Wire Taps: ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick - "[Washington] Nationals Lurking In Cliff Lee Sweepstakes."

You'd have a hard time finding a single Washington Nationals fan who'll tell you they believe the Nats have a chance of signing free agent left-hander Cliff Lee, and an even harder time finding a D.C. fan who won't cynically mention the Nats' pursuit of Mark Teixeira in the next breath as evidence of how the nation's capital's favorite MLB team "pretends" to go after free agents (even though they did make a legitimate offer to the then-free agent according to his own agent who said he and Teixeira had been impressed by the Nats' offer and recruitment effort), so it's no surprise that Nats fans don't seem to believe Cliff Lee will consider Washington, D.C. as a potential destination when (and if) he decides to leave the Rangers. However, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick just wrote, in an article entitled, "Nationals lurking in Cliff Lee sweepstakes", that though the, "...Texas Rangers and New York Yankees are the obvious frontrunners for marquee free agent starter Cliff Lee,":

"...sources say the Washington Nationals are a potential sleeper team in the competition to land Lee. 'They're going to step up and try to get a top free agent,' one baseball insider said. 'They'd like to make a splash.'"

Do I believe the Nats will sign Lee? No. The other avenues the Nats might pursue in trying to add a top-of-the-rotation starter which Mr. Crasnick mentions seem more likely...

"If the Nationals fail to land Lee, they'll look for pitching elsewhere on the free agent market or try to swing a deal for a James Shields, Matt Garza or another starter who might be available in trade."

But Mr. Crasnick notes, as MLB.com's Bill Ladson and several other Nats beat writers have, that any deal to bring a front line starter to D.C. is going to require the Nationals to part with their top prospects, and "...the Nats have no interest in parting with young middle infielders Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, so GM Mike Rizzo's trade chips are limited." Will D.C. GM Mike Rizzo be able to bring the front-of-the-rotation arm he's after to Washington? In Rizzo We Trust?

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