzo's plan to revamp the team's bullpen for next year. 

Rizzo considers the bullpen a "major point of emphasis for the offseason."  Ladson notes the fine work of Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard in 2009, but doesn't dig deeply into the Nats' plan for closer Mike MacDougal.  It's been a strange year for MacDougal, who has 14 saves in 15 tries despite striking out only 25 and walking 32 in 44.6 innings.  He did pitch legitimately well in August.  MacDougal is under team control for 2010 as an arbitration-eligible player.  Jeff Euston of Cot's Baseball Contracts suggested to me that he is in line for at least $3MM if the Nats tender him a contract.

Aside from the holdovers, Ladson believes Drew Storen could help the 2010 club.  Storen was drafted tenth overall by the Nats in June and is on the fast track to the Majors.

Regarding the free agent market, I can't see why the Nationals would spend significant money.  This year the Nats waited until March and signed Joe Beimel for a reasonable $2MM.

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