Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Links, Rumors - Prince Fielder, Yoenis Cespedes, Eric Chavez?

• The Prince Fielder/Washington Nationals rumors aren't likely to die down in spite of D.C. GM Mike Rizzo's comments to Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak about the Nats' approach to pursuing the 27-year-old free agent first baseman. There were updates yesterday about the bidding process for soon-to-be-free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote on the Twitter machine that the Nats might be interested in former A's infielder Eric Chavez. Ahh, Hot Stove season. Some love the rumors. Others? Well we've vamped long enough here to make this appear to be a complete introduction. When's Gio Gonzalez coming to the nation's capital to get his curly-W cap and new jersey? Will 2011 3rd Round pick Matt Purke give up his lucky no. 47? Link time starts....RIGHT NOW!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!!:

• "'Our position has not changed since the winter meetings, on Prince Fielder specifically,' Rizzo told The Washington Times on Thursday." - "Nats GM Mike Rizzo says nothing has changed with regard to Prince Fielder" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• NATS BEAT:

• "Despite the pluses, the deal Fielder and agent Scott Boras are trying to hammer out with the Nationals - or any other interested team, for that matter - is the kind that makes smart baseball people stop and think twice." - "How much is too much for Prince Fielder?" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "But for the Nationals to acquire Fielder and extend Zimmerman, it would require a fundamental change in how the team’s ownership operates." - "For the Nationals, Prince Fielder or Ryan Zimmerman is only a choice if they make it one" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Randy] Knorr said the rapport he has developed with Johnson over the years will be a key element in team strategy during critical junctures of a game." - "Knorr relishes opportunity to be Nationals' bench coach" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "The big fish remains first baseman Prince Fielder, who may or may not be drawing serious interest from the Nationals depending on who is talking." - "Plenty of good parts are still available on baseball market" - Brian McNally, Cheers & Jeers | Washington Examiner

• "Anytime Stan Kasten was asked about low attendance figures, the former club president used to say: 'We'll get the attendance we deserve.'" - "Time for Nats to market winning baseball" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "If they can sign Prince Fielder and add Bryce Harper to the 25-man roster, I think it's safe to say the Nationals can compete with the Phillies for the National League East title." - "Inbox: Will Nationals make the playoffs?" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "My point was that, of the players who might be made available, only Adam Jones would be of any great interest to Washington..." - "Deals clogged on the parkway" - Phil Wood, MASNSports.com

• "So to answer the title of this post, if money isn’t an issue, why shouldn’t the Nationals pursue Fielder?" - "Should The Nationals Sign Prince Fielder?" - Steve Slowinski, FanGraphs Baseball

• "It's January 5 and Prince Fielder is still a free agent. Prince Fielder is 27 years old and owns a career 143 OPS+. Prince Fielder, naturally, is a popular topic of conversation..." - "FanGraphs: Does Prince Fielder Fit With The Nationals?" - Jeff Sullivan, Baseball Nation

• "The Washington Nationals have emerged this week as the apparent front-runner for signing star free-agent slugger Prince Fielder." - "The latest Prince Fielder rumors: M’s a ‘dark horse’?" - Nick Eaton, seattlepi.com

• "The Washington Nationals, despite their early suggestions to the contrary, do appear to be deep in the mix for star free agent slugger Prince Fielder." - "Nats, as many as 7 others, shooting for Prince" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

• "New Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez hasn’t yet offered up his life to his new franchise, but he made a pretty extreme offer of his own..." - "Gio Gonzalez is ready to rock ‘n roll" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "According to this tweet from Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, the Nationals have signed right-hander Dan Cortes..." - "Report: Nationals ink pitcher Dan Cortes" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Our aim in seeking ways of transforming our thoughts and emotions is to find a more wholesome and fulfilling way of living."

• ZECH ZINICOLA UPDATES:

• "The suspension appears to be for a recreational drug, as it's referred to as a "drug of abuse," as opposed to a performance enhancing one." - "Nationals minor leaguer Zechry Zinicola hit with 50-game suspension" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "A press release specified Zinicola had tested positive for a 'drug of abuse,' meaning Zinicola has not been charged with taking performance-enhancing drugs." - "Nationals minor leaguer Zech Zinicola suspended 50 games"- Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Zech] Zinicola's suspension is not for performance enhancing drugs but rather for a drug of abuse." - "Zinicola suspended 50 games for drug of abuse" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Washington Nationals left-hander Zechry Zinicola is the first player suspended this year under baseball's minor league drug program and will miss the first 50 games of the season." - "Nationals LHP Zinicola suspended for 50 games "- AP/WTOP.com

• "When reached by phone, [Zech] Zinicola said the positive test result may have come from his use of synthetic marijuana." - "Nationals prospect Zechry Zinicola receives 50-game suspension" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• AHHH, WHO NEEDS'EM:

• "Hisashi Iwakuma, one of the premier pitchers in Japan over the past decade, signed a one-year deal with the Mariners on Thursday..." - "Mariners sign prized Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma" - Greg Johns, MLB.com: News

• BOB. CARPENTER.:

• "[Bob] Carpenter, who has broadcast Nationals games since 2006, will work alongside F.P. Santangelo for the second straight season." - "Bob Carpenter will return for 2012 to call Nationals games for MASN" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Good for Carpenter. He always seems to me like someone who should be calling games in the Midwest. And I don't mean that as an insult. At all. He's just so earnest, and to my ear is slightly miscast on that side of the Appalachians." - "Washington, District Of Carpenter" - Rob Neyer, Baseball Nation

Shh...Secret Link.

• NATS WINTER/MINOR LEAGUES:

• "This season, improvements include a brand new grass field, installed last month, replacing the entire maligned surface from last year." - "Potomac Nationals install new grass field at Pfitzner Stadium" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional: La Guaira 3, Aragua 1 - Wilson Ramos (ARA) - 0 for 4, 1 K - Box Score.

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano: Escogido 3, Aguila 2 - Eury Perez (ESC) - 0 for 0, 1 R - Box Score.

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano: Gigantes 3, Licey 1 - Jhonatan Solano (LIC) - 0 for 4 - Box Score.

• NATSTOWN:

• "Gio Gonzalez would beg to differ with those results. Stras-Gio-Zimm will make 'em pay dearly..." - "97% of the people who voted in Thursday's MLB Network Hot Stove poll are morons." - Nats Enquirer

• "Happy New Year! Here’s Tom Boswell’s weekly Monday chat done today Tuesday 1/3/12." - "Ask Boswell 1/3/12 edition" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "In the second installment of my Q&A with Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar we spoke about Ryan Braun's shocking failed PED test, Prince Fielders future in Milwaukee, and of course everyones favorite ex-Nationals, Tony Plush aka Nyjer Morgan." - "Around The League: The Brewers Bar Q&A Part II" - Ted Youngling, The Nats Blog

• "So say Mike Rizzo’s on the up and up in this article, and the Washington Nationals really aren’t going to cave to the demands of Scott Boras and his client Prince Fielder. Where does that leave the Nats?" - "What if Nats don’t sign Prince Fielder?" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "We went to the Twitter machine to get your opinions as Nats fans on the situation. Is Fielder worth the money?" - "Fine, We’ll Talk About The Nats Getting A Prince" - Keara Dowd, Win For Teddy

• "How I feel about the baseball off-season." - Washington NationLOLs

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "A source familiar with the situation has said that the Mets have hired CRG Partners — the turnaround consultants that handled the Rangers' bankruptcy sale — and that a team sale with or without bankruptcy is on the table." - "Mets Hire Turnaround Consultants, Put Bankruptcy On Table?" - Eno Sarris, Amazin' Avenue

Mets: "The Mets released a statement Thursday night confirming their association with CRG, which was first reported by the website Amazin Avenue." - "NY Mets retain financial firm" - Andy Martino, NY Daily News

Braves: "Responding to MLB.com's early November report that Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado might be traded this offseason, Braves general manager Frank Wren said he felt both players would still be with his club at the start of Spring Training." - "Martin Prado, Jair Jurrjens likely to remain with Braves" - Mark Bowman, braves.com: News

Phillies: "Foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson examined Howard earlier Thursday and cleared him to begin some strength and power exercises." - "Phillies slugger Ryan Howard cleared by doctor to begin exercises" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com: News

Marlins: "The Marlins’ stadium still looks like the construction site it is: dirt where freshly manicured grass will soon sit, piles of concrete, orange cones, concrete mixers." - "Miami Marlins stadium taking shape in countdown to opening" - Barry Jackson, Miami Herald

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