LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- According to a baseball source, "a lot of teams" have asked about the Nationals' setup men -- Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen -- at the Winter Meetings, but as of right now, talks have not heated up.
"We feel good about our seventh- and eighth-inning guys," general manager Mike Rizzo said.
The Nats are looking to improve their bench -- a backup catcher and infielder -- and acquire left-handers for their bullpen. Other teams are most likely looking at Clippard and Storen as closers.
According to published reports, the Cubs have shown interest in Storen, who was drafted as a closer and saved a career-high 43 games in 2011. Storen, who struggled in the 2012 National League Division Series against the Cardinals, lost his closer's job after the Nationals signed free agent Rafael Soriano to a two-year deal last January.
The role change appeared to affect Storen on the mound, with his struggles leading to the righty being sent to Triple-A Syracuse for a couple of weeks. After he returned, Storen had a 1.40 ERA in 21 games.
Clippard has spent most of his big league career as a setup man, but he spent most of 2012 as the team's closer while Storen was recovering from an elbow injury. That year, Clippard saved 32 games and had a 3.72 ERA. This past season, Clippard laid claim to being Washington's best reliever, going 6-4 with a 2.41 ERA.
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.Less