Washington Nationals: Winter Meetings Targets...Starting Pitching.

Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin wrote this afternoon, in an article entitled, "Nats aren't expecting hot stove fireworks", about the Washington Nationals' goals for next week's Winter Meetings. Mr. Sheinin restates what the Nationals have been saying all fall and continue to repeat heading into the start of the Meetings on Monday, they want to add, "At least one veteran starting pitcher, at least one reliable veteran reliever, a catcher and perhaps a middle infielder," and are now favoring trades over free agent signings as the avenue through which they'd like to address those needs, but for the first time, Mr. Sheinin identifies some of the pitchers the Nationals are looking at:

"Among the possible targets are pitchers whose contracts their teams are looking to shed, such as Atlanta's Javier Vazquez (one year remaining at $11.5 million), or arbitration-eligible pitchers whose teams need payroll savings, such as Florida's Ricky Nolasco or Detroit's Edwin Jackson."

(cont.)...

The Detroit Tigers, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi's 11/11/09 article entitled, "Sources: Tigers open to trading All-Star Jackson", which quotes "multiple major league sources" as the source of the reports, have, "...made Jackson available on the trade market as part of an effort to alleviate their payroll crunch," though Mr. Morosi updated the situation in Detroit today in an update of FOXSports.com's, "Latest Buzz from the MLB offseason", subtitled, "Sources: Tigers not likely to trade Cabrera any time soon", wherein Mr. Morosi writes that though the Tigers probably can't deal Miguel Cabrera for a variety of reasons:

"'If the team dealt Cabrera, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski would have less motivation to deal starter Edwin Jackson and popular center fielder Curtis Granderson."

But since the Tigers don't think they can contend without Cabrera's power in their lineup, in Mr. Morosi's opinion, "At this point, the sources believe that the Tigers are more likely to trade Jackson and/or Granderson than Cabrera." Jackson, a 26-year-old right-hander originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, was traded to Tampa Bay in 2006 and then moved to Detroit last December in a Winter Meeting trade that sent outfielder Matt Joyce to the Rays. In his third full season in the majors (7th overall), the right-hander was (13-9) with a 3.62 ERA in 33 starts and 214.0 IP in 2009, over which he posted a 1.26 WHIP, walking 70 (2.9 BB/9) while recording 161 K's (6.8 K/BB) with a (+3.5) WAR value according to Fangraphs.com.

The Atlanta Braves, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman's blog post entitled, "Wren heading to Indy with a shorter shopping list", will be heading into the Winter Meetings with the intention of, "...finding at least one bat and a suitor that is willing to deal for either Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez." The Washington Post's Mr. Sheinin points to right-hander Javier Vazquez's 1-year/$11.5 million dollar deal which the Braves would be seeking to shed as the reason the Nationals' might be able to pry the 33-year-old former Montreal Expos' draft pick who's now pitched for the Expos, Yankees, D-Backs and White Sox, away from the Braves, for whom he was (15-10) with a 2.87 ERA in 32 starts and 219.1 IP in 2009, over which he allowed 181 H, 70 ER, 20 HR and 44 walks (1.8 BB/9), while collecting 238 K's (9.8 K/9) and posting a 1.03 WHIP and a (+6.6) WAR rating. 

Two days before Mr. Sheinin mentioned the Nationals' interest in the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco, MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an article entitled, "Pitching the focus for Nats at Meetings", wrote that, "...a baseball source indicated that the Nats have interest in Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who won 13 games this past season," prompting the SB Nation's Florida Marlins blog FishStripes' Craig Strain to email Nolasco's agent Matt Sosnick, who replied, as quoted in an article entitled, "Ricky Nolasco being shopped?":

"I haven't heard anything about that, but I believe that he is going to have a monster year in 2010.  He is the most underrated player that I represent."

(ed. note - "Emailing the agent? Brilliant...I wonder when in the process of a trade the agent would know?")

Nolasco, a soon-to-be 27-year-old right-hander drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 4th Round of the 2001 Draft and subsequently traded to Florida in a deal in which the Marlins acquired pitchers Sergio Mitre, Renyel Pinto and Nolasco in return for outfielder Juan Pierre, signed a 1-year/$2.4 million dollar deal, avoiding arbitration, is once again eligible and headed for a raise after his fourth MLB season, in which the Corona, California native was (13-9) with a 5.06 ERA in 31 starts and 185.0 IP in which he allowed 188 hits and 104 ER, walking 44 (2.1 K/9) and striking out 195 (9.5 K/9), while posting a 1.25 WHIP, with a (+4.2) WAR value. 

?'s And LINKS For The DC Faithful...

At the trading dealine last July, MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote, in a blog post entitled, "Willingham, Dunn drawing interest", that the Tigres were interested in both Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn, both of whom they saw as potential designated hitters...Would you expect more than Edwin Jackson from Detroit in return for Willingham? Would the Tigers want more than the Hammer? What's the Nationals' equivalent of Matt Joyce, who was ranked as high as 7th in the Tigers' system in 2007? The Atlanta Braves, according to Boston.com's Nick Carfado's article entitled, "Lowe prefers not to be spun out of Braves' rotation", are one of three teams, along with the Giants and Mariners who are interested in acquiring the Hammer. Can the Marlins and Nationals please stop trading with one another? It's embarrassing...Will the Fish or Braves trade pitchers as good as Nolasco and Vazquez in their own division? Can the Nationals bring Javier Vazquez, an Expos' pick from the 5th round of the '94 draft back into the fold? Do the Nationals have any chance of acquiring any of these pitchers? 

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