The Nationals are looking to contend in 2012 after finishing the 2011 season with an 80-81 record. GM Mike Rizzo discussed his offseason plans with Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com. Here are the highlights of their conversation:
- Plans can change, but the Nationals are currently comfortable with Adam LaRoche at first base and Michael Morse as a possible alternative. Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols loom as MVP-caliber options for teams willing to spend.
- Rizzo said he’d like to improve the offense and explained that LaRoche could help the Nationals score by returning to his career norms in 2012.
- Rizzo said the Nationals will look to “tweak” their lineup this offseason and suggested a major signing is not particularly likely.
- The Nationals will make “every effort” to keep Ryan Zimmerman long-term. Rizzo expects to try to hammer out an extension with the third baseman, whose contract expires after 2013.
- The Nationals feel “pretty confident” that manager Davey Johnson will remain in place for years to come. However, they’re holding off on making official announcements about Johnson's 2012 status until after the World Series because they haven’t completed their due diligence regarding other candidates.
- Bryce Harper’s timeline hasn’t changed. The top prospect’s arrival in the Major Leagues depends on how quickly he develops.