Washington Nationals: Are Zack Greinke And Matt Garza Worth It?

The Washington Nationals didn't steal any headlines from their divisional rivals in Philadelphia with the two official announcements they made today, though one is sound, I guess, and the other is welcome news for the legions of Michael Morse fans waiting to order name and # t's with the correct number affixed below the name of the people's choice for 2011's starting first baseman in the nation's capital. (At least according to D.C. Skipper Jim Riggleman.) While the Phillies were enjoying the fact that they'd signed Cliff Lee out from under the Yanks and Texas Rangers' noses, the Nationals announced that they'd signed left-handed bench bat Matt Stairs to a minor league deal with a invitation to Spring Training, describing the 42-year-old Stairs on the team's official Twitter (@NatsTownNews) as an, "18-year MLB veteran with post-season experience...[and] MLB's all-time leader with 23 pinch-hit home runs." (ed. note - "Later in the day, the Nats announced that Michael Morse would wear the no.38 for those who were impatiently waiting for the second of the two news releases.")

Stairs brings four years of post-season experience to the Nats' bench/clubhouse, with the most-recent playoff action coming as a member of the '08 World Series championship-winning Phillies and the '09 NL Champs. (Before that he got as far as the ALDS with Oakland in 2000 and did the same with Boston in 1995). (More Phillies? Please not Blanton too.) With the Padres last season, Stairs hit 6 HR's, 4 of them pinch hit HR's which tied for the Major League lead, after he'd led all big league pinch hitters in 2009 with 5 HR's for the Philies. Stairs hit 13 HR's in '08 in 121 games played for Philly and the Toronto Blue Jays.) Think of him as the new D.Ward or Kevin Mench

What the Nats didn't do today was sign a first baseman or pitcher...

The Texas Rangers, having lost out on Cliff Lee to the Phillies, were expected to turn to Zack Greinke, a pitcher they'd reportedly admired for some time, although ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick wrote earlier this week in an article entitled, "Sources: Jays, Nats after Zack Greinke", that the Royals were saying Texas, "...rank[ed] down the list of potential fits for Greinke," which might explain AOL/Fanhouse writer Ed Price's (@ed_price) tweets today which reported first that an, "MLB source said Rangers pushed last night for Matt Garza but deal with Rays fell through," and three hours later quoted an unnamed source with Tampa Bay who said the, "Rays insist they did not discuss a deal to send Garza to [the] Rangers." 

The Chicago Cubs, according to DailyHerald.com writer Bruce Miles, are still interested in the Rays' 27-year-old right-hander, as ESPNChicago.com writer Bruce Levine reported last week in an article from the Winter Meetings entitled, "Sources: Cubs targeting Matt Garza", in which Mr. Levin had written that the two teams met during, "...the Winter Meetings on Wednesday night to discuss the parameters of a trade." According to the DailyHerald.com's Mr. Miles, "Matt Garza is still very much in play for the Cubs, who are still trying to get a hand on the Tampa Bay Rays’ appetite for moving the pitcher." He also writes that Chicago's trying to sign free agent right-hander Brandon Webb too, another pitcher who'd been linked to the Nats via unnamed source.

The New York Yankees, haven't been linked to Garza. The Rays trading the starter within their own division doesn't make much sense, and the Yankees were also said to be, "...rank[ed] down the list of potential fits for Greinke," along with the Rangers according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick's article earlier this week. New York Newsday writer Ken Davidoff wrote late this afternoon, in an article entitled, "The Cliff Lee aftermath, Andy Pettitte, Russell Martin and Hideki Matsui", that though some who know Greinke think the 27-year-old who's publically dealt with anxiety issues in the past, (there's your obligatory mention), would be fine in New York, "...the Yankees don't agree." Mr. Davidoff quotes an unnamed official, "the same one who told me in November to look out for the Nationals as a dark horse for Jayson Werth", who tells him he, "...thinks Washington will get [Greinke],":

"The Nats can use Jordan Zimmermann as a centerpiece and also have depth at catcher and shortstop."

Mr. Davidoff mentions that he'd spoken to another unnamed official who'd recommended the Yankees get Greinke by packaging top catching prospect Jesus Montero (a 21-year-old catcher Russell Martin's signing might have made expendable, who was Baseball America's 4th best prospect in baseball before the 2010 season), Manuel Banuelos (a 20-year-old highly-regarded LHP who just pitched in the AFL) and Slade Heathcott (a 20-year-old outfielder and '09 1st Round pick.) Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore quoted a "major league source" yesterday in an article entitled, "Nationals 'aggressively pursuing' trade for Zack Greinke and Matt Garza; but can they make it happen?", who said the Nats don't want to part with shortstop Ian Desmond or Jordan Zimmermann, but Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos are both mentioned as players the Nats might possibly deal...

Or there's always Carl Pavano...

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