Nationals Rumors: Free Agents, Lee, Pavano

The challenge for the Nationals, writes Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, is convincing elite players to come to D.C. Zack Greinke, Jorge de la Rosa and Derrek Lee are among the players who declined Mike Rizzo’s overtures this offseason; the GM says luring players to Washington isn’t easy.

"It shows the difficulty of trying to build something," Rizzo said. "The only thing that convinces players to come is winning. It's the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? Do you win and then the players come, or do the players come and then you win?"

The Nationals have agreed to deals with top free agents like Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche this offseason. But the team faced rejection along he way.

“We liked [Derrek] Lee a lot,” Rizzo said. “I don't know why he went to Baltimore over us."

The Nationals have been linked to Carl Pavano for months, but Rizzo says he hasn’t talked to the right-hander at all. The Nationals last spoke to agent Tom O’Connell at the Winter Meetings, so they don’t appear to be frontrunners. Conflicting reports about the Nationals’ interest in Pavano emerged yesterday.


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53 Comments on "Nationals Rumors: Free Agents, Lee, Pavano"


ugotrpk3113
4 years 7 months ago

I can help you understand why he went to Baltimore – They have a better team.

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

neither is competitive. . I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nats challenge for a playoff spot before the O’s… but then again its only a 1 year deal.

ugotrpk3113
4 years 7 months ago

Well true. The division certainly also makes the Orioles less competitive, but the Orioles have a lot of young talent at a higher level than Washington.

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

definitely, but the division can’t be taken out of the equation.

ugotrpk3113
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah – Either way it sort of sucks.

4 years 7 months ago

I disagree, I think the Nationals the better farm, they just don’t have the veterans to complement and protect all the young talent.

RepOak
4 years 7 months ago

Orioles are a way better team than the nat’s. Only thing that hurts the O’s is the division. But O’s have a lot of potential in ’11. Maybe even ’10 padre potential.

Dcgraphs
4 years 7 months ago

It’s a close one between the two but the edge has to go to the nats!

coolstorybro222
4 years 7 months ago

you seriously think that the O’s pitching will go to to ’10 Padres level in a year?

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

Someone mentioned an interesting note about Matusz. His current stats mirror David Price’s growth, if not improve on them, at the same age. So, could he take a strong jump in ’11? Sure he can. Wouldn’t that be their version of Latos?

RepOak
4 years 7 months ago

Did you expect the padres pitching to do what they did last season?

coolstorybro222
4 years 7 months ago

No, and I don’t expect the O’s to go down the same road.

not_brooks
4 years 7 months ago

2011 Brian Matusz = 2010 Mat Latos

2011 Jake Arrieta = 2010 Clayton Richard

2011 Jeremy Guthrie = 2010 Jon Garland

2011 Brad Bergesen = 2010 Wade LeBlanc

I can see that happening. Sure, the pitching numbers won’t look as good for the Orioles since they don’t play half of their games in the best pitcher’s park in the game. But take offense into consideration as well. The O’s don’t have an Adrian Gonzalez, but they have a much more well-rounded offense with Roberts, Markakis, Lee, Reynolds, Scott and possible breakouts from Adam Jones and Matt Wieters.

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

San Diego plays in the weakest division in baseball. O’s play in the strongest division in baseball. The end.

not_brooks
4 years 7 months ago

Did I say the Orioles would win 90 games? Nope.

Did I say the Orioles would miss the playoffs by one game? Nope.

I was responding to someone who questioned the 2011 Orioles pitching staff compared to the 2010 Padres. And within the starting rotation, there are a lot of similarities.

Do I think the 2011 O’s bullpen will be as good as the 2010 Padres? Not a chance. Those Padre relievers were probably one of the best bullpens of all time.

Are the Orioles going to make the playoffs? No.

Could they surprise everyone and be a lot better than expected? Sure.

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah, I am with xub on this. I don’t think the Os need to take the division or come as close to it as the Pads did last year to make a strong jump forward. Taking 1st in the AL EAST is a tall order. For sure. But, the Os just need breakout years from their young core, and that in itself will be enough to change the narrative in Baltimore and become a national story. However that shakes out in the standings is what it is. I thinkif that were to happen, Baltimore fans would all be happy.

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

Call me old school but you don’t give up before you even try.

The Os (and Nats can, for that matter) have done it before competing against the Yankees and Boston (in an era without a Wildcard seed), and they can do it again. You don’t cry about how good they are today and how hard it is to beat them, just because of current results. Like any spirit of competition, you put your best forward, and you hit them back in the mouth and the best team is left standing. It was literally only a few years ago, when the same self-defeatist criticisms came out of Tampa. How quickly things change?

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

it’s not about who has the better team its about who has the least competition.

Dodgers won the division a few years back with 84 wins, we’re there better teams in other divisions? umm ya.. does it matter? nope

4 years 7 months ago

“Maybe even ’10 Padre potential.”

LOL…you are delusional. The O’s won’t seriously compete for another 2 years at the LEAST…

ironnat
4 years 7 months ago

Baltimore has one of the worst owners and organizations in baseball. A once exemplar organization is now dysfunctional under Angelos. The “Baltimore Way” was once a proud term and now is laughed at. As a Washington fan I now what Baltimoreans are going through since our football teams mirrors their baseball team.

Pete
4 years 7 months ago

No, Baltimore doesnt really have a better team, what they have is a better park for a hitter to re-establish value in. I just wish this became a more common thing, hitters rejecting pitcher-friendly parks and pitchers rejecting hitting-friendly parks. However Brandon Webb still chose against this train of thought, what an idiot.

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

The Nats have a lot of exciting pieces, but they are a few years away from really being strong majorleague contributors. They aren’t even in the show yet for the most part. The Os have such pieces who are getting their experience now at the majors, with varying degrees of success and growth.

Today’s Nats reminds me of the Orioles of, say, 4-5 years ago who had a few quality majorleague pieces like Bedard and Tejada, and, some quality prospects in the minors, but they’re a few years of it really coming together.

dc21892
4 years 7 months ago

I believe both the O’s and Nats are going to suprise people next year. Both teams have had pretty good offseasons and the Nats are not finished. The O’s have gotten much better and are most likely done with the exception of adding a veteran starter and lefty reliever.

4 years 7 months ago

It’s just a shame they have to compete with the Yanks, Sox, Braves and Phils all year long.

dc21892
4 years 7 months ago

Sure is, but the O’s definately have one of the better teams on paper that they’ve had in years. As for the Nats, I’m not saying that I believe 100% Werth and LaRoche can make up for the loss of Dunn/Willingam but defensively LaRoche and Werth are better and they both hit closer to average with good pop. Both teams are going to be exciting to watch this year.

not_brooks
4 years 7 months ago

I like Jayson Werth a lot. The “top prospect to spare part to All Star” story is a great one.

But I have a really bad feeling about his situation in Washington. Despite his success, Werth has never seemed “the guy” to me. And getting paid like “the guy” and having those expectations put on his shoulders when he’s really more of a complementary piece smells like trouble to me.

I’d love to see Werth succeed in Washington, but I’m thinking something like .265/.330/.440 is coming up in 2011.

4 years 7 months ago

Werth is indeed not “the guy” and certainly not a franchise player. The contract the Nats gave him was absolutely baffling.

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

They had to overpay or else he would have went somewhere else.

Its the dilemma all losing franchises face in the off season.

but at least it shows the fan base that they are serious about improving.. I rather have the nats overpay a good player then have him sign for slightly less with a powerhouse.

not_brooks
4 years 7 months ago

Paying Jayson Werth $18MM+ per over seven years doesn’t show the fan base that the Nats are serious about improving. It shows the fan base that the Nats have no idea what they’re doing.

not_brooks
4 years 7 months ago

Paying Jayson Werth $18MM+ per over seven years doesn’t show the fan base that the Nats are serious about improving. It shows the fan base that the Nats have no idea what they’re doing.

Just_MLB
4 years 7 months ago

Now the Nats know what the mets were going through in 2003/2004.

johnsilver
4 years 7 months ago

You know what is funny? The only time any Washington baseball team never stank was when Ted Williams managed it (1969) That is why nobody ever wants to go and play in Washington Rizzo.

NatsTown
4 years 7 months ago

We won the World Series in 1924. Give us SOME credit brother!

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

lol

4 years 7 months ago

You know not of what you speak. When the team first came to town in 2005, the Nationals were above .500 almost all season long.

They did finish in last place in the NL East that year, but with a .500 record.

johnsilver
4 years 7 months ago

Oh yes I do.. In 1969 the Senators were actually a decent team and not foolishly out of it all season long, unlike every last year that I can recall going back to the early 60’s (Thanks NatsTown) Heck, Ted Williams even had career light weights such as Eddie Brinkman hitting .40 over his career average. Williams gave that team one season of hope they never have had again.

Until something drastic changes withing the farm system, or by massive overpayment via FA, I don’t see any changes there, unless they can find someone else like good old Teddy Ball Game to bring one season magic to that town.

MadmanTX
4 years 7 months ago

I notice that articles about Washington never mention Stephen Strasburg anymore. Surely, he will come back from his surgery by 2012 and still be their ace?

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

he has nothing to do with this article why does he need to be mentioned

Exposfan
4 years 7 months ago

Maybe the reason why players don’t want to go in Washington is about giving back to the players:

Adam Laroche signed a contract and the very next day, Rizzo goes public and says We liked Lee a lot. I don’t know why he went to Baltimore over us. So we turned to our plan B and got Laroche.

4 years 7 months ago

You don’t think LaRoche and all of baseball already figured that out? LaRoche got relegated to second tier status when he was demanding a multi-year deal. Lee was willing to take a one-year deal.

Pete
4 years 7 months ago

How do you think Oakland feels? Big deal the Nats didnt get some near-washed up 1Bman or some emotionally challenged pitcher who doesnt want to play in a large market. At least they will find things easier when Stras returns and Harper comes up. All Oakland has is a stadium no one wants to go to with seemingly hundreds of miles of foul territory for hitters to make outs in, oh, and no Stras+Harper.

RepOak
4 years 7 months ago

Big deal. Who cares about Stras and Harper. We have Cahill, gio, Anderson, ect. I’m sure anyone who has any common sence and baseball knowlege would take AL best era over Stras and Harper.

ea19
4 years 7 months ago

Does it really matter if the Nats have LaRoche or Lee??? Either way, they are not competing for the division title!!

natsintexas
4 years 7 months ago

Crazy thought…

Would the Nats consider trading Ryan Zimm (the face of the franchise) to the Angels for something like Mike Trout, Brandon Wood, and Jared Weaver? Would the Angels consider that move?

The Angels need a big move and a 3rd baseman and Zimm is (arguably) the best.

The Nats could then use Wood, I Des, and Espi in the infield; get their #1 starter; and the best prospect in bball.

lasordaforpresident
4 years 7 months ago

angels trade Trout??? The kid is hyped as the next Mantle, should he fall way short he still would be untradeable. If I was the Nats I would do it in a heartbeat. Get Weaver/Zimmerman/Stras in 2012

East Coast Bias
4 years 7 months ago

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but why is Rizzo talking about Lee as being their first option at 1st base when they just signed Laroche? That can’t make a player that just signed with your club feel welcome. Even if he was your first option, lie and make something up. Other GMs do it all the time.

Jason Klinger
4 years 7 months ago

Really. It’s like telling your prom date that she’s an OK option, but you really wanted to take her hotter friend.

East Coast Bias
4 years 7 months ago

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but why is Rizzo talking about Lee as being their first option at 1st base when they just signed Laroche? That can’t make a player that just signed with your club feel welcome. Even if he was your first option, lie and make something up. Other GMs do it all the time.

4 years 7 months ago

I wouldn’t be too happy to hear that quote if I were a Nats fan. Winning in baseball isn’t a chicken-egg problem. Unless you’re the Yanks or BoSox, you don’t win by bringing in good players; you win by grooming winning players. Look at the Phillies (Utley, Howard, Rollins, Hamels), Rays (Longo, Upton, Price, Shields), Giants (Posey, Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain), etc. THEN, after you have your own winners, more want to join in. It is surely difficult to build a winner, especially when you don’t see the instructions.

4 years 7 months ago

I disagree on the chicken egg thing. I believe it is, especially when you have an organization like the Nationals that are willing to pony up.

You cite good examples in the Giants and Rays, but what about the Nationals, Pirates, Royals, and others? They have invested in their farm systems as well, but prospects are not a sure thing.

It is moreso a combination of development and bringing in key guys. The Red Sox, for instance, have home grown guys. Gardner and Cano are great examples with the Yankees.

It takes both.

4 years 7 months ago

I wouldn’t be too happy to hear that quote if I were a Nats fan. Winning in baseball isn’t a chicken-egg problem. Unless you’re the Yanks or BoSox, you don’t win by bringing in good players; you win by grooming winning players. Look at the Phillies (Utley, Howard, Rollins, Hamels), Rays (Longo, Upton, Price, Shields), Giants (Posey, Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain), etc. THEN, after you have your own winners, more want to join in. It is surely difficult to build a winner, especially when you don’t see the instructions.

goredsgo
4 years 7 months ago

None of these seem like rumors, more like how they’ve been rejected a ton this offseason

4 years 7 months ago

Rizzo has some good points. I think Lee would have been better suited with the Nationals but maybe time will tell. Or, maybe not. :)