MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Murphy, Revere key newcomers for Nationals

Murphy, Revere key newcomers for Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals made a handful of changes this offseason. They were able to balance their starting lineup and add bullpen help.

With that in mind here is a look at the "new guys" who could have an impact on the Nats this year.

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OF Ben Revere: With Denard Span no longer on the team, Revere will be the center fielder and leadoff hitter. Revere is coming off one of his best seasons in the big leagues, hitting a combined .306 with 45 RBIs, 31 stolen bases and a .342 on-base percentage with the Phillies and Blue Jays in 2015.

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2B Daniel Murphy: By getting Murphy, the Nationals will surrender a first-round Draft pick because he rejected the Mets' qualifying offer worth $15.8 million. New York will get a compensation pick between the first and second rounds. The Nats' lineup was dominated by right-handed hitters last season, so they needed a left-handed hitter to join Bryce Harper in the lineup. The left-handed-hitting Murphy was a solid hitter for the Mets the past seven years, sporting a .288 career average, and he could help balance Washington's lineup.

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INF Stephen Drew: He will hope to challenge for regular playing time at shortstop, where Danny Espinosa is the favorite and prospect Trea Turner is waiting in the wings. If Drew does not win the job, he will back up Espinosa at short and Murphy at second base.

RHP Trevor Gott: Acquired from the Angels in a trade for third baseman Yunel Escobar, Gott appeared in 48 games and had a 3.02 ERA for the Halos in 2015. His fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s.

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OF Chris Heisey: A non-roster invitee, Heisey will be reunited with manager Dusty Baker, whom he played for during his four seasons in the Majors, when both were with the Reds. Heisey's best campaign was in 2011, when he hit a career-high 18 home runs with 50 RBIs in 279 at-bats.

RHP Shawn Kelley: He is expected to join Felipe Rivero as one of the setup men in the bullpen. Kelley is coming off his best season, appearing in 53 games for the Padres and striking out 11.5 batters per nine innings.

LHP Oliver Perez: In his second stint in the Nationals' organization, Perez is expected to be a situational lefty out of the bullpen. A starter by trade, Perez has been a reliever the past four seasons, during which he appeared in 253 games with a 3.67 ERA and 238 strikeouts in 196 1/3 innings. Perez joins Rivero as the lefties in Washington's bullpen.

RHP Yusmeiro Petit: He is expected to be the long man out of the bullpen, replacing Craig Stammen. Petit is best known in Washington for pitching six shutout innings of relief for the Giants in Game 2 of the 2014 National League Division Series against the Nats, who lost the game in 18 innings. It wouldn't be a surprise if Baker gave him an occasional start.

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.