Mike Rizzo introduced closer Rafael Soriano Thursday at Nationals Park.
Across baseball, teams are looking at their projected rosters, figuring out what holes still remain and making a final push to address those needs before departing for Florida or Arizona. In Washington, though, there doesn't appear to be any shopping or fine-tuning left to accomplish.
Two major transactions last week -- the signing of closer Rafael Soriano and the trade of Michael Morse -- essentially wrapped up the offseason for the Nationals. General manager Mike Rizzo said as much on Thursday when asked if he's done for the winter.
"Yeah, we like the team we have," he said.
Rizzo clarified that by insisting "we're always open for business if something pops up that makes us better." But make no mistake: The Nationals aren't actively looking to add anything else of consequence to their roster before the start of spring training.
Really, what other area of need is there?
-- The Nationals made the necessary tweaks to their everyday lineup, adding Denard Span, retaining Adam LaRoche and trading Morse.
-- They bolstered what was already one of the sport's best rotations with veteran Dan Haren, who takes over the spot vacated by Edwin Jackson.
-- They really bolstered what was already a deep bullpen with last week's surprise signing of Soriano, who (practically speaking) takes over the spot vacated by Sean Burnett (though not the precise role).
-- The bench was already set with holdovers from last season.
If there's anything the Nationals are still seeking, it's upper-level, minor-league pitching depth. Though even that hole appears less gaping with the re-signing of long reliever/emergency starter Zach Duke, the addition of right-hander Ross Ohlendorf on a minor-league contract and the decision to convert Christian Garcia into a starter.
One domino effect of Soriano's signing was increased bullpen depth, giving the organization more opportunity to let Garcia go back to Class AAA and re-establish himself as a starter who could be called upon in case of injury.
"We were going to -- and now it makes it easier -- to stretch Garcia out as a starter," Rizzo said. "He'd be one of the guys we'd feel comfortable going and reaching for if something were to happen to one of our five [starters]."
Rizzo said he's still searching for more pitching depth, and perhaps there will be another addition of a Class AAA starter before camp opens (or even during spring training). But barring something unforeseen, the Nationals have the roster they want with three weeks to go.
Call it yet another sign of progress for a franchise that always arrived for spring training with major question marks but now has positioned itself as well as it possibly could to make a serious run at the World Series.
That belief isn't confined to those within the organization. Across baseball, the Nationals are being applauded and touted as one of the sport's best, even considered early World Series favorites by multiple pundits.
The byproduct of all that positive attention: This team will arrive in Viera, Fla., in three weeks with expectations sky-high for the first time in franchise history. How these players -- especially those who have never been in this position before -- handle all the attention and raised expectations could prove to be the biggest storyline of the season.
"We're going to have to learn how to deal with having the bull's-eye on our back," Rizzo said. "I think the maturity of the club will handle it. You've got a leader of the team who has been there before and knows how to do it and isn't afraid of it.
"But we're not sneaking up on anybody anymore. People know we have a good club and they're going to be shooting for us every time out. It'll be up to the players to react to that and to handle it in a way that positively motivates them and not negatively."