- "Club officials believe" that the Nationals are "reasonably close to a breakthrough." They blame 2008’s sorry performance on the raft of injuries Washington suffered, which is why they’re willing to spend now for a big bat — the key names floating around have been the aforementioned Holliday, Adam Dunn, and Mark Teixeira, though Rosenthal seems skeptical they could snag any of them. But what about Manny Ramirez? "Jim Bowden, the Nats’ unconventional GM, probably would love the idea, but D.C. might not be big enough for Manny and Barack Obama." Looking at the impact that Manny has had on the LA’s attendance, and looking at the empty seats at Nationals Park, it could make sense.
- Obligatory Jake Peavy update: Padres discuss keeping the ace, Braves grow impatient. Cubs are still in the mix, while the Dodgers and Yankees are "on the backburner." (Buster Olney had a subtly different take posted a few hours later — that Peavy would be dealt before the turkey hits the sideboard.) Rosenthal also quotes Pads GM Kevin Towers as wanting to move the fences in at Petco (which is hard enough just to write without typing in "cavernous" as an automatic prefix).
- The Mets, among other ballclubs, are interested in Rays’ righties Andy Sonnanstine and Edwin Jackson, but the Rays are in no hurry to make a deal.
- "The White Sox are in an ideal position with" Javier Vazquez if they wait until Peavy, CC Sabathia, et al are placed and then shop him, Rosenthal argues. The 32-year old righty will make $23 MM through 2010, which he calls "a bargain for a pitcher who has produced four straight 200-inning seasons, albeit with a 49-51 record and 4.41 ERA." On the other hand, Vazquez has also hit the 200-strikeout mark in each of the last two seasons.
Sarah Green can be reached here.