No Bryce Harper (yet), but Mike Rizzo's 'satisfied' with Nats roster

Josh Luckenbaugh
February 18, 2019 - 12:40 pm

While the rest of the baseball world is focused on the Bryce Harper free agent saga, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has said all he wants to say -- for now -- on the All-Star slugger. 

"We're going to talk about players we have on the team. We’re not going to talk about players we don’t have on the team," Rizzo said during MLB's annual spring training media day on Sunday.

As for the players the Nats do have, Rizzo says he's satisfied with the roster as is, without Harper. 

“I really like the roster that we constructed so far,” said Rizzo. “I think we filled all the gaps we needed to fill. You never say never. You never say you’re done. But we’re really satisfied at this particular time of spring training where we’re at and the roster that we have.”

The Nats have been the busiest team in baseball this offseason, adding All-Star starting pitcher Patrick Corbin, catchers Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki, second baseman Brian Dozier, first baseman Matt Adams, relievers Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal and back of the rotation starters Anibal Sanchez and Jeremy Hellickson, in addition to trading veteran starter Tanner Roark to the Reds for minor league pitcher Tanner Rainey.  

“We like what we’ve done this offseason,” Rizzo said. “We made a lot of moves, because we needed to make a lot of moves. We lost a lot of players due to free agency this year, and I think we got some really veteran presence with the ability of guys who have performed in the past, and guys who will give us a chance to compete for really big things this year.”

But despite his satisfaction with the current Nats roster, Rizzo has yet to shut the door on Harper returning to Washington.

“We made it clear to him he was loved here and we wanted him to stay here,” Rizzo told The New York Times last week. “We felt that since he’s our player, we have this window to figure out if we can get a deal done. But we also had to put an expiration date on it, because how do you do other business if you don’t have an expiration date on that offer?

“That doesn’t mean that we can’t circle back and do something another time — including now — but we felt that Harp was our primary goal, and we had a strategy and a plan put together to make him a good, fair offer. But we felt that the expiration date on that was as important, because once free agency started, we had to be able to go out and look at other avenues with the mind-set that we could always circle back if we had to.”

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