ATLANTA - AUGUST 31: John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals relaxes in the dugout during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 31, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
• I'll Stay Home Forever, Where 2+2 Always Makes A 5: 24-year-old Los Angeles Angels' outfielder Peter Bourjos' name came up in connection to the Washington Nationals' search for a center fielder earlier this winter. Writers including the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo wondered if the AL West team had room for Bourjos in their outfield with Mike Trout coming soon and Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells on the roster. FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal identified the Angels' '05 10th Round pick as a target for the Nationals, but NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman spoke to a source "familiar with the Angels," at the time, who told him Los Angeles had no interest in dealing Bourjos, instead projecting he'd be part of a future outfield with Trout. Bourjos had a .271/.327/.438 slash in his first full season in Anaheim last year, with 26 doubles, 11 triples, 12 HR's and 22 stolen bases, and he was worth +4.3 fWAR on the year, with a .989 fld%, 4 errors and a +8.1 UZR/150 in center field.
The Boston Globe's Mr. Cafardo brought up the possibility of Bourjos ending up being the solution for the Nationals' center field issues again this past Sunday, writing in his weekly "Sunday Baseball Notes" column that Nats' lefty John Lannan, "... is a terrific option as an end-of-the rotation starter now that Washington has signed Edwin Jackson," but...
"There is a lot of speculation that the Nationals will deal him to the Angels for center fielder Peter Bourjos, with Mike Trout on the way to play that position in Anaheim."
Orange County Register writer Bill Plunkett wrote on Monday night, in an article entitled, "Whew — Bourjos is safe now", that he thinks the Nationals decision to bring veteran outfielder Rick Ankiel back on a minor league deal should end any speculation about the Nats trading for Bourjos. And anyway, the only people who were buying into this Lannan-for-Bourjos business were people who were, "... less familiar with the Angels putting 2 and 2 together — and getting 5." The Angels love Bourjos' defense, the writer argues, they see him as part of a future outfield with Trout, and aren't desperate to add a fifth starter with one-time National-for-a-minute Jerome Williams leading the pack of potential starters competing for the last rotation spot.
Does the Ankiel signing effectively end the Nationals' search for a center fielder this winter? D.C. GM Mike Rizzo did tell reporters, following the Gio Gonzalez press conference, "I think that we have candidates in house that we'll go to Spring Training with," though he did, of course, add that, "That's not to say that we've abandoned the search for the right fit for us." And that was before Ankiel re-signed...
• ST HOME?: SBNationDC writer Samuel Chamberlain wrote on Monday about an article from the Ft. Myers News-Press by Thomas Himes entitled, "Lee officials continue talks with Washington Nationals", in which the News-Press' writer reports that Lee County, FL officials have, "... targeted the Washington Nationals in an effort to bring big league baseball back to City of Palms Park." City of Palms Park was the home of the Boston Red Sox until this season when the AL East team moved into a new Spring home. The Nationals, who have a contract to play in Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL through the 2017 season, are exploring several possibilities according to a team spokesman quoted in the article.
D.C. GM Mike Rizzo was asked about Spring Training facilities he had visited in a press conference earlier this winter, and the Nats' general manager told reporters, "I've been to Viera to watch Instructional League. We made a trip to Ft. Myers to take a look at a couple of places over there, but we're scheduled and prepared to be in Viera next year and looking forward to arriving." This talk has been going on for a while now. That link goes back to 2010. This one from when the chatter about leaving Viera came up last February. And this one from last March. The move to Fort Myers, the News-Press' writer notes, would put the Nats in close proximity to the Red Sox, Twins and Rays' Spring facilities. More news on the Nats' plans when it's available.