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Confirming/debunking some rumors

Dec 5, 2011, 2:48 PM EDT

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The Nats aren't nearly as interested in C.J. Wilson as some have reported.

DALLAS — The Winter Meetings officially begin today, but there was already plenty of action at the Anatole Hotel last night as executives, agents and media began pulling into town. (For those who missed it, the big development was the Marlins and Jose Reyes agreeing to a six-year, $106 million deal. A press conference is scheduled for today.)

And, as I surmised yesterday before leaving D.C., the Nationals have found themselves in the thick of several hot rumors circulating around the lobby.

Unfortunately, several of these rumors aren't grounded in very much fact. This is one of the problems with the way these meetings are now covered in the Twitter Age: One prominent writer hears something juicy, posts it online and everyone else takes it as gospel, leading other writers to post similar tidbits based strictly on the original rumor making its way around the room.

So let's run through a couple of these Nats-related items making the rounds and attempt to offer some clarity for the confused…

Is Mark Buehrle or C.J. Wilson their top pitching target?
Some rumor began spreading yesterday that the Nats were hot after Wilson and that they were suddenly the frontrunners to land theRead more »

  1. Nats1924 - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    BJ Upton would still be a good acquisition as long as we don't cough up the farm.

  2. Nats1924 - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    And, LaRoche (possible walk year) and Morse fully capable. Nats are fine at 1B. No need to be stuck with an overweight or 'an a lot older than he really is' 1B for 5-7 yrs.Go Nats!

  3. TimDz - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Regarding Bourjos….I am sure the price would be steep, but exactly what do folks here (especially you , Mr. Zuckerman) think it would take in actual players?Someone from the ML roster? the 40 man? young pitchers like Cole and or Ray?I, personally have no clue what it would take, so I will look to see what the more astute denizens of this blog think…

  4. NatsLady - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Am thinking that Rizzo might agree to the no-trade clause for Buehrle on a 3-year deal. Wouldn't be the worst thing to have stability in the rotation, since Wang is on a 1-year deal and Lannen likely on the trade block.

  5. Unkyd - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    TimDz said…Regarding Bourjos………..Me Too!!! Would Desi, and 2-3 top prospects do that?

  6. joemktg - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Peter Bourjos would be outstanding. MZ is spot-on: should Morse continue to perform, he's in LF until Harper shows up and then Morse takes over 1B (assuming the strong bat). If Morse didn't have his breakthrough year and wasn't surprisingly very good at 1B, then Fielder would make sense. Would not be shocked if LaRoche is traded very early should he perform well in ST (and after we know that last year was not a Morse anomaly). Come to think of it, I'm surmising that Morse's performance at 1B and at the plate last year has allowed the club to save on a Fielder contract. Michael ought to get a piece of that savings down the road.

  7. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    What really is the attraction to B.J. Upton? If he's so attractive to the Nats, why would the Rays non-tender him? Around the trade deadline, many were saying that he wouldn't really be an upgrade over the Nats' existing CF options. Why give up talent for him?

  8. Steve M. - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    You take the no-trade clause on Buehrle on a 3 year deal. It still gives you the ability down the road and depending on the situation that a player will waive their no-trade clause.I have warmed up to the idea of BJ Upton if the trade is for very little. It is still a 1 year stop gap with potential of doing an extension if BJ can turn his game around in DC. The numbers I put out on BJ last week as a #2 hitter makes him intriguing to take a chance on.Bourjous for the long run is a nice idea depending on what you give up for him. 5 more years of team control at low dollars will cost you a few pieces in trade.Prince Fielder is on Rizzo's radar screen but way down the line in priority. He is an impact player who can transform a lineup. If Rizzo had the ability to raise the payroll to $110 million I would find it more credible. Lets say the Nats don't get Buehrle, CJ Wilson or Oswalt and no other big Free Agents, then I could see Rizzo spending his money on Prince and then look to trade LaRoche with a net payroll gain of $12 million.

  9. Nattydread - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Off topic a bit — but what exactly happens at the meetings? Is there an official program/agenda? Is everyone just buzzing about the coffee shops and suites dealing? How do you come up with your daily program? Would be interesting to see YOUR program, Mark.

  10. Sam - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    I think that the Nationals acquiring Bourjos would be a fine move; and I would certainly hope he continues to develop offensively. He is young, cheap (contract-wise), and under team control for 4 more years…but what exactly makes him a "prototypical" leadoff hitter? His on-base percentage was slightly above average last year. He struck out above the average rate and walked at a rate below the league average. I think all of those need to improve before he is considered a "prototypical" leadoff hitter.

  11. paul - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Peter Bourjos has had one good season in the show, so I don't know how much I would give up for him… but to be fair, it was a really good season (5 WAR) and he is young and cost controllable.If it were me, I would trade Derek Norris for him in a heart beat. You would probably also have to add in Eury Perez and probably a Robbie Ray OR a Danny Rosenbaum as well. If I were Rizzo I would make that 3 for 1 deal any day–sure, Norris is going to be a good big league hitter, but we have a few good catchers in our system and his value is highest on an AL club where he can also DH.

  12. Steve M. - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Sam, I believe Bourjos has 5 more years of team control as I mentioned above.

  13. #4 - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    I love that the Nats' NL East rivals are loading up on often injured, high-priced (relatively in Nix's case) veterans with multi-year contracts. That's what "grasping" organizations do. Beurhle's a great fit because he's so durable. I agree that waiving the no-trade clause and giving three years would be fine.Please say "no" to BJ Upton. He's the sort of bad make-up guy that the Nats absolutely do not need. I would trade one of the pitching prospects along with a lesser position player for the kid from the Angels.

  14. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Bourjos for Clippard, straight up?

  15. jorgath - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Why not offer Buehrle a partial no-trade? A no-trade-to-these-15-teams clause?

  16. Sam - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    My apologies, Steve M. I was thinking 5, then I began thinking about the new CBA and how it increased Super-Two status criteria. Then I got all confused and just hit 4 instead of 5.Anonymous 10:49 am: I would do that in a heartbeat. A starting centerfielder who is 24 years old for a relief pitcher? But alas, that is why I am sitting in a library while the GMs are sitting luxury hotels discussing this stuff seriously.

  17. bgerstein - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Thanks Mark for bringing some sanity to all these rumors flying around.

  18. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Prince Fielder is on Rizzo's radar screen but way down the line in priority. He is an impact player who can transform a lineup. Which makes him a far better acquisition than any lead-off hitter as the stats show. But, the problem is to leverage the maximum amount from that lineup Michael Morse has to be in the lineup every day. That basically precludes the CF Rizzo wants as Werth would then have to play CF so that Harper has a starting slot to move into. And then there's Adam LaRoche? I truly doubt that Rizzo is hindered by any salary cap imposed on him given how Ted Lerner went to wall for Texiera? For Grienke the same year he acquired Werth? No, I think Lerner wants to make sure he gets the best chance of getting the most for his money and is probably less than comfortable with "waste". (La Roche) Plus there's Fielder's "shape" or lack thereof which is taken into account when considering long-term contracts. I still don't understand Buehrle given that Tommy Milone specs out as a younger version. A guy who throws strikes and doesn't walk many and looks like he can go 200 innings. No injury history in his minor league career. Pretty much a prototype workhorse. And a far better pitcher than Lannan. Forget the crappola relative to his lack of major league experience. The guy did the job at the AAA level. Far and away the better minor league career over Lannan all the way up the line. As far as small sample size? Bullcrap. Lannan has had plenty and the stats don't lie. He isn't "beating" the advanced stats. His bullpen is saving his butt.

  19. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Bourjos for Clippard, straight up?Clippard could definitely be a part of any package. Whether its for Upton or Bourjos. Both spec out pretty well for the slot and are both still young. Their one flaw? They aren't left-handed bats like Morgan.

  20. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Jorgath, they could offer that, but if he wants a full no-trade clause, somebody will give it to him.Keep in mind, as Steve pointed out, the no-trade clause is really more like a player-option-trade clause, since they are able to waive it if it's worth their while to do so.

  21. Steve M. - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    I'm reading this on Bourjos and I think many of you have the wrong stats on Bourjos. I think he is more like a #7 hitter. Bourjos wasn't a great leadoff. His batting average was .256 and his OBP was .275 in 2011 in 17 games. Not a large sample size but just more of the same with a guy who may not be cut out to be a MLB leadoff even though protypically he fits the profile. Sometimes it is like forcing a round peg in a square hole. Time will tell.

  22. Benson L - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Mark reading your post really depresses me,you are like the adult that says santa claus isn't real. I would love for the nats to get all these free agents but your posts have seriously destroyed my hope for nats world domination. oh well it better to find out the truth now then later but still great job zuckerman

  23. Mark'd - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    Davey could work his magic with Bourjos. The fans in Anaheim aren't sold on him. Not a high run producer. The fact he got NO Rookie of the Year votes tell you that he didn't prove enough last year. He is a top defender and he has tools which means there is potential. Just don't see him pumping up the offense at the top of the order.

  24. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    The late Ron Santo was elected to the Hall of Fame today.

  25. Unkyd - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    Steve M. said:I'm reading this on Bourjos and I think many of you have the wrong stats on Bourjos. I think he is more like a #7 hitter. Bourjos wasn't a great leadoff. His batting average was .256 and his OBP was .275 in 2011 in 17 games. Not a large sample size but just more of the same with a guy who may not be cut out to be a MLB leadoff even though protypically he fits the profile. Sometimes it is like forcing a round peg in a square hole. Time will tell.—————–147 games, .271, .327, in '11Not stellar, but it was his first time around the block… Worth sniffing around, anyway…

  26. Wally - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Mark'd – I do not believe that he was eligible for ROY last year; he had 193 ABs the year before, and the cutoff is 150.I think that Bourjos would be great. I agree that he doesn't seem like an ideal leadoff guy (that one just signed with Miami), but whether he leads off, or hits somewhere else in the lineup can be worked out later. He plays superior defense at a critical spot, and showed more offense last year than I thought he had in him, especially power. The five years of control are also great.But getting him will be difficult – the Angels are looking to win now, so I don't think prospects alone do it. Given that they just traded for Iannetta and are strong at MI, it probably has to be either Storen or Clip, and then some pitching prospects. That is pretty steep.

  27. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Bourjos for Clippard, straight up?FWIW, the Angels may need a closer more than they need a catcher.

  28. natsfan1a - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Yes, just saw a notice of that, sec3. Too bad it didn't happen while he was living. As Steve Goodman might say, he's playing with the Angels now.

  29. natsfan1a - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    {cues the Twilight Zone music}

  30. natsfan1a - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    The dying man's friends told him to cut it outHat tip to Steve Goodman:They said stop it that's an awful shameHe whispered, "Don't Cry, we'll meet by and by near the Heavenly Hall of FameHe said, "I've got season's tickets to watch the Angels now,So its just what I'm going to doHe said, "but you the living, you're stuck here with the Cubs,So its me that feels sorry for you!"

  31. natsfan1a - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Cut and paste fail.The dying man's friends told him to cut it outThey said stop it that's an awful shameHe whispered, "Don't Cry, we'll meet by and by near the Heavenly Hall of FameHe said, "I've got season's tickets to watch the Angels now,So its just what I'm going to doHe said, "but you the living, you're stuck here with the Cubs,So its me that feels sorry for you!"

  32. Section 222 - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    I'm amazed at how many people think Fielder's weight or "shape" are a reason to downgrade his future prospects. Sounds a lot like those scouts in Moneyball obsessing about a prospect's "face." Fielder has a career slashline of .282/.390/.540. His career OPS+ is 147. That's not just a few years of good production like Morse, who I love, that's over seven seasons. He played in all but 1 game in the last three seasons. He's durable, he's an on base machine (.415 last year), he's left handed, and he's only 27, the same age as Ryan Zimmerman. He would be unbelievable protection for Zimmerman in the lineup, much better than Adam Dunn (last year, he struck out only 106 times, and walked 107). He struck out less last year than Espinosa, Werth, Desmond, and Morse. Werth, our master of the BB, walked only 74 times. I simply do not understand why anyone would prefer to have a recovering Adam LaRoche at 1B over a superstar like Prince. He's not aging like Pujols or injury prone like Reyes.In sum, I hope Rizzo is pulling the wool over everyone's eyes, as he has been known to do, and is working a deal with his pal Scott Boras. If the Nats sign Fielder, they instantly become the team to beat in the NL East. What they do with LaRoche and his $8 million salary is almost irrelevant.

  33. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Oh crap. Santa is not real?

  34. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    {cues the Twilight Zone music}on an acoustic guitar…

  35. natsfan1a - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    shhhh

  36. natsfan1a - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Oops. That was for Anon @ 11:28.

  37. #4 - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    The difference between Buehrle and Milone is that Buehrle has done at the big league level year after year. That matters a lot. There's a big difference between throwing 150 innings in the minor leagues and 210 in the bigs.As for your comparison with Milone/Lannan, I agree to a certain extent although the above argument still applies. Lannan has been around the league several times and still appears to be serviceable. We haven't seen that from Milone yet.

  38. Steve M. - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Unkyd, decent numbers and certainly he brings defense and speed and a good BA especially against LH pitching. Its a 1 year snapshot. He was up and down and was pushed to the 7th, 8th and 9th spots in the order.Desmond, Werth, Zim, Morse, LaRoche, Espi, Bourjos, RamosI'm not as bullish on him as he isn't a leadoff. It really depends on what you have to trade for him. Bourjos against LH pitching has a very good OPS. Being RH, he is another CF who could sit some against RH pitching where Bernadina could match up better.

  39. Feel Wood - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    I simply do not understand why anyone would prefer to have a recovering Adam LaRoche at 1B over a superstar like Prince. He's not aging like Pujols or injury prone like Reyes.If he could be purchased for only a year or two, of course Prince Fielder over Adam LaRoche is a no-brainer. But Fielder is not available in the travel-size package, he's only available in the Costco size. If you want one or two or even three years of Fielder, you have to buy seven or eight. Say what you will about how durable and proficient Fielder is now in spite of his weight, but that's not likely to be the case five, six, seven or eight years from now. You need look no further than former Nats first baseman Dmitri Young to see how quickly an overweight athlete can fall off the cliff.

  40. Wally - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    By the way, this guy (an SI writer) has been tweeting that the Nats have had trouble getting some of their FA targets to take them seriously. Here is his latest:@ injuryexpert Will CarrollDid I mention Nats getting frustrated? Even angry? Expect them to be busy next couple days making case for team.

  41. Steve M. - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    Sect 222, the only thing between Prince Fielder and a Nats uni is money and prioritizing. Lerner has to be a little timid after being burned on Werth last year. Boras wants 7 years $157.5 million.Now to the priorities: #3 LH pitcher. Speedy CF w/ a high OBP who can leadoffLet's face it, getting the pitcher may work, there is no perfect solution for the CF. The offense does need a boost. Does Rizzo change direction and will Lerner decide to pay Prince?

  42. Wally - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Fielder is much better than D. Young, but the decline concern is real. Still, the idea of the Nats signing him is not crazy, but if the Nats go in this direction, I would try to up the AAV and limit the contract to five years. Not sure what that translates to, maybe 5/$125m? Ought to be 'safe' for that term, and if he holds up well, Fielder gets one more bite at the FA apple.Also, a while back, someone brought up Sizemore from Cards as a fallback CF option. He looks like a non tender guy to me, especially if they re-sign Pujols, but I like him, either as a bench guy (ideally) or a platoon in CF with Ankiel or Bernie.

  43. NATFAN9@aol.com - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Fielder would be a real Prince in the current lineup, but a long term contract is too risky. Fact is that big, heavy guys like that don't last very long. I wouldn't give him more than five years, tops.

  44. PAY TO PLAY - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I agree with Wally on Prince Fielder. Pay him more per year for a shorter contract and to that I would add 2 option years with vesting clauses based on production.Wally, I don't know a Sizemore on the Cards. Who is he?

  45. Exposremains - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Who cares if Fielder declines, the window is now.

  46. Bowdenball - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Section 222:I agree with you in that I would love for the Nats to acquire Fielder, but the concern over his weight isn't like the guys in Moneyball obsessing over a guy's "face." There is evidence that guys with his body type tend to drop off far more dramatically at a much earlier age than the average MLB player. And as a result, a lot of teams that have signed such players to expensive long term deals have some serious buyer's remorse. Think of Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard and Carlos Lee in recent years, for example.

  47. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Hmm, Zuck using a lot of certain terms about what he KNOWS the club to be doing. I thought that the whole unpredictability of this front office was the usual storyline. dfh21

  48. Wally - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Pay to Play – sorry I had a brain freeze and confused my 'S.S.' guys. I meant Skip Schumaker on the Cards. I think that he has a decent bat, and ideally he is a bench guy for us; play a few positions with a good stick. But if we strike out at getting a CF, while below average defensively, he could play it passably in a platoon.Wasn't my idea originally, but I have warmed to it.

  49. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Mark,Bowden is still at it:• New Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto will be busy this week. He is targeting C.J. Wilson and closer Ryan Madson, the two best in their respective markets. He might also be in the market for a third baseman and the Mets matchup well with the Angels. With Reyes leaving the Mets, it only makes sense for Mets GM Sandy Alderson to trade David Wright now and begin the rebuilding mode in earnest. The Mets might be able to get a package of Peter Bourjos and Hank Conger for Wright. Wright would solve the Angels’ nagging third base problem, and they can insert prospect Mike Trout in center field. • It would be shocking if the Washington Nationals do not land one of either Buehrle or Wilson. They prefer Buehrle because they feel they can get him for three years rather than the five years it will take to get Wilson. And like the Marlins, the Nationals feel they are well in the hunt for Pujols or Prince Fielder. The Nationals also have interest in Bourjos, as they continue to search for a center fielder. They’ve talked to the Rays about B.J. Upton, but the most likely target is Yoenis Cespedes. But they’re not convinced that they want to meet Cespedes’ asking price, which is in the $50-million neighborhood. • Though Ryan Zimmerman's camp says their attempts at securing an extension for the All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman have been rebuffed, the Nationals maintain taking care of Zimmerman is one of their priorities this off-season.

  50. Section 222 - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    There's that weight thing again. Dmitri Young? Please. You've got a guy who's played nearly every day for six years, getting better each year, but somehow it's too much of a risk that he "might" decline to give him a long term contract. Frankly, if Fielder has three MVP type years in him before a decline, that will more than justify the expense. It will be way more that we'll ever get from Jayson "hustles and looks good in a uniform but can't hit" Werth. Anyway, by then, Harper can bat cleanup and Fielder can be, if necessary, the big hairy bench guy sitting next to DJ or his successor as we try to win the World Seires for the third straight year. And by the way, for those who insist that Morse is a great fielding 1B and we shouldn't sign Fielder because that would interfere with the master plan of putting Morse there once Harper comes up and/or LaRoche is traded, Morse's UZR/150 at 1B last year was -8.2, Fielder's was -5.2. It's maddening to see people intensely debate the relative merits of Bourjous/Upton/Crisp/Sizemore replacement level CF or what soft tossing lefty should be our 5th starter while dissing the kind of game changer that Prince would be for this team and the NL East.

  51. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    The problem is: if you have two guys like Fielder and Werth declining on 8 year no-trade contracts?You are the Chicago Cubs.

  52. Water23 - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I am in on Fielder. It might take a bunch but you could do 4/5 yrs 80/100 Million with a two player option yrs(22 Million and a final mutual option year($25 Million). That gives him the high AAV and a chance to re-enter the FA if he wants. It would be like K-Rods deal. He would transform

  53. Feel Wood - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    There's that weight thing again. Dmitri Young? Please. You've got a guy who's played nearly every day for six years, getting better each year, but somehow it's too much of a risk that he "might" decline to give him a long term contract.It's not that he "might" decline. He WILL decline. Every player does over the course of eight years. And the fat plays in because overweight players do not tend to have gradual, steady declines. They fall off a cliff. That was the point of the Dmitri Young example. Of course he's not the same player Fielder is, but when Dmitri declined it hit suddenly. So the risk with Fielder is not that he "might" decline during the course of an eight year deal. The risk is that he could very well fall off the cliff early rather than late in the deal.

  54. Steve M. - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Water23, with Bora$ as Prince's agent, I don't see him taking a 4/5 year deal when there is potentially a 7 year deal out there unless you overpay him for the 4 to 5 year deal to the upper limits of $25 million per year. Then you have too much money tied in to 1 player.Think what you could do with that cash elsewhere and that's where the sum or parts are probably greater then a Prince and The Pauper!

  55. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    According to Baseball-Reference, Bourjos WAR was 5.0, Prince was 5.2. Guess Clippard wouldn't get him back straight up! To Sec 222's point, getting Bourjos would probably be more valuable over 5 years than getting Prince would.

  56. Steve M. - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Back in early August I set out what I saw as off-season goals and so far the most attainable goal of extending RZim hasn't been done. I still feel that Zim is the key to setting Rendon on the right path.1) Extend Ryan Zimmerman2) Add lefty #3 starter (Buehrle)3) Add speedy CF who can bat leadoff (Crisp)I know Rizzo has his own agenda, his own timeframe. What has changed is since August is Desmond showed he can leadoff and Werth showed he can play CF. The Nats still have other options like finding a corner outfielder and moving Werth to CF. The Nats do need to add more offense and a stronger bench.

  57. Water23 - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Steve M.,It might seem odd but here me out. Boras is all about the $$.Again, as the deal would be structured, it would be a 7 year deal. The first 4/5 guaranteed. The next two at the Fielders/Boras' option and the final as a mutual option (with a big buyout). What is in it for Prince you say? High AAV and 6 years of guaranteed money. It also allows Prince/Scotty to watch the market and see how things work out. Why is that of value? 1) Dodgers are a mess now but in 3+ years should be in better shape2) Mets/Cubs – see Dodgers3) Yanks will be in a different place in 4 years. Maybe have a slot for him at 1B/DH4) Bosox – see Yanks5) Angels – maybe not getting a dominant hitter again will finally come home to roost for Arte and he decides to add a top LH 1b/DH.6) Tigers – in four years things may have changed for Cabrera (permant DH)7) Phillies may be out of the Howard K(trade/retirement)Now, not all of these options will happen and Fielder may decline too much but there seems to be a decent argument for him to want to get some leeway in a few years. Say he sign with the Nats for with options his long term value might well exceed a deal he can get now -4 – 84 Million w/ 3 option years -FRA at 32 and could sing another 4-5 yr deal for same or more5/100 – 115 Million and has some options and at 33 gets another 4-5 year K as a DH.Not bad and if things are working out in DC he picks up his option years pushing into the Ryan Howard range.

  58. PAY TO PLAY - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    With the Phillies signing Nix they got even more Left-handed. Cuddyer made much more sense. The Nats need that additional LH starter with at least 2 lefties in the bullpen.

  59. #4 - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Werth is not a play-off team caliber CF defensively. Of all the things that disappointed me about Werth, it was his routes on fly balls that was the worst. I still think he was a good signing from a credibility/chemistry POV, but they need someone else in CF if they are going to win. We've seen in the past how crucial it is to have someone who can go get the ball out there.

  60. Water23 - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    BTW Steve M,I am with you on all of your August off-season goals. Not sure why they are holding back on siging the FotF but the have not made that a priority (yet). It is not like it would be increasing payroll now. It is all about future money.

  61. JamesFan - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    Look at Fielder as the nr. 4 hitter in the Nats lineup. In that context, he would change the whole equation for the team. I was a skeptic until I looked at him in the context of the lineup and the rest of the NL East. Fielder, Buehrle and trade for a centerfielder and we would have some kind of year next year. The argument against it, is the upcoming cost to the Nats of Zim and a lot of other great players on the team who are going to come up for contracts in the next few years.

  62. Feel Wood - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    1) Extend Ryan ZimmermanIf this was Dec 2012, then having that as #1 goal would make sense. But right now, there's no rush. Zimmerman's demand is no doubt high, and Rizzo could and would easily meet it, but there's no reason to. He can cite Zimmerman's 2011 injury, and challenge him to bounce back in 2012 before he'll give top dollar. Depending on how well Zimmerman bounces back, it's possible that his price will go even higher than it is now, but that's a risk worth taking for Rizzo.You can be sure that the current holdup in doing the extension is all on Zimmerman's side. Zimmerman has little to gain and a lot to lose by signing now, whereas it's the opposite for Rizzo. This time next year, though, their positions will have merged and a deal will be done with no problem. Meanwhile, there's absolutely no adverse effect on the 2012 season because Zimmerman hasn't been extended yet.Which is not to say that once Rizzo meets all his other offseason goals he should continue to wait on signing Zimmerman. If he wants to do it then, fine. But he shouldn't treat the Zimmerman extension as if it's a make-or-break item now, because that could hamper him in doing other things that need to be done.

  63. Steady Eddie - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Feel Wood — here, here. Sec 222 — re decline, see Fielder, Cecil.Milone and Flores for Bourjos.

  64. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    And by the way, for those who insist that Morse is a great fielding 1B and we shouldn't sign Fielder because that would interfere with the master plan of putting Morse there once Harper comes up and/or LaRoche is traded, Morse's UZR/150 at 1B last year was -8.2, Fielder's was -5.2.Actually, for any master plan involving Fielder to work you would NEED Morse in the lineup with him. Think St. Louis Cardinals. And it has to do with both performing in the upper tiers offensively. Morse was the best offensive player on the team last year … no player on the Nats even came close according to all the advanced stats.

  65. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Milone and Flores for Bourjos.To get Bourjos you'd probably have to give up Storen, Flores and Norris. The Nats do have Mattheus, Clippard, and HRod … ranked in order of who would likely be best at the job.

  66. Water23 - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    One side note, with Ben Goessling heading to the Twin Cities, http://www.masnsports.com/the_goessling_game/2011/12/farewell-and-thanks-natstown.html Ben, thanks for you hard work And what are we doing about locking down Mr. Z, the beloved Mrs. Z. and little Z. (future CF for the Nats) to a long, long long term deal?

  67. Tegwar - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Steve M.On a post you made yesterday when Reyes signed with the fish and wondered what might happen with Ramirez it got me thinking. I don't think the fish will trade Ramirez unless he demands it; also it would not be good for ticket sales which seem to be the driving force in Miami this year.So if Ramirez stays and I think he will he probably will play 3rd base and with Reyes playing SS Bonifacio’s playing time will decrease substantially. Bono could play CF but he only played 15 games there last year and I doubt they want to give up on Chris Coghlan completely he was ROY in 2009 and arb eligible next year plus they got a kid in the minors Matt Dominguez who is suppose to be good. Bono was second in PA last year for the fish and both the corner OF positions are taken with Stanton and Morrison and with Reyes as their leadoff hitter Bono might not be happy batting 8th and playing a lot less. When Bono was with the Nats I did not think he was more than a utility player but his numbers last year proved me wrong. The Nats might get away with playing him in CF or depending on trades he could end out at 2nd. As a lead-off switch hitter he could defiantly help the team temporarily until a better answer at CF presented itself. I know trades inside your division and revisiting an old trade rarely happen but it seems as good as any other option available and I doubt the would have to give up as much as they would for Bourjous. Probably none of this will happen but the fish are going to end up with an excess OF when the music stops.I also read somewhere that the Nats have interest in Cuddyer thats an option if you move Werth to CF but you still don't have a lead-off man unless you think Desmond is, which I don't.

  68. Section 222 - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Feel Wood and Steady Eddie — Ok, let's talk Cecil. First let's assume that he was born in May like Prince, rather than September, in order to make their years line up. His best year (51 HR, .986 SLG, 167 OPS+) was when he was 27. But he was still a very good player for the next six years, hitting between 28 and 44 HR each year, with an OPS+ between 108 and 133. He received MVP votes when he was 28, 29, and 30. He played over 150 games in four of those six years. When he was 33, he played in 160 games, hit 39 HR and had an OBP of .350. And don't forget, Prince strikes out less and has a career OBP 45 points higher than his Dad's. I'm not advocating signing him for 10 years. Nor am I saying that he will hit at age 33 like he did at 27. But I would pay alot to have a guy who hits like Cecil on my team, and Prince is better. The key thing is that he's 27. So even if heavy guys decline quicker, he's got several years before his decline really kicks in. For all we know, he hasn't even hit his peak yet, and that's scary.

  69. blovy8 - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    The Nats will have to overpay for Fielder just as they did for Werth, and would also have trade LaRoche with no leverage coming off just about the worst 2011 imaginable. I don't see it happening. Bourjos is going to cost more than Rizzo will want to pay, and probably more than Flores and Milone, since the Angels are looking for a co-closer with Walden. But they do have a bit of a log jam with Trout, Wells, and Hunter probably starting in the OF, Abreu's option vested, so he'd probably DH, then Trumbo/Morales split 1B and whatever extra atbats are around, so that would be a fourth OF right now, but he's still cheap and they can ask for the moon in the current market.If the Morse/Werth/Harper OF is as bad as I imagine it would be, Bourjos at any price would be cheap.

  70. Section 222 - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Anon 2:10 – I totally agree you keep Morse and play him in left. I was just saying that if hte plan long term is to move him to 1B, you don't lose anything by putting Fielder there instead. A 2013 lineup of 2-Werth, 3-Zim, 4-Fielder, 5-Morse, 6-Harper would be pretty darn fearsome.

  71. Steady Eddie - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Blovy8- OK, then throw in Smoker, before someone grabs him in the Rule 5 draft.

  72. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    A month or so ago, a different Nats blogger suggested the following trade: Detwiler, Peacock and Bernadina for Peter Bourjos. It sounded incredibly on sided in favor of the Angels. But one of those pitchers and/or Lannan and Bernie for Bourjos sounds good to me. Throw in another prospect if Angels need the pot sweetened. Does anyone have an opinion about that? What I've read about Bourjos is he is what the doctor has been ordering.

  73. The Joker - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    The Marlins got Reyes and the Phillies got Nix. The Nats are in a whole heap of trouble now.

  74. blovy8 - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    I would bet the Angels would listen to a trade with a two possible young SP to go after Weaver/Haren/Santana, so that makes sense. Bernadina would be fine for 200 atbats backing up, where it would be a waste of Bourjos' talent.

  75. DL in VA - Dec 6, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    Here's how I see it: how many players on the Nats staff are on their way to the Hall of Fame? Currently? None. (With the caveat that if Strasburg lives up to his stated potential, then he is likely the one.) I love Zimmerman, but I don't see him as a hall contender. At least not yet. But I know this: Adam LaRoche is not going to the Hall.Prince Fielder is going to the Hall someday. And he's going to go wearing the uniform of the team that signs him this winter. THAT TEAM SHOULD BE US, and we all know that the Nats are one of the few teams in the league that could actually do it. Some team (Milwaukee?) will need LaRoche if we sign Fielder. I say we spend the money. I know I'm pretty likely to buy a season ticket if we do.

  76. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    So another big letdown…this team will virtually nothing to improve this team. They just try not to spend money. (Ugh!) I have very low expectations this Hot Stove. I still believe this team can be a contender if they make a couple good moves.

  77. Anonymous - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    I'm also opposed to signing BJ Upton. Based on my own limited interactions with him, the guy is a jerk and rude to fans. He'd harm the team's chemistry and is not the kind of player I want to root for.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

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