February 26, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo during today's spring training workouts at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
The Washington Nationals have been rumored to have interest in LA Angels' outfielder Peter Bourjos, but the souped-up AL West powerhouse isn't going to trade the soon-to-turn-25-year-old plus defender who finished his first full season at the major league level with a .271/.327/.438 line, 26 doubles, 11 triples, 12 HR's and 22 stolen bases unless they're overwhelmed by an offer. When the Nats talked to the Tampa Bay Rays again at this past December's Winter Meetings at the Hotel Anatole in Dallas, Texas, Nationals' general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters, "'I don't think anything has changed on that front.'"
As the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Tompkin explained, it's not the first time the two sides have talked, and, "... the takeaway seems to be the same, the Nats don't want to give up enough and/[or] the Rays want too much."
"We look at the big picture of center field," D.C. GM Mike Rizzo explained during an early January interview on MLB Network Radio, "And we see the 2013 free agent class at center field is much stronger than it is for the 2012 season." With Upton, Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino and others set to become free agents after this season, why should the Nationals trade anything like what teams like the Angels and Rays are asking at this point?
"We know Jayson Werth will be a solid, average center fielder for us defensively this season," Rizzo told MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Bowden and Jeff Rickard in a late-February interview, "And we've got three real good, what we feel are going to be answers down the road. Eury Perez, Michael Taylor [and Brian] Goodwin we feel all have a real good chance of being that every day type of player for us, but that's down the road." The Nationals remain, "... in the market for a long-term answer in center field," Rizzo explained, but, "... we're certainly not going to make a knee-jerk reaction and force ourselves to go get one." Plus, Bryce Harper's coming up sooner than later and there's only so much room in the outfield...
The name mentioned in rumors at the time was Gerardo Parra's. It made sense after all. Parra was signed as an international free agent when Rizzo was Arizona's scouting director. The D-Backs signed left fielder Jason Kubel after a Gold Glove-worthy 2011 season by Parra in which the 24-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder had a .292/.357/.427 line with 20 doubles, eight triples, eight home runs, 15 stolen bases and a .993 fld% in 141 games and 493 plate appearances over which he was worth +2.8 fWAR. When Arizona GM Kevin Towers talked to AZCentral.com's Nick Piecoro about Parra in January he said that they'd, "'... fielded phone calls from teams curious about outfielder Gerardo Parra's availability," but, he explained, "'I'm not really motivated to move him.'" When the Nationals' interest in Parra came up late last month, a D-Backs' source told the same reporter, "'... the clubs are not currently discussing a trade.'"
This week it's Baltimore Orioles' outfielder Adam Jones' name that's mentioned (again) in connection to the Washington Nationals' search for a center fielder, with Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo (who's connected the Nats and Bourjos before) writing in his "Sunday Baseball Notes" column this morning that the 26-year-old O's '03 1st Round pick, "... keeps popping up in trade discussions with the Nationals, but Orioles sources indicate that there’s very little chance the team would deal him." The Nats, Mr. Cafardo writes, are, "... content with Jayson Werth playing [center field] some, along with Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel. But they will be scouting Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Gerardo Parra, and Peter Bourjos a lot in spring training."
When Jones' name came up earlier this winter, the Nats' GM told MLB Network Radio's Jim Bowden and Casey Stern that he thought the Orioles' outfielder was, "... a terrific player. He's a guy that we've investigated and we like," Rizzo said, "He's a very toolsy player. Offensive-minded, roams center field very well. He's one of the real good center fielders in the game and he certainly fills the need that we have for a center fielder." Of course, O's GM Dan Duquette's been fairly clear about not wanting to deal Jones. No problem, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told the WaPost's Adam Kilgore this morning Werth likes it in center.