Wire Taps: Washington Nationals On Yu Darvish Day; Greg Dobbs?

• It Has To Be Yu: Normally, two or three teams would have separated themselves from the pack as the frontrunners to land the top available pitcher left on the market. A mystery team would soon emerge. Rumors would be flying, teams would be denying or offering "No Comment", but this time it's a race full of mystery teams. No one actually seems to know who will come up with the winning bid for 25-year-old Nippon Ham Fighters' right-hander Yu Darvish, but there is a lot of speculation out there. No one seems to have any more information than they did when the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers were identified as the most likely destinations for Darvish months back. The Nats are still being mentioned as a team with interest and counting the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox out of any pursuit involving big $ would be foolish. Seattle's in the mix too and Darvish reportedly prefers a west coast team, but the posting process won't give him the option to choose. The bidding ends at 5:00 pm EST this afternoon...Will the Nationals outbid the rest of baseball?

• THE BIG STORY:

Pt. 1: Via MASN's Byron Kerr on the Twitter (@bkerr32): "#Nationals brand new field is in at nats park"

Pt. 2: "The Cubs are talking to Fielder, the Orioles are free to dream, and the Rangers, Nationals and Marlins keep resurfacing in speculation no matter how adamantly they deny it might happen." - "'The Book' on Prince Fielder" - Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com
• NATS BEAT:

• "The Nationals, owned by the Lerner family, have the available cash to spend on Darvish. The operative questions are, are they willing to do so?" - "Japan star pitcher Yu Darvish: the Washington Nationals weigh the financial risk" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Other teams that executives expect to make a play for Darvish include the Washington Nationals, who one believes will place the high bid." - "Darvish bidding process is cloak-and-dagger affair" - Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports

• "General manager Mike Rizzo believes he has a team to compete with the Phillies and Braves; so while pitching is the team’s greatest need, signing Fielder would be entirely in character." - "Where's Prince's deal?" - Jon Morosi, FOXSports.com

• "The non-tender deadline passed at midnight, with the Nationals declining to offer left-handed relief specialist Doug Slaten arbitration." - "Who's available after the non-tender deadline" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals continue to express interest in Yu Darvish, according to a baseball source. But the source was not sure if the Nationals will put in a bid on the right-hander." - "Washington Nationals continue to express interest in Yu Darvish" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Traded? How could he be traded? He had been drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks a little more than a year before." - "Walters willing to play any position with Nationals 'as long as I get to hit'" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Adam Dunn was a feared middle-of-the-lineup presence during his two years in Washington, easily former general manager Jim Bowden's biggest free agent acquisition..." - "What if ... the Nationals hadn't let Adam Dunn walk?" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "In need of strengthening their bench, the Nationals have expressed interest in infielder Greg Dobbs, according to a baseball source." - "Nationals looking at infielder Greg Dobbs for bench role" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "But even if his baseball career never advances beyond that point, [Ben] Graham is an American hero for his exploits during halftime of Sunday’s Titans-Saints game." - "Nationals minor leaguer proposes to cheerleader girlfriend while dressed as Santa" - DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "Right-hander Brad Meyers was selected by the New York Yankees in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings on Thursday and is looking forward to the new challenge." - "Meyers will switch to long relief as he begins career with Yankees" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Several teams are thought to have serious interest, led by the Texas Rangers, the Washington Nationals and the Toronto Blue Jays..." - "Darvish Is Up for Bidding, and System in Japan Draws Criticism" - David Waldstein, NYTimes.com

• "Without knowing if the Nationals are interested in these players, here are three names that make sense for them to check out..." - "Three non-tendered players that make sense for the Nationals" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "If the Nationals want to add another veteran starter - and no genuine No. 1 starters are out there - would [Joe] Saunders, at 30, be worthy of consideration?" - "Non-tenders and center field longshots" - Phil Wood, MASNSports.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Video of Nats minor leaguer dressed as Santa, proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend." - Nats Enquirer

• "[Ryan] Theriot will probably look for a starting role somewhere and probably get it, but at this stage of his career he’s more suited for a utility role." - "Nationals non-tender Slaten; free agent ranks grow" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Here’s Tom Boswell‘ weekly Monday chat on 12/12/11. Despite being in the baseball off-season, the chat had a TON of baseball questions." - "Ask Boswell 12/5/11 edition" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "Winter League Update" - NationalsProspects.com

• "Brian Broderick - Age 25 - MLB Service Time 0.054 Years. How he became a Nat: Drafted by the Nationals in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft from the St. Louis Cardinals." - "A Few Good Men: 41 - Broderick" - Mac, Capitol Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Miami-Dade County’s inspector general is asking questions about the integrity of structural elements of the sliding roof on the new Miami Marlins stadium in Little Havana, after learning that a subcontractor allegedly falsified inspection reports on some critical welds." - "Inspector General questions some welding at Miami Marlins' new stadium" - Andres Viglucci, Charles Rabin and Patricia Mazzei, The Palm Beach Post

Mets: "After remaining idle for roughly 10 weeks, [Daniel] Murphy has since started running, hitting, lifting and 'doing everything' he needs to do to prepare for Spring Training." - "Murphy 'doing everything' to prepare for spring" - Anthony DiComo, mets.com: News

Braves: "The Braves offered contracts to all of their other remaining arbitration-eligible players -- center fielder Michael Bourn, left fielder Martin Prado, starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens and reliever Eric O’Flaherty." - "Braves make Moylan, Conrad non-tendered free agents" - David O'Brien, ajc.com

• "Even though his offensive production has dipped slightly the past couple seasons, he would be a far better fit at leadoff than anyone else on the Tigers' roster." - "Are Detroit Tigers the mystery team talking with shortstop Jimmy Rollins?" - Justin Rogers, MLive.com

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