The Nationals are in a strong position to make a move for White Sox ace Chris Sale, opines ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required), and GM Mike Rizzo’s track record only strengthens the case. Olney spoke to a peer of Rizzo who plainly stated that Rizzo “doesn’t make bad trades,” and Olney runs down a list of Rizzo’s best moves to demonstrate that he does come out ahead far more often than he comes up short. Rizzo’s acquisitions of Trea Turner, Joe Ross, Gio Gonzalez, Denard Span, Wilson Ramos, Doug Fister and Yunel Escobar all look anywhere from fair to lopsided in the Nationals’ favor and outweigh the occasional misstep (e.g. picking up Jonathan Papelbon), Olney argues. He also notes that with prospects like Lucas Giolito, Victor Robles, Reynaldo Lopez and Erick Fedde, among others, the Nats have the minor league pieces to make a compelling offer for Sale.
Here’s a bit more from the NL East…
- Speaking of Ramos, the free-agent catcher is now six weeks removed from his reconstructive knee surgery and, as MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman points out, recently tweeted a series of video clips to show where he’s at in his rehab program. The Nationals still remain reluctant to make any kind of long-term offer to Ramos in the wake of his torn ACL and meniscus, Zuckerman notes, but Ramos still has time to be patient and further his rehab before seeking to land the lucrative multi-year deal he covets.
- MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that the Marlins, like many teams, are electing not to make any significant moves until they see how the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations play out. While Miami and its modest payroll needn’t worry about luxury tax considerations, topics such as draft-pick compensation could certainly impact the team’s decision-making process and the offers that the Marlins would feel comfortable extending. Similarly, the possibility of roster expansion could play a role in determining how the organization wishes to structure its pitching staff moving forward. In a full column, Frisaro lists Doug Fister, Ivan Nova, Travis Wood and Edinson Volquez as speculative fits as well as rebound candidates like Justin Masterson, C.J. Wilson and Jon Niese.
- While Yoenis Cespedes is well-known to be the Mets’ top priority, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes that they’ll also be looking for at least one veteran reliever at next week’s Winter Meetings. The Mets may also kick the tires on some potential Jay Bruce trade partners, as he doesn’t fit on the same roster as Cespedes all that well. Similarly, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News wrote last week that the Mets don’t want both Cespedes and Bruce on the same roster but exercised Bruce’s option as a safety net and could look to trade him if they can manage to retain Cespedes.