The Washington Nationals’ winter-long search for a closer has seen the team connected to elite relievers and reclamation projects alike.
But with pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training in two weeks, Dusty Baker is no closer to knowing who he’ll hand the ball to in the ninth inning in 2017.
After striking out on multiple high-profile options early in the offseason, the Nationals on Tuesday announced they have signed Joe Nathan, who turned 42 in November, to a minor-league contract. The veteran right-hander has 377 career saves, but after pitching in 11 major-league games over the past two seasons, he can’t be relied upon as anything more than a low-risk flyer for Washington heading into spring training.
How did the Nationals get here?
“I’m at a shoe store later that day after Chris Mortensen reported that and the guy fitting my shoe said, ‘I heard you demanded a trade.’ And I laughed and I thought, ‘I don’t know where that comes from’ because that just wasn’t the case,” Cousins said. “I just called them and asked where their perspective was and where they were coming from and I just wanted to communicate. And then somehow MLB Cheap Jerseys From China it can get twisted to where an employee of the store is using the word ‘demand’ but that’s certainly not the approach that I took.”
Mortensen never used the word “demand” in his tweet, but the way it was phrased made it sound like there some hostility between the owner and quarterback. Cousins’ tone in the podcast was positive, but he didn’t exactly commit to playing to the Redskins long-term.
Cousins said he’ll have an “open mind” about his future, and says if Washington wins a Super Bowl this season he expects to be signed to another franchise tag. It seems unlikely Washington would tag him a third time considering how much it would cost (upwards of $34 million), but Cousins seemed firm with his belief.