Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Weekend In Review: B.J. Upton Rumors; Adam LaRoche Chatter

Patrick McDermott

The Winter Meetings start next week and that's when the Hot Stove REALLY HEATS UP!! The Washington Nationals are talking like a team that thinks they don't have too many holes, but it could just be GM Mike "Run Silent" Rizzo doing his thing as he works on adding a starter ... or a CF...

Have you been daydreaming about adding Zack Greinke to the Washington Nationals' rotation? D.C. GM Mike Rizzo admitted that he had in a recent MLB Network Radio interview, but added that, "Thinking about it; dreaming about it; implementing it are different things." When Davey Johnson talked about the Nats' offseason needs in his own MLB Network Radio interview a few weeks back, he said no.1 on the list of things to do was re-sign Adam LaRoche, but other than bringing the first baseman back, the soon-to-turn-70-year-old skipper said the team didn't need to do too much. Both the general manager and bench manager reiterated their positions in an interview with Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell on Sunday.

"'Davey and I like our players a lot,'" Rizzo told the WaPost reporter, "'If money were free, we’d get Greinke, [Michael] Bourn and two more closers.'" Johnson's still saying he wants LaRoche back, but Boswell writes that, "The Nats’ dream is that LaRoche actually re-signs — but for the two-year deal that is almost certainly as far as they’ll go," and quotes Johnson asking the Buck Commander, "'How much feed do you need to buy? Another $25 million ought to do it. What does he need three or four years [on a contract] for?'" Can the Nats get LaRoche back on another 2-year deal? Will someone outbid them for the free agent first baseman's services? Are they still in on B.J. Upton? The Hot Stove warms up/heats up/gets cracking/picks up/starts burning/fills the room with smoke/ignites next week at the Winter Meetings... until then, LINKS and lots of them as many as we could find... starting RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!!!:

• "Davey [Johnson] expects a couple of Rizzo surprises before Viera. But, regardless, he’s planning 'to ride off into the sunset and all that' with the horses he has now.'" - "Nationals’ Mike Rizzo: ‘We don’t have any pressing needs’" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "1. ADAM LAROCHE: So much of the Nats' offseason hinges upon the veteran first baseman. If he returns to D.C., the lineup is set." - "Hot Stove ready to ignite at last" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "If [B.J.] Upton picks a team other than the Braves or Phillies, both of those teams might then have to bid against each other for Bourn, boosting the demand for his services and perhaps taking things to a level the Nationals are unwilling to go." - "Nationals Pastime: Waiting for the action to heat up" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

Twitter: Denver Post's Troy Renck: "If Braves get [B.J.] Upton should help clarify/intensify market for [Dexter] Fowler. Phils, Nats might emerge but Rox asking price will be very high."

• "Checking in on Erik Davis' season, we saw the incredible numbers he is putting up for Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Winter League." - "More winter league updates for Nats prospects" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Is Bryce Harper the newest member of KISS?" - "Cut 4" - MLB.com: News

• "The Rangers, a main Angels rival, loom as another threat in the [Zack] Greinke market, and so might the Nationals, who have long coveted Greinke..." - "MLB execs: Zack Greinke is headed for a record payday for right-handed pitchers" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

• "Throughout much of spring training last year, it appeared Craig Stammen was likely ticketed for the starting rotation at Triple-A Syracuse." - "Nationals Pastime: Stammen suddenly a major part of Nats' bullpen" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

Twitter: Atlanta Journal Constitution's David O'Brien @ajcbraves: "Probably. But Reds also have interest, & maybe Nats. RT @biggy_man: @ajcbraves do you thinks its between Atlanta and philly for upton"

Twitter: Washington Post's Adam Kilgore @AdamKilgoreWP: "The Nats handed out 49 full playoff shares, each worth $37,045.32. They also gave out 6.65 partial shares and three 'cash awards.'"

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "I always try to share with others the idea that in order to become compassionate it is not necessary to become religious."

NATSTOWN:

• "Tyler Moore had a very fine season for the Nats last year. He has legit major league power. He also will turn 26 in January and has a strike out to walk ratio of 3.45 to 1 in the minors..." - "Monday Quickie" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "The magical '300 win' threshold remains one of the more challenging career objectives for any starter, and remains an interesting benchmark to discuss." - "Have we seen the last 300-game winner? (updated post 2012 season)" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "November 26, 1960 Twins is chosen as the new name for the original Washington Senators franchise, transplanted to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul after the end of the 1960 season." - "This Date in Washington Senators History – Transplanted Senators are now the Twins" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "In other Washington Nationals Hot Stove news, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were at last night's Notre Dame-USC game at the Coliseum in LA." - "Stephen Strasburg had better seats than Bryce Harper for the Notre Dame-USC game" - Nats Enquirer

• "Winter League Roundup" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• "Happy Birthday, Corey Brown" - Cheryl Nichols, District Sports Page

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "It’s around the baseball world, not just in New York, where folks wonder, 'What will the Mets do with R.A. Dickey and David Wright?'" - "Mets can’t spend too much for Wright, Dickey just to satisfy fans" - Ken Davidoff, NYPOST.com

Braves: "[B.J.] Upton, 28, hasn’t made an All-Star team or won any significant award, hasn’t finished in the AL’s top 10 in offensive WAR since his 10th-place in ’07..." - "Braves waiting for free agent B.J. Upton's decision" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitiution

Phillies: "There are 11 centerfielders in the history of baseball who have accomplished what B.J. Upton did in 2012. Upton smashed 28 home runs and stole 31 bases." - "Inside the Phillies: Case is strong for Phillies to pursue B.J. Upton" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

Marlins: "A survey of 400 South Florida Major League Baseball fans, 90 percent of them self-described Marlins fans, found that the Marlins organization — Loria, in particular — antagonized and may have permanently alienated a majority of the fan base." - "In popularity poll, Miami Marlins’ Jeffrey Loria ekes out a win over Fidel Castro" - Michelle Kaufman, MiamiHerald.com

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