NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As of Wednesday evening, general manager Mike Rizzo was doing his best to improve the Nationals at the 2015 Winter Meetings. He'd like to add depth to the starting rotation, so Rizzo made a contract offer to right-hander Mike Leake.
The chances of the Nationals signing the 28-year-old Leake are "iffy at best." It's not clear what kind of contract Leake is looking for, but a published report said the D-backs offered the right-hander a five-year deal.
"It's as serious as a lot of the talks that we have. We are checking a lot of fronts for pitching and position player-wise," Rizzo said. "I wouldn't describe it as any further along than a lot of other things that we have.
"We are always in the market to improve the ballclub any way we can. If you have to strengthen the strength or try to refine a weakness -- there are different, different strategies going on all the time."
After losing out on the Ben Zobrist sweepstakes to the Cubs, the Nationals are looking to acquire a left-handed bat. They expressed interest in Neil Walker, but talks between the Nationals and Pirates never heated up. The Pirates ended up trading Walker to the Mets for left-hander Jon Niese.
"We would like to be more balanced," Rizzo said. "If we have a quality player that improves our lineup and improves our club, we certainly going to look at all avenues of it."
It looks like Rizzo will leave the Winter Meetings with a much better bullpen. The Nationals agreed to terms with right-hander Shawn Kelley, pending a physical, while also working on signing right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, according to a baseball source.
Kelley, who is expected to pitch in the late innings for Washington, had the best year of his career in 2015, playing in 53 games with a 2.45 ERA for the Padres.
If the Nationals sign Petit, who was non-tendered by the Giants recently, he will most likely be a long man out of the bullpen. Washington is looking to revamp its bullpen after it struggled in the second half of '15, but Rizzo is still open to trading arms at the the back-end of the bullpen -- Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen.