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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