There were eight players from the 2011 Washington Nationals' roster among the 148 players that filed for free agency on Sunday. 32-year-old outfielder Rick Ankiel, 30-year-olds Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix, veteran infielder Alex Cora, 36, future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, 39, and pitchers Livan Hernandez, 36, Todd Coffey, 31 and Chien-Ming Wang, 31. The Nationals can negotiate exclusively with whichever players they decide to bring back for the 2012 campain (or longer) until Thursday at 12:01 am. After that the players can accept offers from the other 29 MLB teams.
The only player the Nats have openly talked about having negotiations with is right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, who spent the better part of two years under contract with Washington rehabbing his surgically-repaired shoulder before returning to the mound this season and making 11 starts in which he was (4-3) with a 4.04 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 13 walks (1.88 BB/9) and 25 K's (3.61 K/9) in 62.1 IP. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told reporters this week that though the Nats were talking to Wang's agent, "I wouldn't describe it as imminent or close, but we're still communicating and we still have a mutual interest for Chien-Ming to sign with the Nationals."
• Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo had Washington on a list of four teams interested in signing Texas Rangers' left-hander C.J. Wilson, 30, who finished his seventh season with the organization that drafted him with a (16-7) record, 2.94 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 2.98 BB/9 and 8.30 K/9 in 34 starts and 223.1 IP. "The Nationals, Royals, Yankees, and possibly the Red Sox, appear to be interested," Mr. Cafardo writes, but he also notes that there are mixed signals coming from the Rangers' front office. SI.com's Jon Heyman (@SI_JonHeyman) wrote on the Twitter recently that, "folks seem to think the nationals are going to make big play for cj wilson. $75-80M is best guess." The Boston Globe's Mr. Cafardo says, "... the Rangers may feel it wouldn’t be money well-spent."
Early this morning on Twitter, ESPN.com's Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) suggested that 29-year-old Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore, whose $9M option for 2012 the Indians are expected to decline, could be a fit in the nation's capital. "The teams for which Grady Sizemore would be the best fit as a free-agent signing: The Rangers or the Washington Nationals," Mr. Olney wrote. The ESPN.com writer then explained his thoughts in an article entitled, "Rangers begin a new World Series dream", in which he said that, "It's a nice match, if the Nationals were to like what they see in Sizemore's medical reports."
(ed. note - "If you didn't read them, there were two FanPosts here at FBb in the last month, first by ZimforPrez and another by John Yarchoan that were interesting and started good conversations about the Nats' CF options for 2012.")
In discussing possible destinations for Sizemore, who's been injured (knee, elbow, hernia issues) and played just 104 games in the past two seasons, ESPN.com's Mr. Olney also suggests the Tampa Bay Rays as a potential destination should they decide to trade B.J. Upton. Upton's arbitration eligible and due a raise ($7M-ish?) over the $4.285M he made in 2011. The Nationals have been rumored to have interest in Upton for two years now, and they're in the market for a center fielder. If they were unable to find one through free agency, they'll likely to be tied to all the discussions about Upton.
• The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters lost two straight in the First Stage of the Climax Series and were eliminated from Nippon Professional Baseball's post season. Fighters' right-hander Yu Darvish pitched Saturday, giving up 4 hits and 1 ER in 7.0 innings over which he threw 101 pitches, collected 7 K's and held on to a lead that Nippon-Ham gave him in the first. Darvish's one run allowed came in the seventh and he pitched his way out of trouble to preserve the lead which was blown in the ninth inning of a game they lost in extra innings. If Darvish is posted, he enters into the posting process as a 25-year-old coming off an (18-6) season in which he threw 10 complete games, six of them shutouts, and posted a a 1.44 ERA, with 276 K's (10.71 K/9), 36 BB (1.40 BB/9), 5 HR's and 42 runs (37 ER) allowed in 28 starts and 232.0 IP. No announcement is expected until after the post season ends, potentially as late as November 20th.