The Nationals have made late-winter signings in the past, and there’s certainly opportunity for the club to do so again given the large number of available free agents, MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman writes. While the idea of the Nats signing Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, or Lance Lynn at a discounted price in March is tempting for a team that has toyed with upgrading the rotation, Zuckerman feels that Washington is more likely to add a reliever if a late signing is indeed in the cards. On the whole, the Nats aren’t under any real pressure to make any sort of move, given their deep roster.
Here’s more from around the NL East…
- The Mets have shown some interest in free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. It’s possible they’ll be on hand for Lincecum’s upcoming showcase, though Heyman notes that it’s unclear which teams will join the previously reported Giants in attendance. Lincecum didn’t pitch at all in 2017 and it has been some time since he has been both healthy and effective, though scouts from several clubs are expected to check out the former two-time Cy Young Award winner.
- Anthony Swarzak’s two-year, $14MM contract from the Mets might not have been possible without some advice from Mickey Callaway, Swarzak tells the New York Daily News’ Peter Botte. The right-hander and his new manager first crossed paths in 2015 when Swarzak was pitching for the Indians and Callaway was the team’s pitching coach, and it was Callaway who pressed upon Swarzak the importance of better conditioning. “Most of [Callaway’s advice] was in the weight room and really dedicating myself off the field,” Swarzak said. “I didn’t really want to hear it at the time. But I took his advice and here we are three years later and I’m better than ever and throwing harder and doing things athletically in my delivery that I couldn’t do before. I know that’s what he was trying to get at, and I thank him now.” A major velocity boost helped Swarzak post a career year in 2017, with a 2.33 ERA, 10.6 K/9 and a 4.14 K/BB rate over 77 1/3 IP with the White Sox and Brewers.
- The Phillies’ bench situation is broken down by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, who notes that defensive versatility will be at a premium for a team that may have just four bench spots available. The Phils may need to deploy an eight-man bullpen to account for its injury-laden rotation, which leaves less room for position players in general, and especially players who can only fit in at one position (i.e. first baseman Tommy Joseph). Two of the bench spots are already filled by outfielder Nick Williams and the backup catcher, leaving a utility infield job up for grabs in Spring Training and possibly another reserve outfield job as well.