Well the old hot stove league is in full swing, and, the Nats seem to be smack dab in the middle of everything this year. I’ve been trying to follow everything I can on this, and here are the bits and pieces I’ve found around.
1. Mark Teixeira. Lots of rumblings about this. He wants to be signed by Christmas. He is apparently interested in playing for the Nats. He wants to stay on the east coast. The Nats are ready to offer ‘crazy money.’
Teixeira is really perfect for the Nats, but are the Nats perfect for Teixeira? He’s a good guy (certainly was a nice guy giving autographs when he came here as a member of the Braves.) From the area. A power hitting left handed first baseman.
Tex is rumored to be courted by the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Orioles and Nats. I just don’t see the Red Sox signing this guy. They have Youkis at 1b, Lowell at 3b and Big Papa at dh. The rumor goes that Lowell would be dealt if Tex is signed. Seems like that’s a high dollar gamble for this team that is so loaded they really don’t have to pay $200 mil to one guy to get back to the Series.
The Yanks seem interested only because he’s a big ticket free agent, and they are the Yanks, so they have to be interested in spending a lot of money. Why they would worry about Texiera when they so desparately need pitching is beyond me. Ching Ling Wang was hurt for most of the year, Mike Mussina retired, and they really have no one else (Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, both fantasy team busts for me last year, qualify as no one). The Yankees are clearly looking to sign Sabathia, but he seems hesitant (you mean that money can’t buy you happiness?!). There are several other quality free agent starters on the market, including the oft-injured but talented Ben Sheets and the underappreciated Derek Lowe and Brad Penny. Unless that money is burning a hole in the pocket of Hank Steinbrenner, seems to me he’s better off looking elsewhere.
The Angels are supposedly balking at Boras’ demand for a 10 year contract. And Tex seems predisposed to come back east. So they are a possible, but unlikely destination in my opinion. (By the way, there is a complete idiot sportswriter on the west coast named Randy Youngman of the Orange County Register who states that Teixiera would be ‘ridiculed’ if he signed with a ‘perpetual loser’ like the Nationals. The team has been in existence four years. Perpetual? The Iraq war has been in existence two years longer than the Nationals. How can anything be ‘perpetual’ on the Nationals? One wonders how this loudmouthed uninformed unnecessarily insulting sportswriter sitting three thousand miles away could know that the Nationals will be ‘losers’ for the ten years of the contract Teixeira seeks. And jeez, I wouldn’t mind being ridiculed for getting $200 million. I wonder how many Nationals game this idiot has actually seen.)
That leaves the Orioles and the Nationals. Good ol’ Peter Angelos at it again. Teixeira supposedly grew up an Orioles fan (pity, really) so one would assume that if everything is equal, he’d put a bird on his head. But it may come down to years, guaranteed money, and which league Tex would rather play in. My guess is that he’s going to end up in Baltimore, but the Nats have a better shot at this than what the national press would like to think.
2. Adam Dunn. If you read this blog, you know I want this to happen. Dunn’s destinations have been remarkably quiet. My guess is that after Tex signs the bats are going to begin to fall. The one story I heard was that Jim Bowden contacted Dunn at the beginning of the free agency period, and told him to bring him a number before he signed anywhere else. With Bowden, AK, Aaron Boone, Bob Boone, Jose Rijo and Barry Larkin here, I really think that Dunn probably would be very comfortable with the Nats and be very productive. If Texiera goes elsewhere, this needs to get done.
3. Delmon Young. This would be a trade. Why why why? Didn’t this family hose us once already? He’s been with the Twinkies for a year and they’re looking to move him. Another disgruntled ex-Devil Ray?
4. Orlando Hudson. I’ve always thought that this guy was over rated, he’s a good quote so the press seems to love him. He also seems to be hurt quite often. But, lets face it, he’s probably an upgrade over Ronnie Bellard or Anderson Hernandez, and would improve the team. Also is supposedly a great clubhouse guy. But I’ve seen his name linked to about a half dozen teams, so why would he come here?
1. Aaron Boone. Wants to play here, of course, his dad and JimBo are here and he’s a leader and liked in the clubhouse. He’d help Willingham and (more importantly) Olsen adjust. Its supposedly a matter of money.
2. Odalis Perez. There was a Spanish language report that he was working on a 2-3 year deal with the Nats, that turned out to be false. What veteran pitcher would you rather have in the rotation next year — Odalis Perez, Tim Redding or someone else? I’m not sure I know the answer to that.
1. Nick Johnson. Just before Thanksgiving there were a whole bunch of press reports that the Oakland A’s were seeking Nick’s medical records. This appears to be true but no trade imminent. One report suggested Nick would be traded if Texiera signed with the Nats; another indicated that the Nats were interested in a young A’s first baseman .
Check the first 2008 post of the Nats Boy Report to see my high praise of Nick Johnson. When healthy, I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the league. When healthy. Its been two years and Nick’s played about six weeks though. I’ve jumped the shark. He’s in the last year of his contract. Get something for him if we get Teixera or Dunn.
2. Jesus Flores. Jesus Flores? Really? Offered to the Red Sox? This was in a report out of Boston. Flores was named as one of a dozen catchers offered to Boston by various MLB teams. Wasn’t there enough termoil behind the plate last year with LoDuca and Estrada? Unless Brian Schneider is traded back to the Nats by the Mets (and even then really), trading Jesus Flores is just plain nuts.
3. Lastings Milledge. I haven’t seen any specific rumors about Milledge being offered around, but there has been some press speculation that Milledge is going to be traded sooner rather than later because he is shaky as a center fielder and doesn’t have enough power to be a corner outfielder. My observation of Milledge is that the criticism is true. But shouldn’t we have checked this last year before trading Church and Schneider? I personally think the price for Milledge is only going to go down, so I’d quit while I was behind and get what I could. .
Oldies but goodies.
1. Jamie Carroll recently signed a new contract with the Cleveland Indians. Good for him.
2. No word at all on my favorite all time Nat Brad Wilkerson who is a free agent. He can play 1b and the outfield. He isn’t that expensive. And he has a ready made fan base here in DC. I’d love Wilky to come back but, like Paul O’Neill in Cincinnati, Bowden doesn’t seem to like players who do things to win games rather than just put up stats.
3. Brian Schneider is on the trading block by the Mets. Perhaps they discovered that the joys of a ground ball to second aren’t what they are cracked up to be. My personal observation, which is based on nothing concrete, is that Schneider was not the clubhouse force or influence on the pitching staff in NY as he was here in DC. People love Brian Schneider here. Like Wilkerson, he’s got a ready made fan base, and doesn’t make too much money. I’m not convinced that Wil Nieves is an adequate second catcher. Couldn’t Schneider and Flores split time?
After the Thanksgiving holiday ends, the winter meetings take place. Should be fun.