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Lunchtime tidbits

Dec 6, 2010, 5:55 PM EDT

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Some lunchtime tidbits for you from the Winter Meetings…

– The Jayson Werth signing continues to be the biggest topic of discussion here at the Swan and Dolphin Resort. I stopped counting how many people have approached me so far today and before saying anything else asked me something along the lines of: "What the #$%^ are the Nationals doing?" There's definitely a feeling among executives from other clubs that this is going to have major ramifications on the rest of the baseball world, and not in a good way. The price on a bunch of other guys has gone up considerably, starting with Carl Crawford. One exec I talked to also said he thinks the Adrian Gonzalez-to-Boston trade was temporarily killed yesterday as a direct result of the Werth contract.

– The Nationals, as I suggested earlier this morning, are most certainly not finished. The consensus around here is that they wouldn't have done the Werth deal if they weren't also planning more significant moves. There's definitely some chatter here about Josh Willingham, and there are definitely teams interested in the outfielder. I think any trade the Nationals pull off that lands a pitcher would almost have to include Willingham as part of the package.

– Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche continue to be the two most likely targets at first base, but it's also not out of the question that the Nats could acquire a replacement there via trade. One name to keepRead more »

  1. NervousNatsFan - Dec 6, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    – Man, I didn't realize I'd set off such a firestorm with my not-so-innocent suggestion earlier of a big surprise move the Nats were potentially working on.Oh come on, it's Monday morning, did you really expect that everyone would be working instead of scouring every possible blog for hints of who it could be?

  2. Bowdenball - Dec 6, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Mark-Here's a message you can pass along to those MLB execs who are upset about the deal from this Nats fan:You spent five years screwing us, stealing our best prospects for nothing and running the franchise into the ground before finally selling it to the Lerners. Consider this a bit of paybeck.

  3. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Can we start calling the "Lerners Are Cheap" crowd "Lieutenant Dans" because they've lost their legs to stand on?

  4. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    "…so I'm still not going to reveal it so as not to incite any more panic than I've already created."Thus, certainly setting off more panic. Ain't the Hot Stove grand?

  5. raymitten - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Of course the Werth deal has people angry. It upsets the 'natural' order, where everyone happily resides — the Nats as also rans who are only able to make salary dumping deals for unproven prospects. The Nats management don't owe the rest of the league anything. Was MLB taking pity on me when I was sitting in the rain watching Phillies fans take over our stadium last year? The Nats are doing exactly what their customers/fans have been hoping for — changing things for the better.

  6. Pilchard - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Question related to Werth.Werth has 87 homers and 53 steals (his ability to run is often ignored) is there any player in baseball over the last 3 years that has over 80 HRs and over 50 SBs? Werth, like Ryan Zimmerman, really is the complete package (power, on-base, defense, speed, arm).

  7. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Start "MarkiLeaks" dot com ??

  8. NatinBeantown - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Something that occurred to me thinking about the Werth deal: while it's right to get concerned about locking in on a long-term contract into someone's waning years of production, that rule doesn't really apply to teams that are making a permanent payroll increase. I would suspect that Rizzo's "Phase Two" puts the Nats payroll north of $85 or 90 million by OD 2012. If they are contending by mid-decade, they'll have no problem eating the cash necessary to dump someone unproductive. That said, I honestly think the Nats believe that Werth–at worst–will slip to a high OBP plus defender in LF by the end of the contract.And to all the execs fretting about the market-resetting premium paid for Werth: remember when you were 1/29th of the ownership of the Expos/Nats and emptied the team's whole farm system? Well, payback time.

  9. Luis - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    Grady Sizemore??? And Cliff Lee??? Let's reunite!

  10. NatinBeantown - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    One more thought: though I'm grateful for his parting advice to spend money, I'm even more grateful to not have to read anything Stan Kasten has to say about Werth. Chris Needham's Stanspeak translater would have exploded.@Bowdenball: regarding payback, disturbed minds think alike.

  11. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    I like James Loney. He's young, a good fielder, hits for average but has no power…rare for a first baseman. However, I think the lineup of the future can overlook that with Desmond (10+ easy) and Espinosa who can hit 20 as a 2b. (not to mention Werth/Zim/Harper etc…) Could there be a package deal with a pitcher from LA?

  12. Steve M. - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    Is the name James Loney?Also, the Nats disturbed the country club chairman's which is the Yankees and Red Sox. Now the price of Carl Crawford went up. Nobody likes the bottomfeeder to disturb the "business as usual" which is the Yankees, Red Sox, et al feeling like they have the monopoly on the big Free Agents.Yes, inflation just hit the market but it did a few days earlier when the White Sox overpaid Adam Dunn.We all knew the day would come when the Nats would seriously have to overpay to get one of the elite Free Agents. That day has happened.

  13. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    Don't be surprised that Ian Desmond, yes Ian Desmond, is involved in some sort of trade for Matt Garza.

  14. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Remember when you were 1/29th of the ownership of the Expos/Nats and emptied the team's whole farm system? Well, payback time.Thumbs up on this comment.

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    I fully expect Ian to be traded since I changed my Facebook photo from me and Dunn to me and Desmond. Garza would be nice.

  16. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    Note to MLB: Payback is a complete beast. Enjoy! That is all. For now.

  17. Souldrummer - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    Hey MLB. Y'all can sit on these deals if you want to. Nobody ties you to a tree and makes you sign guys. We want to spend our money to try to win and see how our market will respond to a team that can win. Lay off us Sandy Alderson and friends.

  18. Tippy Canoe - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Most hilarious when the very crowd that has basically ruined the "business of baseball" cries fowl. Sorry, chieftens of NY, Boston, Chicago and LA when you approved the Lerners as owners you forgot to read the balance sheet. They got lots of dough and now it to late to whine and cheeze!

  19. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    The hand-wringing by the baseball cognoscenti is wonderful to behold. I'm sorry we destroyed your salary structure, baseball. Hopefully the Yankees and Red Sox will rescue these hallowed traditions by seeking cost-conscious, baseball-savvy deals with Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. Epstein and Cashman, our nation turns its eyes to you.

  20. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    I believe Desmond, Balester, Clippard, willingham, Lannan and Norris will be moved for two starters and a second baseman and not Nats type borderline major leaguers but proven Major league pitching that we can be proud of every 5 days!

  21. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    I really hope you get confirmation on that name.

  22. Doc - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    I loved the comment about 'payback' to the other SOB teams in MLB that took a screwdriver to the Expos. Loria eat your black heart out!! Go Lerners—hey buy the Marlins out, and make 'em a AA farm team of the Nats!C'mon MarkMeister, wreak some more Hot Stove League havoc!!!!!!!!!!! Albert Pujols for Livo??

  23. Brian R. - Dec 6, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    I also hope you get confirmation on that name, or such an outright denial that you can reveal it anyway. I also hope you will tweet when the time comes!

  24. NatinBeantown - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    Off topic: The Pirates signed Scott Olsen.Contrary to reports last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates–and no one else–are the Pittsburgh Pirates.

  25. Doc - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    Hey Pirates if want some more of our Scott Olsen type pitchers, its simple just fork over Andrew McCutchen and we'll do the deal!

  26. Bobo - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Hey Hey Hey. Lets all stop the Werth bashing. Is he going to age like bonds? Well of course not but he is a good player. I don't understand why you'd want to pay him 18mm a year for 7 years, but that is your call. Much like McNabb this weekend, I will enjoy him aging quickly right before your eyes. I like that fact that you needed to bid twice as much as the Phillies to sign him. I also like that he can't pitch for the Nationals, good luck with that, you'll need to score 7 runs a game just to break .500 next year. good grief the Nats suck.

  27. sparky - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Can't believe we haven't signed anyone in darn near 22 hours…..

  28. NatinBeantown - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    Pilchard said… Question related to Werth.Werth has 87 homers and 53 steals (his ability to run is often ignored) is there any player in baseball over the last 3 years that has over 80 HRs and over 50 SBs?There's been one: Chase Utley. More interesting stuff here:http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/13477/many-elements-to-werths-free-agent-value

  29. erocks33 - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    how about Kevin Youkilis? The Sawx could re-sign Beltre, and with Adrian Gonzalez now firmly entrenched at first, this would give them the flexibility to move Youk. Then Youk and Werth could give the Nats a shot at the ugliest facial-hair team in all of MLB!

  30. Will - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    "Then Youk and Werth could give the Nats a shot at the ugliest facial-hair team in all of MLB!"Last I checked, the Cardinals weren't interested in dealing Ryan Franklin

  31. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    Mystery man guess: Papelbon? Nats looking for a closer, rumors of discussions w/Red Sox

  32. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    All the griping about this signing is coming from teams who were hoping we'd settle into our 'place' as another Kansas City or Pittsburgh. Glad to see we've disabused them of that notion even though they may not be happy about it.

  33. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Hanrahan. Milledge. Church. Now Olsen.The Pirates are rapidly becoming the place where the careers of old, unwanted Nats go to die. The only question now is will the Pirates wait til 2017 to sign Jayson Werth as a FA, or flip prospects to the Nats for him in his last year or two of decline?

  34. Wally - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Here is my take on the surprise rumor – Chad Billingsley. Dodgers have 5 starters already (Bill, Kershaw, Lilly, Kuroda and Garland) yet keep being rumored as after Padilla. Why need/pay for a 6th, unless you were going to trade one for a bat like the Hammer? Plus, Rizzo is known to like him, and he appears to be a guy that 'likes what he likes' and doesn't change his mind too often.Depending on who else needed to go to LAD, I like that deal for us.

  35. JaneB - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    Mark, I thought what you incited was "fun" — not "panic."

  36. Bob L. Head - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    Kerry Wood?

  37. Roberto - Dec 6, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    "All the griping about this signing is coming from teams who were hoping we'd settle into our 'place' as another Kansas City or Pittsburgh." A telling comment in this regard was Keith Law calling the deal "irresponsible." An interesting choice of words. Toward whom was Rizzo being irresponsible? The owners? They approved the deal. The fans? Concerns about the terms of the deal aside, fans want to win. No, the "irresponsibility" was toward the MLB order. Other teams may have to pay more. Tough noogies.

  38. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Chad Billingsley + Hong-Chi Kuo (always pitched well against the Phillies) = 1 SP + 1 RP/closer

  39. pahou - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    hey Louis dont forget Brandon Phillips he was the other part of that giveaway.

  40. rmoore446 - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    Bobo is a great name choice for a Phillies fan. I'm enjoying the consternation created by the Werth signing and look forward to more Rizzo moves

  41. raymitten - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Keith Law's column was particularly, um, 'irresponsible'. Rizzo stated repeatedly that this had been in the works for quite a while, yet Law characterized it as 'panic'. Law has been hating on the Nationals for years, usually it was directed towards Bowden, but I guess his wrath cuts deeper than that. Nationals, Keith Law wants you to stay in your place!!! How dare you try to get a good player?!? This is exactly why the MLB Network is so much better than ESPN.

  42. natsfan1a - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Off topic, but just noticed the following item. Condolences to Chief and his family.http://natsnewsnetworkoffthefield.blogspot.com/

  43. Bowdenball - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I usually like Keith Law's approach, but that column was odd, to say the least. How could he reasonably argue that the concept of lower-tier teams needing to overpay was "fiction" when we had the highest bid for Teixiera but he didn't sign with us?

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    The only thing I don't like about Kieth Law (except for todays rant) is his affiliation with the Yankee, Red Sox, Dallas Cowboy, Lebron James Network also known as ESPN.He really is (usually) a knowledgeable baseball guy.

  45. Dave - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    It is not at all difficult to hear the strong undertones of sour grapes in all the whining about the Nationals "upsetting the order" of baseball.To quote the immortal Joey Eischen–a Nat from the bygone days when all 29 other MLB teams owned the Nationals–Keith Law and Sandy Alderson can suck on it and like it.I hope Rizzo blows the rest of baseball out of the water with the impending deals. We've waited six long years–no, make that 39 long years–for team owners who will buy some good players. It's our turn now.

  46. N. Cognito - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "[Keith Law] really is (usually) a knowledgeable baseball guy."That he's a condescending, smarmy, prig doesn't bother you?

  47. Doc - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    C'mon MarkMeister, your job is to incite! Let's have a little more incitement! At least give us some hints. Good incitement doesn't have to be confirmed, otherwise it wouldn't be incitement!

  48. NtasJack in Florida - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    That's his (Keith Law) Harvard back ground. I overlook that and like the depth of his knowledge on minor league players.

  49. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    He's a condescending prick but smarter than 95 % of all baseball people. Also, very fun to read. Works for me.And there probably is an argument to be made that the Nats maybe could have gotten him for 6 years, $105 million or so. But whatever.And just briefly, one more point on the Kenny Williams trade deadline thing everybody seems to be believing. Seriously? A GM who according to many reports from solid journalists was pissed at the Nats on July 31 now does not admit how pissed he was? Come on. Why would he admit he wasted a lot of time on the phone with Rizzo?? Of course he's going to say the two sides just never saw eye to eye and were not close and none of his good guys were even offered. He's even more likely to say that now since he got Dunn a few months later without giving up anything in terms of prospectsI find it shocking people here believe every word a GM says 4 months after a potential deal fell through. What's next? Believing that agents never lie about the offers their clients have? Come on, Mark.

  50. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    @jaysonst: Official of team that talked to #Mets reports "Told us they'll talk about anyone, even David Wright. Reyes, Beltran – they're all out there

  51. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    Irresponsible? If it was six years and $108M and the Tigers, would it have been irresponsible? Keith Law … ex-front office.

  52. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:00 PM

    How about a trade for another Royal. Billy Butler?

  53. NatinBeantown - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    Nothing like the hint of a vague, tantilizing rumor of an imminent acquisition to drive up the hits, eh? I must have reloaded this site 50 times today.

  54. Jon - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    My guess is that its not a star, but a minor leaguer who's ready to contribute… I'm thinking Yonder Alonso.

  55. Jeeves - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    Good stuff, Nat fans. Beligerent, entitlement, all that stuff that makes a winner. And Anon 442 exactly. Mark will have us believe that the Sox essentially offered , well, nothing for Dunn, despite the fact that they wanted the slugger badly. There were a lot of credible reports that the Nats wanted Beckham, but even more that they wanted a second high profile prospect ( the first/third base prospect) as well as Hudson. Of course, oddly, this is the first time Mark has weighed in on this topic. He'll, I've been on it since the middle of July.

  56. JohninMPLS - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    The Nats are going to re-acquire the rights to Harmon Killebrew from the Twins in exchange for ALTBNL (a legacy to be named later).

  57. raymitten - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    For the sake of my stomach reading Bill Ladson over this off season, please let the mystery player NOT be Orlando Hudson!!! But, for the sake of argument, the Nats could trade Desmond, shift Espy to SS, and use Hudson for a year until Lombardozzi is ready for prime time. MLB trade rumors reports a rumored three way deal between the Dodgers, Brewers and an unnamed team including Fielder and Loney. I'm just sayin'…

  58. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    @Jon,That would make JayB happy. Yet another major "international" signing. Another Cuban.Suspect that the Nats are focused on making the starting pitching gap (which is gigantic compared to the rest of baseball) close. That is likely why they are looking for a closer. The trade package will likely include relievers.Boston now looks like a viable trade partner (they have one of the most prospect laden systems, yet they are depleted by the Gonzalez trade). They need outfield help (thanks the Nats strategic maneuver with Werth making Crawford out of their price range) they are looking at Willingham as a cheaper alternative. Add in that they need a left handed reliever (read Burnett) and … but what prospects does Boston have that they can afford to part with? Looking quickly at Boston's top prospects in 2010 according to Law:1. Lars Anderson, 1B2. Michael Bowden, RHP3. Nick Hagadone, LHP4. Junichi Tazawa, RHP5. Daniel Bard, RHP6. Josh Reddick, RF7. Casey Kelly, RHP/SS8. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP9. Ryan Westmoreland, CF10. Michael Almanzar, 3BWe find a first baseman at the top and 3 prospect pitchers beneath him.Michael Bowden looks closest to major league ready. Not sure this looks like a match for either team … still?

  59. Jon - Dec 6, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    Not sure Boston would trade any of those pitchers, especially Bowden. Lars Anderson had an awful year and saw his stock drop considerably. I don't want him.

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