Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Exploring all options
And the Nationals ... well, Mike Rizzo was there, talking to plenty of agents, fellow GMs and reporters about a number of topics. No actual moves were made, but this was only day one of the unofficial beginning of the Hot Stove League. Let's not just assume the Nats are sitting this winter out because they haven't done anything yet.
Indeed, all the evidence to date suggests Rizzo will be quite busy this offseason. The Nationals have been linked to just about every prominent name on either the free agent or trade market so far if you believe every rumor that's been published. You probably shouldn't, because the plausibility of the Nats being in serious contention for every prominent available player is low. If they actually acquired every guy they "have interest in" they'd wind up with a $250 million payroll and an 12-man starting rotation.
What you should take from all this is that the Nationals legitimately are exploring every possible option out there. They want to re-sign Adam Dunn, but they're also talking to Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko and other first basemen. They want to add a front-line starter but they know the free-agent pickings are slim, so they're exploring trades. They want to overhaul what was one of baseball's worst benches in 2010, so they're looking at a bunch of versatile veterans who could help plug some holes that need significant filling.
Along the way, you've heard Rizzo use some recurring phrases. The Nats "have a lot of irons in the fire." They're "keeping all of their options open." They're "doing their due diligence" to explore every possibility out there.
Will all this result in a major offseason acquisition? There's no way to guarantee that. A lot of things have to fall into place for a significant move to come together: the two sides have to agree on financial terms, the free agent has to choose Washington over other cities, the other GM has to accept whatever Rizzo's offering in a trade, ownership has to approve the transaction.
But if Rizzo fails to pull off something significant, it won't be for lack of effort.
In other news...
Danny Espinosa did something really special last night in the Puerto Rican winter league: He hit for the cycle while also drawing a walk. Espinosa, playing second base for the Leones de Ponce, homered in the first, tripled in the third, walked in the fourth, doubled in the sixth and singled in the seventh to help lead his team to a 10-2 victory over the Gigantes de Carolina. Espinosa now ranks second in the league with seven extra-base hits and 12 runs and is tied for the league lead with seven stolen bases. ...
The Scottsdale Scorpions have clinched their division title and will play in the Arizona Fall League championship (Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on MLB Network). Bryce Harper, who is slated to play in his final regular-season AFL game tonight, is eligible to play in the championship.
Posted by Mark Zuckerman at 10:22 AM