WASHINGTON -- Looking to improve from this past season, the Nationals have expressed interest in reliever Mike Gonzalez and infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa, according to two baseball sources. Both players are free agents.
This past season, Washington had the worst bullpen in the Major Leagues, going 24-39 with a 5.09 ERA and 33 saves. Gonzalez is a left-hander who can be a setup man and a closer.
Gonzalez played for the Braves in 2009 and had one of his best seasons, appearing in 80 games, recording a 2.92 ERA with 10 saves and 90 strikeouts. If he joins the Nationals, Gonzalez most likely would share the closer's role with right-hander Mike MacDougal, who is recovering from right hip surgery. MacDougal is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
As for DeRosa, he can play the corner outfield positions and all four infield positions. This past season, he played mostly at third base, but he wouldn't play there if he signs with the Nationals, because Ryan Zimmerman is a mainstay at the position. The Nationals mostly likely see DeRosa as a second baseman and right fielder.
DeRosa is not bad with the bat either, hitting a combined .250 with 23 home runs and 78 RBIs with the Indians and Cardinals in 2009. His best season was with the Rangers in '06, when he hit .296 with 13 home runs and 74 RBIs.
DeRosa started his career with the Braves and was drafted by Atlanta in 1996, when Stan Kasten was the team's president. Kasten now has the same role with the Nationals.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.