Rizzo pleased with young players' progress

Rizzo pleased with young players' progress

WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said his most pleasant surprise this season has been the maturation of the team's young players, including shortstop Ian Desmond, second baseman Danny Espinosa, catcher Wilson Ramos and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann.

"They have progressed to the point that there is a lot of excitement for the future," Rizzo said.

Rizzo also said his biggest disappointment was not winning enough games. Entering Sunday, Washington had 77 wins. He said the team has lacked the ability to deliver a clutch hit with runners in scoring position.

Rizzo is going to try to fix the problem this offseason. He wants hitters with a high on-base percentage, a top-of-the-order bat to fill one of the outfield positions in center field or right field, if Jayson Werth moves over to center.

The Nats have enough pitching depth on their Major League roster and Minor League system that they could make a trade for an outfielder.

"We would discuss trading some of our pitching to fill some of our needs, if the trade makes sense to us," Rizzo said.

The team is also looking for a starting pitcher who would have an immediate impact and could help the young hurlers such as Zimmermann and right-hander Stephen Strasburg. It was reported by MLB.com earlier this week that the Nationals were scouting Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson, who is a free agent after this season.

"We are an outfield bat away and a starting pitcher away from being a contender in the division," Rizzo said.