Nationals need veteran presence on pitching staff

Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman said he agrees with team president Stan Kasten and general manager Mike Rizzo that the team’s biggest need this offseason is adding a veteran presence to the pitching staff.

The team currently has right-hander Livan Hernandez on the staff, but there are no guarantees he will be back in 2010.

Riggleman acknowledged that the Nationals had interest in veterans such as right-handers John Smoltz and Vicente Padilla when they became free agents recently, but those two pitchers wanted to play on winning teams. Padilla signed with the Dodgers, while Smoltz signed with the Cardinals.
“They can pick and choose where they go,” Riggleman said. “They wanted to be with a first-place club. [They had a chance] to be with a first-place club, so they chose the Cardinals and Dodgers, [respectively]. That’s the type of guy we are identifying now — people like that over the winter.”   

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