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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 a starting pitcher available to trade, chances are the Nationals are looking to talk to you.

A picture is also emerging about what the Nationals are seeking from other teams. In a nutshell: young, controllable (in a contractual sense) players who aren't making a fortune -- especially starting pitchers. The Nationals are less interested, for example, in a veteran starter such as Atlanta's Javier Vazquez, to name someone linked to them, because Vazquez has only one year left on his contract (at $11.5 million). If the Braves indeed have strong interest in left fielder Josh Willingham, the Nationals might want to steer the discussions toward right-hander Kenshin Kawakami, who is signed for two more years at $6.67 million each year. (Jair Jurrjens, presumably, is off-limits.)

One other quick note:

*John Smoltz's agent, Keith Grunewald, told me Smoltz is taking his time with his decision on where to sign this winter but that Smoltz's interest in the Nationals is legitimate.

"As you know, John has a long relationship with [Nationals' president] Stan Kasten, and [Smoltz] thinks the team has a strong future. But I think he's going to be very deliberate about this process. Nothing is imminent. John wants to see how his body is feeling. He's already decided he wants to play. But he wants to get a sense of what he can physically do: 'Can I start? Can I relieve?'"

Grunewald said Smoltz, 42, has "a lot" of suitors, but acknowledged that much of the talk thus far has involved teams feeling him out to see what his plans are for 2010. Grunewald also said Smoltz is "a competitive guy," and prefers to go somewhere with a chance to win in 2010.

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 7, 2009; 2:35 PM ET
 
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Next: Bruney wants the chance to close

Comments

Why does the Bruney pickup look too good to be true. Teams that win it all are usually pretty smart. Why are they lettin him go so cheap? What aint the Yanks tellin us?

Posted by: dovelevine | December 7, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

>A picture is also emerging about what the Nationals are seeking from other teams. In a nutshell: young, controllable (in a contractual sense) players who aren't making a fortune -- especially starting pitchers.

Ya don't say? Shoot man, I'm lookin to pick up Elin Nordegren after the divorce settlement because she'll probably come cheap too.

DK's Live Let's Lynch the Landlord - are you listening Ted???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP1NyV60WzA&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Posted by: Brue | December 7, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

>Why does the Bruney pickup look too good to be true. Teams that win it all are usually pretty smart. Why are they lettin him go so cheap? What aint the Yanks tellin us?

Posted by: dovelevine

Because he's got a messed up elbow. So, in the process of saving money, they'll probably have him break down like Olsen did, and they'll have to eat next year's salary for the most part. Get them blue light specials!! YEEEE HHAAAAAA!!!!!

RHCP Hump de Bump kids!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohua-puP3js

Posted by: Brue | December 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

How can you judge the trade without even knowing who is included as the PTBNL?

The Yanks need 40 man roster spots to sign free agents. Bruney is out of options, so he would have to clear waivers if he was sent to AAA. He would be getting a raise through arbitration in 2010 and is pretty much the last man in the Yanks bullpen.

Looks like NYY was able to get something for a player they may have had to waive.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | December 7, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I would not mind seeing Smoltz in the 2010 bullpen as long as we sign him to deal full of performance based incentives.

Posted by: markfd | December 7, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"A picture is also emerging about what the Nationals are seeking from other teams. In a nutshell: young, controllable (in a contractual sense) players who aren't making a fortune -- especially starting pitchers"

In other news, sun rises in east.

If there is a young, controllable not making a fortune starting pitcher out there, the 26th rated farm system isn't going to get him.

Why waste time chasing the impossible when they have an asset that is in high demand around baseball -- spare payroll space. Use that asset.

As for the Bruney trade it would be fun to have a contest between Bruney, Macdougal and Kensing to see who could best portray Nuke LaLoosh in the "Hit me in the chest meat" scene from Bull Durham

Posted by: traderkirk | December 7, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Bruney has pitched successfully in the small ballparks of the AL East and done the job in the toughest market in the game. You people who knock this deal for a PTBNL are out of your mind.

Posted by: wellscats | December 7, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

>Bruney has pitched successfully in the small ballparks of the AL East and done the job in the toughest market in the game. You people who knock this deal for a PTBNL are out of your mind.

Posted by: wellscats

Are you sayin we have crappy PTBNL's? We gotta put up with this just because you won the World Series and we lost 102??

Fingerprint File. Got me runnin. All over town. I know my way around.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykmBkSy-S0s&feature=related


Posted by: Brue | December 7, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Bruney went on the DL last year twice--that gives me pause. But the price can't be much for Bruney, so why not?

The Nats suck if theyre dealing Willingham with a 40 million dollar payroll. Let him get a few wins next year for us--not like they'll get a fortune in return or even all that much...

So you get Kawakami--go sign a middling starter instead of trading for one!!!!!! Crap, you have a 40 million dollar payroll with a quarter of it (Dunn) coming off next year. And no guarantees Bernadina, Maxwell, or Dukes will be even below average next year (though I do like Maxwell and Bernadina's potential).

THROW US A BONE AFTER A 59 WIN SEASON, RIZZO!

Posted by: CJArlington | December 7, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Dunn's not coming off the payroll next year. They'll re-sign him.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 7, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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