Apparently the story of the Washington Nationals' offer to Jorge De La Rosa is really a story about another pitcher choosing a home other than the nation's capital given the choice on the free agent market, as reports now have the 29-year-old left-hander agreeing on a 3-year/$30-33M dollar deal that will keep him in Colorado. FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote earlier this evening about the Rockies and Nationals both having made offers to the lefty in an article entitled, "De La Rosa close with Rockies", but De La Rosa, (as the title hints), has apparently decided to stay with the team that acquired the one-time D-Backs' and Red Sox' prospect (who's played for the Brewers and Royals) from Kansas City in a March 26/April 30, 2008 PTBNL deal for RHP Ramon Ramirez (of the '10 WS Champ Giants)...
Asked about Washington's pursuit of Cliff Lee in an interview with Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio's Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette a few weeks back, D.C. GM Mike Rizzo admitted that the, "the chances of Cliff wanting to come to the Washington Nationals at this time in our franchise [are] small," so the talk in Nats' circles turned to their pursuit of pitchers on the secondary-starter market which began immediately after Lee, the one true no.1 starter available via free agency: De La Rosa, Javier Vazquez and Carl Pavano. Vazquez, who reportedly turned down longer offers, (though it's not known if the Nationals made one) settled for a one-year/$7M dollar deal with Florida. De La Rosa's decided to stay in Coors Field. Pavano? The 34-year-old right-hander who'll turn 35 in January is reportedly seeking a three-year deal as well, with the Twins hoping to keep him in Minnesota while the Nats, Brewers and Marlins (at one time) were reportedly trying to lure him away. Brandon Webb? He's another Chien-Ming Wang-esque risk.
The Nats' General Manager had said earlier this winter that a top-of-the-rotation or no.1, ace-like starter was on the top of Washington's list of offseason needs since '09 no.1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg figures to miss most if not all of the 2011 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Having gauged the market during the recently-completed GM Meetings, however, Mr. Rizzo told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, as quoted in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "The Nationals' search for a top starter won't be easy", that it might not be possible with what's available this winter:
"'I think a few of them could fill a front-of-the-rotation starter,' Rizzo said. 'I don't think any of them are No. 1 starters, which are very, very few and far between.'"
The Winter Meetings haven't even started and most of the pitchers the Nationals (and any teams searching for pitching) had targeted are off the market. Vazquez and De La Rosa are signed (or are about to sign in De La Rosa's case.) Cliff Lee's a long-shot for anyone other than the Rangers and Yankees, Pavano makes no sense in D.C. at the price he's likely to command, and the Nats will have to give up more than they're probably willing to if they get involved in trade talks for the Zach Greinkes of the world. But the Nats are busy with other pursuits anyway, as FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports at the end of the article on De La Rosa deciding to stay put:
"The Nationals' pursuit of De La Rosa was complicated by their efforts to sign hitters, most notably free-agent first baseman Carlos Pena."