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Nationals Journal: December 6, 2009 - December 12, 2009

[UPDATED] Nats non-tender Olsen, MacDougal

Facing the midnight Saturday deadline to offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Washington Nationals decided to cut ties with Scott Olsen and Mike MacDougal, pitchers coming off near-opposite seasons. By non-tendering Olsen and MacDougal -- the former a starter who...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 12, 2009; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (133)
 
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Your new (starting?) catcher, Pudge Rodriguez

Plenty of highlights from the Pudge Rodriguez press conference this afternoon, but the takeaway lesson can be reduced to four words: Pudge wants to play. A few days back, all the Nats folks were talking about how Ivan Rodriguez was...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 11, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
 
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Pudge presser pushed back to 2:30 p.m.

[UPDATE, 2:15] -- OK, another delay here; Pudge is en route to 1500 S. Capitol. A Nats official has informed the media gathering that Pudge's presser won't begin until 2:30. Evidently his physical exam took a little more time than...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 11, 2009; 1:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Free agent signing set for Friday

The Washington Nationals have issued a media advisory stating that the team will "host a News Conference on Friday to announce the signing of a free-agent player." The news conference will take place at 1 p.m. at Nationals Park to...

By Alexa Steele  |  December 10, 2009; 6:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Nationals losing lots of Z's

The Rule 5 draft is now complete, with the Nationals selecting just one player in the major league phase -- outfielder Jamie Hoffman from the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, as we pointed out earlier, the Nationals immediately sent him to...

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 10, 2009; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
 
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Nationals make Rule 5 pick for Yankees

The Nationals just selected outfielder Jamie Hoffman from the Los Angeles Dodgers with the first pick of the Rule 5 draft, but will be sending the pick to the New York Yankees as the player to be named later in...

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 10, 2009; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Rizzo Day III Briefing

The D.C. press contingent just had its daily session with GM Mike Rizzo in the 11th floor Marriott suite in Indianapolis being used this week by the Nats as front office HQ. Nothing too astonishing to report. "No big news...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 9, 2009; 8:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Boras: Pudge wants 3,000 hits

Surrounded by a full circle of cameramen, videographers and reporters with busy Twitter accounts, agent Scott Boras spoke for about 30 minutes today, describing his various free agent clients with every flattering device short of the sonnet. At one point...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 9, 2009; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Vote for best of the decade

The voting opened today in the Washington Post's best of the decade extravaganza. Nationals fans might be particularly interested in weighing in on top local stories (Nats arrive in D.C., Nats Park opens, Nats sign Strasburg); top local athletes (Ryan...

By Alexa Steele  |  December 9, 2009; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Nationals notes: Dukes, L. Hernandez

Just before leaving his Florida off-season home for Indianapolis this week, Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman attended a viewing for the late Elijah "David" Dukes Sr., the father of Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes, who died on Nov. 23 at the age...

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 9, 2009; 3:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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The starting pitching, Pt. II

Following a few more conversations with Nats people, I wanted to refine my thoughts about the starting pitcher conversation. Namely: * For now, Washington seems to have preliminary interest in almost every established free agent starting pitcher except the A-lister,...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 9, 2009; 2:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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The starting pitching shopping list

Just a few days ago, the Washington Nationals had a wish list that ran at least four deep. They wanted some bullpen help and a catcher. They wanted a middle infielder -- preferably a starter with a strong glove. They...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 9, 2009; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Nats sign Owens to minor league deal

This has turned into an odds-and-ends sort of day. So let's go odds-first. Then I'll get to the ends. * First of all, the Nats have signed outfielder Jerry Owens to a minor-league deal. Owens, who turns 29 in February,...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 8, 2009; 7:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Transcript of Manny Acta's media session

This afternoon, Manny Acta, now manager of the Cleveland Indians, sat down behind a folding table in a ballroom at the downtown Marriott here at the winter meetings. Every manager, at some point during these four days, is subject to...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 8, 2009; 5:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Nats interested in Padilla; Bowden on Pudge

We've got about two minutes here before the media convenes for its daily session with GM Mike Rizzo, so my apologies for the brevity. Just a few items here. * This, from Sheinin: The Nats have interest in free agent...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 8, 2009; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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More on Pudge

For the Nationals, this has started off as a relatively quiet Day II at the winter meetings --only when you push aside the considerable analysis devoted to last night's signing of Pudge Rodriguez. Two years, $6 million? For a guy...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 8, 2009; 3:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Why Pudge? Why two years?

The bank of elevators leading to the guest rooms at the Indianapolis Marriott and the Starbucks that provides the fuel for bleary-eyed media members and team executives attending these winter meetings are separated by about 200 feet of marble-tiled lobby....

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 8, 2009; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (113)
 
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Nats sign free agent Ivan Rodriguez

The Washington Nationals' bid to add a back-up catcher ended Monday night with the acquisition of free agent Ivan Rodriguez, a future Hall of Famer whose stature and salary suggests a significant role, according to a team source. Rodriguez, 38,...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 8, 2009; 1:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Inventory. The word of the year.

Who knows if Brian Bruney will ever pan out as the Nats' closer. His track record warrants no certainties. Now mind you, Bruney hasn't closed games with any regularity since 2005, so these numbers might be of limited usefulness... but...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 7, 2009; 9:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Garland, Willingham, Bruney, PTBNL, Flores

Were this a twitter feed, I'd condense the Nats' buzz thusly: They have interest in Jon Garland. They're hesitant to trade Josh Willingham without a great return. They think Brian Bruney can close. There. That's 135 characters. Now here's 1,835...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 7, 2009; 5:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Riggleman chats with media

Nats manager Jim Riggleman met with the media around 2 p.m. Here's the full transcript of his chat, courtesy of ASAP Sports. Q. What did you think of the [Bruney] trade? RIGGLEMAN: Well, I'm happy with it. You know, I...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 7, 2009; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Bruney wants the chance to close

Mike Rizzo tends to like pitchers like Brian Bruney. By now, we can probably establish a formal union for them. Rizzo has a preference for guys who are tall and powerful -- let's call 'em the Hard-Throwing, No-B.S. subset. "Well,"...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 7, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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What the Nationals are looking for

Already at the winter meetings, the Nationals are being perceived as major players in trade talks. (No, that doesn't mean they're in on this guy.) If you have a catcher, a middle infielder, a reasonably dependable bullpen arm or especially...

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 7, 2009; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Nationals acquire RHP Bruney from NYY, Release Rivera

Hoping to bolster a bullpen in need of dependable veterans, the Nationals have added right-handed reliever Brian Bruney in a trade with the New York Yankees for a player to be named later. To make room for Bruney on the...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 7, 2009; 1:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Why the Nationals might trade Willingham

In the last couple of days, the buzz surrounding Nationals left fielder Josh Willingham as a potential piece of trade bait has grown in intensity, and two executives from other teams told me the Nationals have made it known Willingham...

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 7, 2009; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Greetings from Indy

Good morning from Indianapolis. I'm back from the dead, and the Nats' offseason is very much alive. For the next 3-1/2 days, baseball's execs will hunker down in their Marriott and/or Westin suites in frigid downtown Indianapolis, fueling the hot...

By Chico Harlan  |  December 7, 2009; 10:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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