Washington Nationals: Weekend Rumors - Jon Garland And...Randy Winn?

• That the Washington Nationals are interested in free agent right-hander Jon Garland is not news, then ESPN-writer Peter Gammons spotted Garland's agent talking to the Nationals on the first day of the just-completed Winter Meetings, but the fact that they're talking dollars and years is a revelation, as FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported this morning in an update of FOXSports.com's, "Buzz: Latest from the MLB offseason", subtitled "Sources: Nats eye Garland" that an unnamed source of his says, "Garland, 30, is seeking a three-year contract...(but)..the Nationals would prefer to sign him for two years." If the Nationals are unable to reach a deal with Garland, Mr. Rosenthal's source believes, "...the Nats could turn to another free-agent starter, possibly right-hander Jason Marquis or lefty Doug Davis." 

• Garland was in the final year of a 3-year/$29M dollar contract when he was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the LA Angels for SS Orlando Cabrera in November 2007. Following the '08 campaign, the right-handed starter signed a 1-year/$7.25M dollar free agent deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in late January of 2009, and he was subsequently traded by the D-Backs to the LA Dodgers in late August '09, with Los Angeles declining to pick up his option after the season, making him a free agent once again. ESPN.com's Keith Law, in an update of their Rumor Central reports (for Insider's Only) entitled, "Nats in on three starters" says, "Giving Jon Garland more than one year is overpaying." Mr. Law believes that if the Nationals simply, "...hold firm and make the most lucrative 1-yr deal they get the player." 

• Mr. Law's colleague at ESPN, Jerry Crasnick sent out two Nationals-related Tweets this afternoon, in which he claimed that Washington was interested in free agent outfielder Randy Winn. The first Crasnick Tweet simply linked to another ESPN.com Rumor Central post entitled, "Crasnick: Winn on Nats' radar", and the second Crasnick Tweet explained why the Nationals are looking at the 35-year-old free agent outfielder:

"The Nationals like Winn's versatility, and think he could be a positive influence on Elijah Dukes. Do they have enough ABs for him?"

Mr. Crasnick cites Winn's weak '09 OPS and his .158 AVG against left-handers as the reasons why he's having a hard time finding a starting job as a free agent coming off a 3-year deal with the San Francisco Giants which paid the outfielder $8.25 million last year. Though Winn couldn't touch left-handed pitchers, (.158 AVG, .184 OPS in 120 AB's), Winn did manage to hit .292 with a .751 OPS in 418 AB's against righties last season, in which he hit 32 doubles, 2 triples and 3 HR's. Defensively, in 146 games (104 in RF, 54 in LF, 22 CF), Winn was error-free in '09, with the second-best UZR/150 rating in the NL amongst outfielders, behind only the Nationals' CF Nyjer Morgan.

Does Winn make sense in DC though? With Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell thought to be ready to challenge for at least a roster spot this season, and Willie Harris due $1.5M in the second-year of a two-year deal, does signing a solid 4th outfielder make any sense?

(ed. note - "Speaking of Nyjer Morgan...FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported in an update of FOXSports.com's, "Buzz: Latest on the MLB offseason", subtitled, "Cubs 'not leaning toward' any particular CF", that in their search for outfield help, the Chicago Cubs, according to "a source", "....have asked the Nationals about Nyjer Morgan...but Washington officials want to keep him." Are the Cubs nuts? Find your own base-stealing Tony Plush, Chi-Town!")

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