12/8/2013 4:00 P.M. ET
Rizzo out to bolster bench at Winter Meetings
GM and brain trust looking to make moves to cement club as a contender
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and his brain trust have arrived at the Winter Meetings, looking to make the team World Series contenders.
MLB.com will keep you up to date on what's going on with the Nationals during the Meetings, which begin on Monday. Those updates will be on nationals.com and Twitter -- @washingnats. Rizzo is expected to have afternoon sessions with the local media. He is known to be tight-lipped, so it will be interesting to see what he says during the four days.
New manager Matt Williams is also expected to talk to the media on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET, giving his take on the team.
Washington enters the Winter Meetings looking to improve its bench. It already took a step in that direction on Friday by signing Nate McLouth, who will serve as the team's fourth outfielder. Also on the club's wish list is a middle infielder who can spell Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond.
The Nationals are also in need of a backup catcher. They want a player who can play every day if Wilson Ramos misses any significant amount of time because of injuries. The team is clearly not confident with Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano as the backups.
"We need to straighten out our bench and have some guys that can contribute, not only in pinch-hitting roles and short stints, [but as everyday players if a key guy is injured for a long period of time]," Rizzo said.
The club also needs bullpen help. As of now, based on last year's 25-man roster, Xavier Cedeno is the only lefty remaining. The Nationals recently traded southpaws Fernando Abad and Ian Krol.
"We can improve ourselves in our bullpen," Rizzo said. "We could certainly improve ourselves with left-handed relief pitching, although I think we are deeper and more talented this year than we were last year."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.