Nationals Rumors: Nats Looking For Pitching? Max Scherzer? Shelby Miller? David Price?

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

If the Washington Nationals are indeed in the market for pitching, where will they look? The international market? Trades for Max Scherzer or David Price if either is available? Shelby Miller if the Cardinals are willing to deal from their starting depth? Rumors, rumors, rumors...

All the rumors that are fit to print:

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote this past week that his sources were telling him the, "Washington Nationals want to add an elite starting pitcher in a trade," this winter. In the article, the bow-tied FOXSports.com reporter looked at the Nats and Detroit as a potential fit should the Tigers decide to trade right-handed starter Max Scherzer.

"'We could certainly fill from within. I don’t think it’s a necessity to go outside the organization, either in the free agent market or in the trade market.'" - Nats' GM Mike Rizzo to NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman

Mr. Rosenthal noted the history between Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo and the 29-year-old starter, who was an Arizona Diamondbacks' '06 1st Round pick when Rizzo was the D-Backs' scouting director, mentioned the number of arms in the organization that could be sent back in return for Scherzer and noted the relationship between the Nats' General Manager and Scherzer's agent Scott Boras as reasons the two teams might be a match. The Tigers, however, sources told Mr. Rosenthal, "are in the 'listening, not shopping' mode. Translation: 'Willing to move, for the right return.'"

In the article, the FOXSports.com reporter wrote that "rival executives," who heard the rumors were, "baffled that the Tigers would even consider trading Scherzer," who is a candidate for the AL Cy Young after a (21-3) season in Detroit which saw the right-hander who is eligible for arbitration this season before he hits free agency in 2014-15 post a 2.90 ERA and a 2.74 FIP with 56 walks (2.35 BB/9) and 240 Ks (10.08 K/9) in 214 1/3 IP.

Such a move, Rosenthal noted, could open a spot in the rotation for left-hander Drew Smyly, but keeping Scherzer along with Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister, "could help the Tigers dominate the American League Central next season."

"'We certainly now again have the depth to go out and acquire a player via the trade market.'" - Mike Rizzo to Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore in September

In a follow-up report this weekend, the FOXSports.com reporter wrote, "Rival executives continue to express surprise the Tigers would even consider trading right-hander Max Scherzer," considering that an injury to one of their pitchers would then leave them short-handed.

"Then again," he writes, "perhaps the Tigers could acquire an immediate replacement such as Nationals lefty Ross Detwiler in a trade." The Nationals (or any other interested teams), in turn, if they couldn't sign Scherzer long-term after dealing the prospects it would take to get him from Detroit, could then, "get at least one quality prospect back by making the potential free agent a qualifying offer at the end of next season."

In a late-season interview with reporters, including Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, Mike Rizzo said he thought the Nationals, after dealing from their pitching depth in each of the last two winters, now believe they have the arms in the organization to deal for what they need this winter.

"'We certainly now again have the depth to go out and acquire a player via the trade market,'" Rizzo said.

The WaPost writer, noting the Nats' tendencies under Rizzo in deals like the one that brought back Gio Gonzalez, reported that, "one person close to the Nationals suggested they would scour rosters for available pitchers who... have more years of control and are about to become eligible for arbitration." Kilgore mentioned that "one baseball official" mentioned 23-year-old, '09 1st Round pick Shelby Miller of the Cards "as an under-the-radar potential target" should St. Louis look at their roster and "deem him expendable."

• Price: Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo, who has mentioned the Nats in connection to Tampa Bay Rays' lefty David Price before, wrote Sunday morning that, "The Nationals still believe they have a great core who will rebound in 2014," but, he added, "GM Mike Rizzo is going to have to make that happen. The Nationals have the chips if they want to do something dramatic, such as trade for Tampa Bay’s David Price."

• Windmill:

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