Rizzo disappointed Nats couldn't land Heyward

Rizzo disappointed Nats couldn't land Heyward

WASHINGTON -- General manager Mike Rizzo said he was disappointed the Nationals were unable to acquire free-agent outfielder Jason Heyward, who decided to sign with the Cubs on Friday.

According to reports, the Nationals offered Heyward a $200-million contract. If he had joined the Nationals, Heyward would have been the starting center fielder.

"Jason is a great player, great citizen and all-around good," Rizzo said. "We have alternative plans for things. We wish Jason well. We will certainly make arrangements to improve the roster in other ways."

During the Winter Meetings, Rizzo did manage to improve the Nats' bullpen by acquiring Shawn Kelley, Trevor Gott and Yusmeiro Petit. To get Gott, the Nationals traded Yunel Escobar to the Angels. Gott's fastball is clocked in the mid to high 90s.

"We took a good look at Gott's delivery and the way he attacks hitters," Rizzo said. "It was something that we really liked. We think he is going to be a major factor -- not only this year, but down the road, too."

Rizzo likes the way Kelley attacks hitters. Kelley has a really good sinking fastball and a wipe-out slider. As far as Petit goes, he can be a starter and long man. He will replace Craig Stammen as the long man.

Nationals land Kelley

Rizzo also announced the Nationals are not interest in Aroldis Chapman -- for now -- because of the domestic violence allegations against him.

"[Our interest has] changed with the allegations against him," Rizzo said. "We are not going to continue to go after him until we find out what happened. We don't want to get into that because of the allegations against him. We have plenty of other targets. We are going to move on to those."

The Nationals are looking for a left-handed bat at either center field or second base. Rizzo indicated that he stays in touch with free-agent outfielder Denard Span, but wants to make sure Span is healthy. Span is still recovering from left hip surgery.

"[Span] enjoyed his time here," Rizzo said. "The main thing about him is to see where his health is as we move forward into the offseason."

According to MLB.com's Thomas Harding, Washington also had off-and-on talks with the Rockies about outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon. Both players are left-handed hitters. The Rockies want pitching in return.

Rizzo also announced that right-hander Lucas Giolito -- the Nationals' No. 1 prospect according to MLB.com -- will also be invited to big league Spring Training for the first time in 2016.

"We are going to be caretaker [of] his workload and his innings," Rizzo said. "We expect big things from Lucas Giolito -- not only in 2016, but down the road."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.