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Posted at 10:09 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Agent: Nationals still pursuing Carl Pavano

By Adam Kilgore

After twice meeting with Carl Pavano's representative this week, the Nationals "are still in the mix" to sign the veteran right-hander, agent Tom O'Connell said this morning. Pavano, who will turn 35 in January, arrived yesterday at the winter meetings here in Lake Buenta Vista, Fla., a relatively short drive from his Florida home. Last season, Pavano went 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA in 221 innings for the Minnesota Twins.

After Cliff Lee, whom the Nationals are also still vying for, Pavano is the clear-cut best free agent starting pitcher available. The Nationals are also pursuing possible trades to upgrade their rotation. Their top priority should they make a trade, even over the Royals' Zack Greinke, is Matt Garza of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The asking price for Garza, who turns 27 next season and is under team control through the 2014 season, would not be cheap. With a good chance the Rays trade Jason Bartlett, it would almost certainly include shortstop Ian Desmond, an emerging team leader whom the Nationals have described as their shortstop for the next decade. It would be incredibly difficult for the Nationals to pull the trigger on any trade that includes Desmond.

By Adam Kilgore  | December 8, 2010; 10:09 AM ET
 
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Next: Scott Boras talks Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Carlos Pena, Adrian Beltre

Comments

Tempting as Garza is for a team so in need of starting pitching, I have watched a certain other team in town trade its future for current stars for years. Has not worked out well. Go for Pavano as a fix until some of the younger guys are healed and ready.

Posted by: NatsFly | December 8, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Prefer signing free-agents as well right now, as opposed to trades. Save out bullets for later. And it only costs Uncle Ted's money! I would prefer to keep The Hammer in the lineup, with his 25 dingers!

Posted by: 1of9000 | December 8, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

There is conflicting information out there about Garza to the Nats. At least one report was that the Rays did not think the Nats were a good fit for a trade, because the Nats best trade chips were middle infielders. The Rays think they have the middle infield covered with prospects - that's why they can trade away Bartlett.

Similar reports are out there on Grienke - the Royals are looking for something more and different than what the Nats are offering.

Although I have not heard any rumors to this effect, it would seem to me that the Giants are among the teams that might have pitching available (Sanchez?) and may want offensive upgrades.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 8, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't but a couple years ago the Twins were shipping Garza and Bartlett off to TB for Delmon Young and (I believe) Phillip Humber. My brother (a lifelong Twins fan - as am I) said Garza would be a star, but there's no way the Twins could deal with him anymore. Bartlett hit 300+ and the Twins coulnd't get rid of him fast enough.

For whatever reason, these guys perform and their teams aren't bending over to keep them - I'd stay away and go for Pavano.

Posted by: bflorhodes | December 8, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Interesting views on this Lee business by Ben Goessling on the MASN site. He acknowledges the fog of disinformation that is a part of the Winter Meetings and especially the Lee saga. He writes that the Lerners are wholeheartedly behind spending more money, realizing the need to make a splash after the PR fan disaster of the last few years. He concludes with this prediction: The Nats will "make a confident, if cautious, push for the left-hander and try to shock the baseball world again."

Posted by: mojo6 | December 8, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Boston should be the trade target for pitching since they want Willingham. They have Felix Doubront who isn't going anywhere given their rotation and he would be a great value for Willingham. I'd do the deal straight up, but since Doubront is an unproven talent and Willingham is a known, injury-prone, glove-challenged commodity, maybe we should ask for another lesser prospect and hope to heck that doesn't scare them off.

Posted by: Juliasdad | December 8, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Definitely agree with comments thus far. Try and sign the free agent. Desmond, and I know many don't agree, should be an intregal part of the Nat's future. And I hope they keep Norris as well--our future first baseman.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 8, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I say, go for it Teddy. Up the anti...what the heck, its only money and you've got tons of it, I hear in the vicinity of 3 to 4 billion bucks. Look, spend it now because as age advances the meter time for you to see your championship dreams gets shorter and I do hope you are around long enough to see your dreams realized. So plunk down whatever it takes, you'll eventually get it all back and more.

Posted by: cokedispatch | December 8, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Why is parting with Desond incredibly difficult? The kid may turn out to be a fine player, maybe even All Star caliber some day. But that is likely years and years away -- e.g. Stephen Drew who has more skill than Desmond (both with the bat and with the glove) and much more MLB experience is still something of a comer.

If the club could get Garza or Grienke and Desmond, Norris or Ramos had to go to in a package to make it happen, I would not shed a tear. Young Ace quality pitchers are very, very rare, position prospects are way more common.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 8, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Like that deal, Juliasdad--one I considered myself. And just maybe Boston would do it.
Unless the Nats (and this would be quite unlikely) could get someone like Rasmus, McCutchen, Youkilis, my list of untouchables would include Desmond, Espinosa, Norris, and possibility Ramus--those players along with the obvious, Strasburg, Zimmerman, Zimmermann, and Storen.
There are still some pieces left to make a trade for a lower profile pitcher, one who might be unproven but has immediate potential.
Clippard, Kimball, Lombardossi, Kobernus, Burgess, Lannan, Marrero, Peacock, Milone, Balister are a few decent players the Nats might consider. And, of course, Willingham and Bernadina.


Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 8, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Trade Nyjer and Screech to the Orioles for one of Boog's Bar-B-Que sandwiches.

Posted by: natsfan7 | December 8, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Trade Nyjer and Screech to the Orioles for one of Boog's Bar-B-Que sandwiches.

Posted by: natsfan7 | December 8, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The spirit of Frank Lane seems to have possed some on ths board. Until the farm pipeline is more filled, the NATS cannot afford to trade top prospects. It is the most interesing Hot Stove in years though.


Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | December 8, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

From mlbtraderumors:

It "sounds like Adam LaRoche [is] headed to [the] Nationals," tweets Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse. The market for first basemen is shrinking, with LaRoche and Derrek Lee the best two options still on the board.

Posted by: TimDz | December 8, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I care much less about the farm pipeline than I do about the MLB roster. There are no awards for building a club via the farm (which has supposedly been happening over the last 4 years), the Nats get no extra credit in the standings.

Garza is an Ace and he is under control for years and to get him is worth some good prospects, without doubt.

This club tends to over-value what they have. Werth was a nice surprise to the ordinary plan of action and way of thinking for the Nats. I hope it is a sign of things to come.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 8, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

anti-
auntie
ante, up the
antsy

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 8, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The trades that contending clubs make often include top prospects from their farm clubs traded to not-so-contending teams who have a stud they won't be able to retain. However, those clubs have spent time and money cultivating those farm teams so that they will have enough pieces to trade and still have stuff in the pipeline. If those teams didn't care about their farm teams, they wouldn't have that talent, couldn't make those trades, and wouldn't get guys like Adrian Gonzalez in trades.

However, when the Nats have so few decent prospects in the pipeline, trading some or all of them isn't the brightest move, in my opinion. If they can make a trade for Garza and not give up the farm, I'm all for it. But this team isn't in a great position to get rid of all of the prospects they have yet.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | December 8, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Sign free agents and keep the farm system intact for now.

The Nationals are a couple of years still away from really contending for a pennant, even if the club is much improved in 2011 and could look to be over .500 for the first time since leaving Montreal.

I would trade for Garza IF this was 2012 and the Nationals already had Strasburg back 100% and the other positions in the field settled.

But there is too much still to do in terms of personnel upgrades to focus too narrowly on one player in a mega deal.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | December 8, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

ESPN reports that Lee's agent says one team has been eliminated. It's become American Idol. Or is it Survivor?

Posted by: mojo6 | December 8, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The trades that contending clubs make often include top prospects from their farm clubs traded to not-so-contending teams who have a stud they won't be able to retain. However, those clubs have spent time and money cultivating those farm teams so that they will have enough pieces to trade and still have stuff in the pipeline. If those teams didn't care about their farm teams, they wouldn't have that talent, couldn't make those trades, and wouldn't get guys like Adrian Gonzalez in trades.
Posted by: Cavalier83

The reason they have players to trade is that in a lot of cases they've bought their big league club, and the prospects spend more time in the minors. The Red Sox bought their team - and the Nats would have the same situation if they had bought enough players at the big league level to create a backlog in the minors. But they didn't. The Red Sox create their competition from the top down, and that's the big myth about what the Nats have done - you don't have to have a great farm system in order to win at the big league level. They could have gotten Gonzalez too, they have enough to give up, they're just overrating their prospects for PR purposes because they've been stuck with waiting on them to get to the majors and produce. I'd trade Desmond and move Espinosa to SS, second basemen are easier to find anyway.

Posted by: Brue | December 8, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

If Fielder were a free agent maybe?

But he's not and the Nats aren't going to clean themselves out of prospects to get a Prince Fielder. Not going to happen. It might happen for a young, top of the rotation starting pitcher or two. But for Fielder? No chance what are you folks thinking? No way, no dice, not going to happen? Faggetaboutit.

They might trade for a left handed hitting first base prospect who is blocked by a better player. That blocked player might become another Fielder. I suspect that is the direction they might go given the dearth of left handed, good fielding first basemen in their system. Marerro and Moore are right handed and can't field. Bloxom has to prove he can do well in Potomac and Harrisburg.

They have a similar issue at CF. Only Eury Perez is out there currently and both Bernadina and Morgan are better in left field.

Again, their big problem is not a power hitting Prince Fielder type at first base. Its still STARTING PITCHING. And Pavano is not a top of the rotation starter he is like getting another Marquis.

Posted by: periculum | December 8, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"I care much less about the farm pipeline than I do about the MLB roster. There are no awards for building a club via the farm (which has supposedly been happening over the last 4 years), the Nats get no extra credit in the standings."

And so how did Texas and San Francisco get to the playoffs and world series again? Tampa Bay? Even Boston. They are all in the top 5 -8 ranked farm system wise?

dfh21 you should go back to the Redskins blog and commiserate. IN baseball the farm system is the engine that drives the major league team. Only the notion of wearing pinstripes for many free agents (and the loose purse strings) attracts players to the Yankees. Playing in NY helps. Everywhere else its farm system first. Period end of story.

Posted by: periculum | December 8, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"The Red Sox bought their team - and the Nats would have the same situation "

That is categorically UNTRUE. Witness the recent trade for a very young first baseman named Adrian Gonzalez from SD. They lost three prized prospects! Their GM considered likened it to a gut punch?

What planet are you from again?

Posted by: periculum | December 8, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly, after one halfway decent season, Pavano is considered good?! No way I want him anywhere near my roster! I would trade Desmond (+) for Garza in a minute! Maybe we could pick up Emmanuel Burriss from the Giants for a great hometown story. He can play ss and 2b!

Posted by: JpJp | December 8, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

For Boston who are: Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury.
Catching Prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia came from farm rich Texas for prospects and players.

These are all highly touted highly ranked prospects who will likely end up in Boston's starting lineup?

There's also Ryan Kalish and Darnell McDonald.

Jon Lester SP drafted by Boston 2nd round.
Clay Bucholtz SP drafte by Boston 1st round.
Daniel Bard RP drafted 1st round by Boston.


Sure they traded players away, and more recently they've been going young and athletic? But Boston does not feed off the FA market like the Yankees do.

Posted by: periculum | December 8, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

He is an average SP whose best years are behind him yet sadly would be a huge upgrade for us. That shows how terrible our SP is now


Add in that he is a HUGE injury risk and that only complicates things

Posted by: Bious | December 8, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The solid organizations like the Red Sox, Angels, Phillies, etc. have solid farm systems but, they also spend money on the ML roster to fill the cracks and keep the prospects playing and improving in the minors. The Lerners won't spend money on the ML and therefore have to rush the youngsters through the system.

And before anyone says it, Werth ain't enough. It will take 2-3 more mid-large signings before I'm a beliver that the Lerners have changed their cheap ways.

I'm just hoping this wasn't a PR move to make it look like they will spend money. Right now, they are still near the bottom in payroll even with the Werth signing.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 8, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm not wild about Pavano, either. He had a great 2010, no doubt, going 17-11 with an ERA of 3.75. But he had an ERA of 5.10 in 2009, 5.77 in 2008 (when he was injured and made just 7 starts), 4.76 in 2007 (when he was injured and made just 2 starts), and he didn't pitch at all in 2006. And he's 35 on opening day. I'd rather see them run Maya and Detwiler out there next year while we wait for 2012.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 8, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Darnell McDonald was an O's 1st round pick over a decade ago.

Anyhow, Brue is way off. Papelbon and Youkilis are also home grown. Varitek, Beckett and Wakefield were acquired through trades. Ortiz and Wakefield were released by MIN & PIT and initially signed as cheap free agents worth a flier. The only big ticket free agents are Lackey, Drew & Matsusaka.

The Red Sox, in fact, have yet to give out a contract over $100 mil (though that will change the Gonzalez extension).

BOS shells out millions on international free agents and over slot draft picks to have the farm system surplus most teams envy.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | December 8, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Darnell McDonald was an O's 1st round pick over a decade ago.

Anyhow, Brue is way off. Papelbon and Youkilis are also home grown. Varitek, Beckett and Wakefield were acquired through trades. Ortiz and Wakefield were released by MIN & PIT and initially signed as cheap free agents worth a flier. The only big ticket free agents are Lackey, Drew & Matsusaka.

The Red Sox, in fact, have yet to give out a contract over $100 mil (though that will change the Gonzalez extension).

BOS shells out millions on international free agents and over slot draft picks to have the farm system surplus most teams envy.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | December 8, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

AK tweeted the following:

"Am told Adam LaRoche to #Nats is not imminent, not at all a lock to happen."

Hmmmmmn.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 8, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The reason they have players to trade is that in a lot of cases they've bought their big league club, and the prospects spend more time in the minors. The Red Sox bought their team - and the Nats would have the same situation if they had bought enough players at the big league level to create a backlog in the minors. But they didn't. The Red Sox create their competition from the top down, and that's the big myth about what the Nats have done - you don't have to have a great farm system in order to win at the big league level. They could have gotten Gonzalez too, they have enough to give up, they're just overrating their prospects for PR purposes because they've been stuck with waiting on them to get to the majors and produce. I'd trade Desmond and move Espinosa to SS, second basemen are easier to find anyway.

Posted by: Brue | December 8, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Brue, this is one of the most profound posts ever to grace these pages, and if you look at the Red Sox World Series Roster - it's true. It's why Kasten left.
It's why Rizzo will leave before he can be tarred with another 90+ loss season. C'mon, pants, you can't take it with you - spend the money!!!

Posted by: flynnie321 | December 8, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly, after one halfway decent season, Pavano is considered good?! No way I want him anywhere near my roster!
Posted by: JpJp

Pavano stole $40 million from the Yankees when he was injured for almost four full years, he even changed his telephone number and the team couldn't even get in touch with him for awhile. He was Haynesworth before Haynesworth was Haynesworth. Don't do it Pants!! Don't do it!!!!

Posted by: Brue | December 8, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Brue, this is one of the most profound posts ever to grace these pages, and if you look at the Red Sox World Series Roster - it's true. It's why Kasten left.
It's why Rizzo will leave before he can be tarred with another 90+ loss season. C'mon, pants, you can't take it with you - spend the money!!!

Posted by: flynnie321

Thanks. Yeah there's a big difference in what the Nats do and the perennially successful teams do. People don't like to hear that you can buy a team and win big like Wayne Huizenga did with the Marlins. They can't pontificate on the virtues of grooming your own prospects, and the patience it takes. The Nats could probably unload everybody in their organization outside of Harper and Strasburg - hence the comment that leaked out that everybody was tradebait except for R Zimm and one or two others. It's true - the Nats prospects aren't all that different from a lot of teams. Guys like Norris - he's 5'9", fat, gets injured all the time and walks a lot. I'm sure Desmond will be a decent major leaguer, but he's basically an idiot, imo, and guys like that tend to bring a team down, like with his fielding, and the lack of concentration that goes with it. Sammy Solis looked alright in the AFL this fall, though - he was up over 90 mph and everything was down around the knees.

That was a good point about Rizzo getting tarred with the cheap brush - everyone KNOWS that's why StanK left. Pure and simple. I wonder how much the Werth signing was a deal cut between the Lerners and Boras - it almost had to be because the terms were so much higher than anyone else had offered. Who knows. I'd be surprised if they didn't go back to cheaping it, being chicken**** when it comes to trading prospects, and having Werth be a malcontent because of it.

Posted by: Brue | December 8, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The reality is that no club builds a winner by the farm alone. The farm system of a club does not drive its big league club. The big league club drives itself, and winning clubs fuel themselves by a lot of means. Sure, it is important to have quality players on the farm, for a lot of reasons, but one of the big reasons is so that they can be traded away for other guys to fill needs of the big club. No?

Anyway, the way I see it, for the little it is worth, if the Nats, as desperate for high quality pitching (the most important piece to a winning puzzle by most accounts) as they are, can get an Ace caliber guy under control for several years in return for some high level prospects in the range of the Gonzlez trade, they should pull the trigger.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 8, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"Brue, this is one of the most profound posts ever to grace these pages, and if you look at the Red Sox World Series Roster - it's true.
. . .
Posted by: flynnie321 | December 8, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse "
---------------------------
Well, if you were being sarcastic, you'd be spot on. The 2007 World Series club, which was built by current management (Theo and the Trio), featured only 3 players initially acquired as high price FAs (Manny, Drew, Lugo) and one posted NPB player (Dice-K). Otherwise, Youkilis, Pedroia, Ellsbury, DelCarmen, Papelbon, and Lester were draft choices. The rest were trades (Beckett, Lowell, Crisp, Schilling, Gagne, Mirabelli, Lopez) or initially low cost "dumpster dives" (Ortiz, Wakefield) that worked out. While Beckett, Lowell, and Schilling were picked up using some financial muscle, they were acquired for quality prospects like Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Brandon Lyon, and Jorge De La Rosa.

If you want to learn a lesson from Boston, then don't skimp on the draft, use free agency sparingly, and don't be afraid to use financial muscle when weak teams no longer can afford their talent.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 8, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

True, Brue, true. Werth is used to being on a winning team. And a team of great guys who produced one of my best baseball moments ever. On July 8, 2007 I was watching the Phils play the Rockies. led by Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard, and helped by Umps Bill Welke and John Hirshbeck, they saved a groundskeeper caught under the tarp from a wild Colorado windstorm. I recall a lot of them laughing, holding the tarp in place in the rain that followed the wind. Was Werth among them?

Posted by: flynnie321 | December 8, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie!

I believe the answer is yes. See for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT1t9BXkeLg

Posted by: BobLHead | December 8, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree that moving prospects to acquire studs is a good idea. My concern is that it has taken several years to build up the underwhelming stable of prospects the Nats currently have. I assume that it will get better with Rizzo at the helm, and his track record in signing draft choices over the last two drafts has been pretty amazing. I am just skittish about giving up the few prospects the Nats do have at this point. On the other hand, I would be ecstatic if they could get Greinke...I just fear what it would take to make that happen.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | December 8, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

>If you want to learn a lesson from Boston, then don't skimp on the draft, use free agency sparingly, and don't be afraid to use financial muscle when weak teams no longer can afford their talent.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity

Yeah, it's not all one thing or the other, but you named 6 guys out of 25 as homegrown. I'm sure there are a couple of others, but it's not a lot. You are describing all of the things Pants is lacking, he doesn't seem to have the big eye for the dumpster dives, he keeps gambling on hurt pitching, he keeps getting burned. Olsen, Marquis, Wang and on. Webb!? I don't think the dude has the eye for a) high-level talent (he touts defense and speed, hardly nuanced categories and b) a bead on how an athlete's body works. If he did, he wouldn't have signed Wang, because when you get up into the shoulder, it's usually all over, especially if you're a hard thrower. I'm almost hoping they don't sign LaRoche, so he can actually come up with a better alternative in a trade. If they let LaRoche slip away, and he gets a mediocre replacement, he's toast. I'd rather watch Morse get busted in on his hands for 600 ABs than worry about the rest of the choices. Who knows, maybe HE can hit 40. He had 15 last year in 266 ABs, he certainly could hit 30. How stoopid would they look if he and Werth had the same type numbers. And they'd still be in last place.

Posted by: Brue | December 8, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Very simple, trade Willingham and Desmond for Garza/minor league player.

Posted by: shred11 | December 8, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

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