LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Nationals' top priority during the Winter Meetings is to improve their bullpen from the left side. They continue to have interest in several lefties -- Oliver Perez, J.P. Howell, Boone Logan and Scott Downs, according to a baseball source. All four lefties were successful in getting lefty hitters out. Howell was the best against lefty hitters, who had a .164 batting average against the southpaw.
However, an American League scout said that Logan would be the best choice for the Nationals even though Logan had bone chips removed from his elbow this offseason. The scout said Logan is not afraid to challenge a hitter with his fastball and he is more than a situational pitcher.
"Boone Logan is at the top of the list -- no question," the scout said. "Boone Logan gets left-handers and right-handers out. He is a power pitcher and he can get the fastball up to 97 miles per hour. That hard slider that he throws, he can handle right-handed hitters with that.
"With J.P. Howell, it's all deception with him. He has to be exact in order to get guys out. He has done a pretty good job with that changeup. He has gone better than 84, 85 as far as his fastball goes."
As of now, the Nationals are not close to striking a deal with any of the left-handers available. Last year, the Nationals used four lefties -- Zach Duke, Fernando Abad, Ian Krol and Xavier Cedeno -- and the results were mixed.
To start the season, Duke was the only lefty in the bullpen and then-manager Davey Johnson hardly used him.
Then came Abad and Krol. They got off to great starts, but by August, they were inconsistent and were hardly used during the month of September. Cedeno wasn't used consistently until the month of September.
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.