- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 12, 2015

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo met with reporters at Nationals Winterfest on Saturday and touched on a number of topics:

Rizzo said the Nationals have suspended any pursuit of Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. Major League Baseball is looking into domestic violence allegations against Chapman.

A police report obtained by Yahoo! Sports said Chapman had fired gunshots in the garage of his home after arguing with his girlfriend. Chapman’s girlfriend also alleged he choked her. Chapman has denied the allegations, and no arrests were made. “It’s something that we’re not going to continue to go after until we find out what… with how things have happened,” Rizzo said. “Something that we don’t want to get into that because of the allegations against him. There’s plenty of other targets that we have and we’re going to move onto those.”

Rizzo on Jason Heyward signing with Chicago Cubs: “It’s a disappointment, obviously, that we didn’t land Jason. … Those things are expected. We have alternative plans for everything we get done and for things we don’t get done. We wish him well and we’ll certainly make arrangements to improve the roster other ways.”

— Lucas Giolito will be in Major League camp at spring training this season. Rizzo said they will still be cautious with the 21-year-old top prospect.



— Swinging Anthony Rendon back to third base prompted the Nationals to trade Yunel Escobar, Rizzo said. He was an extra piece that brought relief help. “We thought we did really well in the swap for two right-handed relief pitchers,” Rizzo said.

— Trevor Gott’s role in the bullpen will be determined by spring training, Rizzo said.

Rizzo said the Nationals made competitive market value offers to Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Darren O’Day. “Things came into play that they decided to go other places,” Rizzo said. The common theme as to why they didn’t come to Washington? “I don’t see any common three between the three other than they chose the teams they chose over many, many other teams that had interesting in them,” Rizzo said.

— Asked if he has seen enough from Trea Turner to be the everyday shortstop, Rizzo quickly said, “Yeah.”

— Closer Jonathan Papelbon and former closer Drew Storen will not be at Winterfest. Rizzo said each had prior plans set before the dates of the event were announced.

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