The Washington Nationals are set to introduce new right fielder Jayson Werth to the D.C. press corps at 1:00 pm EST this afternoon in a press conference from Nationals Park that will be televised live on MASN. The Nats signed the 31-year-old outfielder to a 7-year/$126 million dollar deal that shocked the baseball world on the eve of the Winter Meetings in a move the Nats' GM Mike Rizzo said signified the start of Phase 2 of the Washington Nationals' process of building a competitive organization that will, in Mr. Rizzo's words, "really compete for Division titles and championships", with a roster, "...built on pitching, defense and athleticism," as the General Manager wrote last night in an address to fans of the Nationals:
"Jayson's signing stunned the assembled baseball universe two weekends ago in Orlando. As fun as it was to make the announcement, the signing also ushered in Phase Two of our franchise's evolution where we add the key pieces that will help us compete for division titles and championships."
By signing Werth, one of the top outfielders on the market this winter, the Nationals add what Mr. Rizzo described as, "a middle-of-the-order bat, an above-average athlete and elite defender." In 2010, Werth's fourth season in Philadelphia, the right fielder posted a .296/.388/.532 slash line with an NL-leading 46 doubles, 27 home runs and 85 RBI's in 156 games and 554 at bats, ending his time in Philadelphia with a combined .282/.380/.506 line.
The Nats are reportedly not done building, however...
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes this morning in an article entitled, "King Felix should be untouchable", that the Nats are still interested in 34-year-old free agent starter Carl Pavano, though the writer's sources say neither the Nats or Brewers (another team linked to the right-hander this winter), "... want to go beyond two years," for the 12-year MLB veteran who's coming off a bounce-back season in Minnesota. MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling spoke to Pavano's agent Tom O'Connell yesterday for an article entitled, "Nationals are still in on Carl Pavano, but market is crowded", in which he quoted Pavano's rep saying, "the Nationals are still in the mix for Pavano," as Mr. Goessling wrote, though the starter is said to be, "[taking] his time leafing through options and letting the market escalate."
New York Newsday writer Ken Davidoff quoted a source last night in an article entitled, "Pettitte, Russell Martin and Hideki Matsui", who predicted that the Nats would end up with another name starter whose name keeps coming up as a potential trade target, Zack Greinke. FOXSports.com's Mr. Rosenthal, however, writes this morning that, "The Nationals are at an impasse in their quest to land Greinke,":
"The holdup is the Nats’ reluctance to include right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, one source says."
Does the D.C. GM decide to part with the top pitcher in the system before Stephen Strasburg arrived? Will Rizzo include the solid 24-year-old potential no.2 starter who's a year-removed from Tommy John surgery in a package for a former Cy Young award winning 27-year-old Greinke who's under control for the next two seasons after which he'd become a free agent if not signed to an extension?
The news today will be the introduction of the Nats' new outfielder. But they can't be done. The Nationals still need a first baseman and the rotation (and bullpen) could use an upgrade. What will Rizzo do next?