WASHINGTON -- Several teams have filled a need at closer this offseason, yet the Nationals still find themselves without one. Finding bullpen help was perhaps Washington's top priority entering the offseason, and the club remains almost certain to add to its relief corps before next season begins, even though it has been unsuccessful in its first few attempts.
The Nationals made offers to free agents Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen, before they signed with the Giants and Dodgers, respectively. The club also had reported interest in Brad Ziegler before he signed with the Marlins, was in on Wade Davis before he was shipped to the Cubs and has been connected to virtually every reliever who could change homes this offseason.
The top free-agent option is likely former Royals closer Greg Holland, although there is some uncertainty there, considering that he is coming off Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for the 2016 season. Perhaps the Nationals could consider a pair of former Giants relievers with closing experience in Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, if they value bringing in someone who has done the job. The Nationals haven't been connected to either pitcher.
In the trade market, the Nationals have had interest in White Sox closer David Robertson, but after numerous talks with Chicago in regard to Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, the sides have not been able to find a match for Robertson. The Rays could move Alex Colome after his breakout 2016 season, but he would likely command a hefty prospect price. At this point last offseason, however, Colome would not have been considered a major closing option. Before his 37 saves in 2016, he had never converted any.
So perhaps the Nationals already have a closer on their roster, and like Colome, all that player needs is a chance.
They have numerous in-house options with the arsenal and the perceived "makeup" to pitch the ninth inning, even if they lack experience in that role. Shawn Kelley has the profile with his strikeout ability. Blake Treinen has the ability to induce groundouts, and did so often last season in significant spots with inherited runners. Koda Glover, who is the club's No. 9 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, has a high-90s-mph fastball and wipeout slider that produced high strikeout totals in the Minors.
Maybe one of those pitchers is the next standout closer, but the question remains, are the Nationals ready to take that chance entering a season for which they have such high aspirations?
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.