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Let the Meetings Begin! Please!

Will the winter meetings begin with a bang, or a whimper? We shall see. I would be surprised to see a Teixeira deal done by Friday ... but happily surprised. In the meantime, if you're still interested in ATT (All Things Teixeira), here's your assigned reading for the morning:

If you haven't seen Dave's meetings setup piece from this morning, here it is.

On FoxSports.com, Ken Rosenthal says Teixeira won't end up in Washington.

The L.A. Times Mike DiGiovanna says the Angels need to make a pitch for Teixeira or risk losing him for good.

Ken Davidoff says the Yankees are still after CC Sabathia, but could turn their attention to Teixeira at a moment's notice.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  December 8, 2008; 8:29 AM ET
 
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Comments

Interestingly, Rosenthal also says that Bowden has been looking at a trade for yet another outfielder, Willy Taveras. If he pulls that off, you can guarantee we're packaging OFs for something else big.

"Nationals GM Jim Bowden, forever on the prowl for fast, athletic outfielders, has shown interest in Rockies center fielder Willy Taveras. The acquisition of Taveras would enable the Nats to move Lastings Milledge to an outfield corner and/or lead to another trade. The Nationals already are set with Josh Willingham in left and Austin Kearns in right, with Elijah Dukes in reserve ..."

Posted by: faNATic | December 8, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Elijah Dukes in reserve? Not having the players is one thing...having the players and not playing them would be something entirely different.

I do agree that if the Nats make a move for Taveras, two of the 5 (Dukes, Kearns, Milledge, Taveras and Willingham) would probably be packaged with some prospects to make another trade. Maybe a first baseman in the event they can't net Tex?

Posted by: Cavalier83 | December 8, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Scott Boras --> Ted Lerner = Itzak Pearlman --> violin.

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 8, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse


I would love to see Milledge in a corner spot, with a major league centerfielder out there to give him cover.

Taveras is not that centerfielder, of course.

But I'd love to see it.

On an unrelated note: Maddux and Mussina should be coaxed out of retirement and added to staff of the Nationals.

The two greatest underachievers during "clutchtime" that we've had since World War II.

[oh, sorry; they were "unlucky."]

Posted by: muleboy | December 8, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Posted this in the comments section of Dave's article.
--------------------
Despite the recession, I still say Tex will end up with the 2d highest AAV of any position player. North of $20m/yr.

The Nats could play in that league because after 2009, the only player under contract is Guz for 2010. Buyouts, arbitration, and player minimums add a few dollars, but essentially they are free to structure their budget among players as high as they want to. Even if MLB median payroll drops 10%, the median payroll will be above $70 million. Tex can easily fit in with that level of spending, or even less.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 8, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you, jca. And judging by the contracts of Tulo and Pedroia, Zimm should command 6 years at 40-50 mil, which isn't a whole lot. That gives them a lot of latitude in their signings. And, I imagine that their revenue will increase if they manage to pull of a Tex signing.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | December 8, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

jca-flynnie?
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 8, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Is Chico still the beat reporter for the Nats?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 8, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Someone please explain the Nats' sincerity in going after Teixeira. It doesn't compute.

The Nats have been obsessed with saving a few hundred thousand dollars here and there on draftees and international signing bonuses. They do not like to trade for guys with sizable contracts. Their biggest free agent signing last year was one year for Lo Duca at $5 mil. They even tried to get out of paying their stadium rent, and then the Nats negotiated a $4 mil payment from DC because the Nats' free stadium was not up to their standards.

So now they want to spend close to $200 million on one first baseman? That's wild. This bewilders me, and some explanation is needed from Dave, Boz, Tracee. Maybe a poster could explain this. Somebody.

Posted by: EdDC | December 8, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Scott Boras --> Ted Lerner = Itzak Pearlman --> violin.

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 8, 2008 9:26 AM "

And if it results in the Nats getting Teixeira, this is a problem why?

Posted by: raykingsgutfeeling2 | December 8, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Just read Rosenthal's comments. Tunnel vision much. It's not always about the money or signing with a winner. I don't think Teixiera will sign with the Nats but to suggest that Tex would be heavily critisized, or to sign him would make Lerner a soft touch, or Baltimore fans wuold revolt, is, well, narrow.
Is it not possible that a top player might enjoy the challenge of a team on its way up rather than joining a team that's been bought? Maybe not. Maybe my idealism is getting in the way of reality. But if Tex were a Nat, I truly believe the team is much closer to contention than most people suggest.
And Rosenthal suggests with a trade for Traveras, Dukes would be a reserve. Good grief, Dukes is the best outfielder we have, potentially a star. (as long as he can keep it together, of course)
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 8, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@EdDC:

You are apparently not particularly knowledgeable and/or dislike the Lerners for one reason or another:

1. There were really no significant big-time free agents last year. Lo Duca was, in context, perfect with the understanding that Flores was a year away from the majors. Both Lo Duca's injuries and Flores' development were impossible to predict.

2. Where did they try and save a few hundred thousand on draftee signings? Are you talking about Crow? Much more to it than a few bucks on the part of the Nats.

3. If you've ever dealt with the DC government, you should know that the only way to get anything done the way it is supposed to is to hold their feet to the fire. The Lerners did not try and get out of paying rent. They just needed to make sure that what they contracted for was what was done.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 8, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Bowden's interest in Willie Taveras staggers me. My only rationale is that he already has a trade lined up to deal one or two of our outfielders away. It feels like he is playing a poker game where he is dealt a straight and asks for a draw hoping to improve his hand to a flush. It only makes sense if you know what the next cards in the deck are.

Posted by: driley | December 8, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

any interest in tavares sounds like it's being taken out of context to me. must be part of a larger trade to send kearns or something for huston street. no reason we'd want him straight up. tavares would be reserve pinch runner.

suggesting dukes is our reserve shows how lazy these reporters can be when talking about teams they think aren't important.

Posted by: longterm | December 8, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

And if it results in the Nats getting Teixeira, this is a problem why?

Posted by: raykingsgutfeeling2 | December 8, 2008 10:37 AM

No problem, but the point is that Boras is doing what he always does (as any good agent will do): play up each owner's interest and capabilities so that the competitive landscape for his clients improves, thus the wonderful prose about Ted Lerner. If Mr. Lerner is allowing this to happen with his consent knowing that there is some other type of payback down the road, then he truly is a wise man. But if he's allowing Boras to publically stroke him and believing that the Nats are very much in the running, then Mr. Lerner has some more bumps and bruises to experience.

Now if the Nats were already a .500 team, and Teixeira could get them over the hump, then the Nats would truly be in the running. But that shipped sailed during last off-season. Longer it takes to get to .500, the longer is takes to land the Teixeira's in this world.

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 8, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

EdDC says;
"Someone please explain the Nats' sincerity in going after Teixeira. It doesn't compute."

Dave Says;
"the Nationals appear singularly focused on Teixeira, whom they view as a once-in-a-generation exception to their anti-free-agent stance -- a local product who is young (28), exceptionally talented both offensively and defensively, and blessed with good looks and a clean-cut image."

Posted by: estuartj | December 8, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I've heard from a few people that Bowden/Kasten/Lerner are pushing hard for Teixeira, but do know its a long shot. The biggest upside to making an unsuccessful push for Teixeira is that if we allow Boras to "play" us to get him a better deal from NYY, LAA or BOS then it might go along way toward making the Strasburg signing in June a lot quicker (I'm not going to say easier ro cheaper, Boras just does not work that way).

I think if Teixeira is goal 1, then goal 1A should be to not only draft and sign Strasburg, but to sign him FAST so he can start pitching for us in June, not August.

I gentlemens agreament for a call-up similair to Detwiler seems a very good proposition, hell he'll probably be our top starter by August! (which says more about our SP than him, unfortunately).

Posted by: estuartj | December 8, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

i think tex makes perfect sense for this team longterm. it's not a one year deal, world series or bust. he's a cornerstone. zimmerman and tex are two gold glovers at the corner. he's a #4 switch hitter with ave. makes a lot of sense to me.

he would create a stable offensive core immediately. then we just worry about pitching. and strasburg appears like a good possibility. get used to dealing with boras. even if we lose tex we are laying the groundwork for strasburg...

Posted by: longterm | December 8, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what the real deal is with Adam Dunn, we keep hearing reports (some through mlb.com) that he's our "back-up" to Teixeira, other reports say no-way and that it's Teixeira or bust.

I think now that Dunn is a no-go, at least no if we'll be paying full rate in dollars and years. More likely they want Teixeira or it will be Willingham in Left (with Milledge in CF and Dukes is RF) and Johnson at 1B with Willingham moving to 1B if/when Nick gets hurt and then the outfield would be Milledge/Dukes/Kearns.

I don't think WMP or Dmitri Young are being included in anyone's calculations at this point. They'll need to prove themselves in AAA Syracuse before anyone gives them a shot (or a 40 man roster spot in DY's case). Speaking of which, could the Nats DFA WMP to make room for a 2nd Rule V draftee or are the rosters locked at this point?

Posted by: estuartj | December 8, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

CiL,

I asked the same question on a thread a few days ago and no one responded. But the silence (of the Post, not the chatters) does seem to speak volumes.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | December 8, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

i'm not so excited about dunn either. it would be nice to start adding people who aren't "just passing through" and i think that is exactly what we mean when we say he's a fall back option with less years and less money.

whoever we get, more and more i think it comes down to elijah dukes. our future is in your hands.

Posted by: longterm | December 8, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Its more cost effective to pay Texiera $20 million/yr than to pay Lo Duca, Kearns, Johnson and Young to sit on the injured list, at AAA Syracuse, or waived for nothing at all.

Let's not be penny-wise and pound foolish!

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | December 8, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I think the reasoning behind Tavarez is perfectly sound. If the Nat's feel Milledge is not the long term solution in center then signing a guy like Tavarez makes total sense. He'll come cheap, and he's got a terrific upside if he can recapture his rookie form. He's sort of Carlos Gonzalez light. If they can't sign Dunn or Teixeria then Willingha stays, if not he's easy to flip. Either way, Kearns and Pena are gone, I think we can all stop factoring them in.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 8, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Kearns is gone by a long shot, his contract makes him tough to deal until he can show some recovery with the bat and his defense makes him a valuable asset, hopefully primarily as the 4th outfielder/defensive replacement until NJ goes down and then a defense first RFer. Even if he'll never hit for the power we (and Bowden) had hoped, he does have a decent OBP so having him play some good D in RF and hit 6-7 in the lineup idn't the worst thing that could happen.

Posted by: estuartj | December 8, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I think the reasoning behind Tavarez is perfectly sound. If the Nat's feel Milledge is not the long term solution in center then signing a guy like Tavarez makes total sense. He'll come cheap, and he's got a terrific upside if he can recapture his rookie form. He's sort of Carlos Gonzalez light. If they can't sign Dunn or Teixeria then Willingha stays, if not he's easy to flip. Either way, Kearns and Pena are gone, I think we can all stop factoring them in.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 8, 2008 11:52 AM

1. The Nats would have to trade for Taveras. If it would be for anything more than a bag of balls, it would be paying too much.
2. Taveras has never been an above-average player. His defense is good, but his offense is awful. And as great as his baserunning skills are, he has to get on base first, which he doesn't do.
3. Rosenthal, the source of the Taveras rumors, has since recanted, so *hopefully* this is discussion is moot.

Posted by: Offense-offensive | December 8, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

this is kearns last year either way. if we don't trade him i'm sure he'll be bought out of final year. he either makes himself a good trade chip or we wait it out.

Posted by: longterm | December 8, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

CiL, I think the Post is employing the same system it's been using this season over at Capitals Insider.

At CI, Katie Carrera provides some updates and links to pertinent stories, as well as fills in for Tarik when he's unavailable. It started during the rookie camp, I think, and it really works.

Tracee is NJ's version of Katie (although a much more comprehensive version, it seems).

I think we'll probably be seeing Tracee in this capacity at NJ from now on. Chico will bring news, interviews, Didn't Make the Paper editions, etc. Sheinin will chime in with some analysis or criticism (the latter not being befitting of a beat reporter).

All in all, I kind of like the approach. It works over at CI, and I've gotten rather used to seeing Tracee over here. It may not be more coverage, necessarily, but I think it's a step toward better coverage.

-----

Is Chico still the beat reporter for the Nats?

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 8, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

JiM, maybe you are right, and to an extent I think it would be an improvement for NJ if true. But my question about Chico is also based on the fact that Sheinin (with a Las Vegas byline) wrote the piece in today's dead tree edition about the Nats going after Tex. If Chico is not even at the Winter Meetings, I've got to wonder what is going on.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 8, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Teixeira might be the best position player to hit the FA market since A-Rod and Manny, which is why I think he'll sign for over $20 million AAV. Pujols and Jeter never hit the market, he is a more complete player than Giambi or Carlos Lee, he is at optimal age (28), and, notwithstanding the recession, baseball has more revenue streams now than it did 4-5 years ago (MLB.com, better TV contracts). Salaries never fully reflected revenue growth. Yes the problems with autos and banks will hurt ballpark revenues (BofA was the official bank of MLB), but the subtraction will be from a high number. Once in a lifetime may be an exageration, but Tex is a once a decade FA.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 8, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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