Washington Nationals: Rule 5 Draft/Winter Meetings Wrap.

• While you were sleeping the Washington Nationals were still out there in Indianapolis talking trades, talking to agents and attempting to make one last deal before the end of the 2009 Winter Meetings. At 11:16 pm EST Wednesday night, the Washington Times reported via Twitter that the New York Yankees would have Washington draft the Yanks' 25-year-old left-handed '05 5th Round draft pick, pitcher Zach Kroenke, "...first in (the) Rule 5 Draft," and then, "..trade him back (to NY) to complete the Brian Bruney deal." Continuing the report, Washington Times' writer Ben Goessling noted in an article entitled, "Nats will select Kroenke first in Rule 5", that, "Kroenke's value increased this week after (NY) traded left-hander Phil Coke," in the three-team blockbuster deal with the D-Backs and Tigers, and now Kroenke, the Lincoln, Nebraska native and University of Nebraska product:

"...could find work on the team as a lefty specialist next season, and there has been enough interest in the 25-year-old that the Yankees are afraid of losing him."

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• Nationals Rumors At The Official Site, The Times and The Post.

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• Nationals Rumors At The Official Site, The Times and The Post.

• MLB.com's Bill Ladson was still up and reporting at 2:00 am last night (this morning), sending out a Tweet which updated the persistent rumors of the New York Mets' interest in Washington Nationals' outfielder Josh Willingham by writing:

"The Mets wanted to know which player the Nats wanted for OF Josh Willingham, but the Nats told New York they plan to hold on to J.W." 

• In an article wrapping up the news from the third day of the Winter Meetings entitled, "Nats searching for arms, backup infielder, MLB.com's Bill Ladson went on to write that Washington, "...still has interest in right-hander Livan Hernandez, the team's own free agent, and right-hander Jason Marquis," and in addition to some of the other pitchers' names that were mentioned as being on the Nationals' radar last night, Washington was still, "...looking for an infielder, most likely a backup second baseman to help the team defensively," now that they had decided to go ahead with their plans to move Guzman to second base next season.

• Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's last report of the night entitled, "Rizzo Day III Briefing", quoted the DC GM Mike Rizzo talking about Washington's pursuit of a middle infielder, writing that, "Rizzo now sees the signing/acquisition of a 2B as being more likely, especially with free agents Adam Everett and Bobby Crosby off the market," and quoting Mr. Rizzo himself, who states that he, "...think(s) there's certainly more second baseman available of interest than there are shortstops of interest," though Mr. Rizzo doesn't mention the names of any infielders in particular. 

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