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“I’m still a work in progress … I’m not going to stop working.”

The price to acquire Span was high. Meyer is a 6-foot-9 flame-throwing right-hander who represented the Nationals in the 2012 Futures Game in Kansas City. One of their first-round draft picks from an impressive 2011 haul, Meyer was on the fast track to the majors.

The Nationals knew the cost would be significant, just as they knew the price would be high when they acquired Gio Gonzalez from Oakland for four prospects last December. They thought it was worth it.

“To get a good, established major league player at Denard’s age with the contract that he has, you’re going to have to give up a good, quality player,” Rizzo said.

“To give up an Alex Meyer for Denard Span, it’s always a difficult decision to make. But it was one we felt fit our timeframe, fit our skill set and was something that the front office and ownership was willing to do.”