The Washington Nationals And The MLB Hot Stove: Why Not The Washington Nationals?

Alright, Already! The Nationals ARE NOT Interested In Manny Ramirez...

The Washington Nationals have been saying "No" all winter, but I had to wonder, with the reports out of L.A. yesterday, and with the Nationals' main free agent target, (after Mark Te - - - - ra), outfielder (1B?) Adam Dunn still undecided...but DC GM Jim Bowden made it clear today, once more for all who were asking, in another article by MLB.com's Bill Ladson entitled, "Manny, Nats marriage not happening", when Mr. Bowden reiterated the team's stance (which is hinted at in that title)

"'We are not pursuing Manny Ramirez,' Bowden said on Tuesday evening."

Alright...Once more, The Washington Nationals are not interested in free agent outfielder Manny Ramirez, the career .314/41/133 per 162 game* adventure in the outfield, who quite unbelievably, (for anyone who didn't watch him roll around on Fenway's outfield grass last season), remains on the market in the first week of February. 

(ed. note - " * = Manny Ramirez's Career 162 G AVG acc. to baseball-reference.com.")

As For Adam Dunn...

Someone? decided that it would be a good idea to leak (officially/unofficially at least) the news that Adam Dunn has been "sitting" on an offer from the Washington Nationals all winter, which was reported ad infinitum on XM radio yesterday after SI.com writer Jon Heyman wrote, in an article entitled, "Nationals still waiting on Dunn", about what a "baseball source" had told him of the Nationals' offer to Dunn and what Dunn's reluctance to accept it says about his desire to play in DC:

"Dunn could still wind up in Washington, but the Nationals' offer has sat there so long he's sent a clear message he'd prefer to go elsewhere."

So why did the news that there was an offer surface in the news cycle today? More than one caller and host today on the XM shows I was listening to wondered aloud about whether or not the Washington Nationals were being used, with the news leaked to let other teams know that Dunn has "an offer" he could accept...which might mean that Dunn's about to accept it too...if no one else steps up with money and years...

In the same MLB.com/Bill Ladson article quoted above, Mr. Ladson references the SI.com article by Mr. Heyman and adds an anecdote to the end of the report, writing that the DC GM Jim Bowden:

"Without mentioning names... said during the Nationals Caravan recently that certain free agents needed to lower their price range."

What do you think the Nationals offered Adam Dunn? 

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal's best guess, as expressed this afternoon in an article entitled, "Dodgers have options but Manny may not", seems to be that Washington's offer to Adam Dunn is more than just a one-year deal, with Mr. Rosenthal writing:

"Dunn probably does not want to accept a multi-year deal from the lowly Nationals, but might be inclined to take a superior one-year offer with the right contender -- say, the Red Sox or Yankees."

"Lowly", nice. But Mr. Rosenthal's not alone in his assessment of the Nationals' chances for success this season, as another MLB.com writer, Mike Bauman offered his perspective, in an MLB.com "Baseball Perspectives" column entitled, "NL East will play out on the arms", in which he quickly sums up his view of how the Nationals fared in their division's "arms race" last season, writing:

"The Nationals ranked 14th in the NL last year in team ERA. The four NL teams that qualified for the postseason ranked one through four in that category."

That's, uh, 14th out of 16, mind you...But when it comes to the '09 Nationals, Mr. Bauman takes a moment to do something baseball writers rarely seem to do anywhere that I read, which is to acknowledge a positive aspect of the Nationals' roster, when he notes that:

"...at least the Nats have some young promising arms to build a future upon, including lefty starters John Lannan and Scott(ed.) Olsen, Joel Hanrahan, who took over the closer's role in the second half of 2008, and reliever Steven Shell, who put up a 2.16 ERA in 39 appearances with the Nationals last season."

...and Nationals fans have Jordan Zimmermann to get to know if he manages to make the rotation, and the return of Collin Balester to look forward to...as well as late-inning lefty vs lefty matchups with Mike Hinckley, set-up work by Saul "Sa-ool" Rivera, aka "The Hardest Working Reliever in Showbiz", Garrett Mock making a, uh, "mockery" of opposing batters (have to work on that)...and eventually, hopefully, Ross Detwiler's ascencion to full-time status in DC...or at least that's what I'm looking forward to when it comes to the Nationals' arms this season...

(ed. note - "To keep up with what we're hearing all day, or add any info/reports you may come across, check out the federalbaseball.com Twitter feed.")

Serie del Caribe...Caribbean Series Update...

Ronnie Belliard, Anderson Hernandez and Ricardo Nanita, the 3 DC players who played today in the second game of the Caribbean Series for the Dominican Winter League winners, the Tigres del Licey, against Puerto Rico's Leones de Ponce, who had recently-signed Minor League free agent Jorge Padilla in their lineup in the Tigres' 2-1 win.

Belliard, Hernandez and Nanita were a combined 0 for 10, with Belliard walking once, but all the offense Licey would need came from Mets' outfield prospect Fernando Martinez, who let teammate Jose Bautista trot home with a 2-run blast for the 2-1 lead after Bautista had taken a two-out walk to keep the seventh inning alive.

The Tigres split the first two games of the Caribbean Series' 1st Round round-robin play, and tomorrow they take on the host team, the Mexican entry in the Series, Mazatlan Venados, who feature the Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. 

Game 3 of the Caribbean Series is tomorrow night at 6:00 pm PST (aka 9:00 pm EST)...(ed. note - "I'll be watching LOST, but I'll check in...")

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