3 Moves the Nationals Should Make Before the 2021 MLB Season Starts

What moves does GM Mike Rizzo still have left in store for the Washington Nationals before Opening Day?
What moves does GM Mike Rizzo still have left in store for the Washington Nationals before Opening Day? / Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

2020 was always likely to be a let-down season for the Washington Nationals after their improbable World Series run the year before, and that's exactly what ended up happening for Mike Rizzo's roster. Now the Nats general manager faces a stacked division again in 2021, hoping to rekindle some of the magic from 2019.

Besides a big trade for first baseman Josh Bell and a surprise signing of slugger Kyle Schwarber, Rizzo has put most of his focus into the bullpen this offseason. Brad Hand is expected to take over the closing duties, with other veterans like Luis Avilan and T.J. McFarland joining the fold.

Washington still has work to do if they want to compete with franchises like the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies however. Here are three moves that they should still make before Opening Day.

3. Sign Some Bench Pop

Toronto Blue Jays v Atlanta Braves
The Nationals have signed extra bats like Matt Adams in the past, but will they do the same this offseason? / Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Nats have a nice starting lineup, but their current bench lacks pop. The relic, Ryan Zimmerman, probably has the most power left on his bat outside of the starters and that's not something to be excited about. Players like Maikel Franco, Jedd Gyorko, Matt Adams and even Ryan Braun are still available. Adams is a name that Washington has employed before, but none of these players should be too expensive at this point in the process. A more high-risk high-reward flier could be Yoenis Cespedes.

2. Add Starting Pitching Depth

Homer Bailey
Washington could ramp up their rotational depth by signing Homer Bailey. / Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

Washington could still use some bottom of the rotation pitching depth, behind their big three of Maz Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Jon Lester was the main addition this offseason in that regard, but the ex-Chicago Cub and Boston Red Sox starter is at the tail-end of his career. Joe Ross, Erick Fedde and Austin Voth are in the mix for the fifth spot, but you can always use more starting pitching in this league. Rizzo is a huge supporter of this mantra, and there are still plenty of arms available. Homer Bailey might be the perfect fit.

1. Replace Jeremy Jeffress

Jeremy Jeffress
After the surprise release of Jeremy Jeffress, the Nationals have a need for another late-inning reliever. / Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Set-up man Jeremy Jeffress was one of the Nationals' best acquisitions this Winter, at least on paper. The reliever had a 1.54 ERA in 2020, and a 3.08 career ERA in 414 games. Then, to everyone's surprise, Jeffress was released a few days ago for unspecified reasons. Whatever the issue was, this disappointing turn of events creates a hole in the Washington pen. The Nats must fill it with a veteran arm like Shane Greene or David Robertson.

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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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