In explaining what sort of pitcher it is that the Washington Nationals are interested in acquiring this winter, DC GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an early November article entitled, "Nats interested in free agent Lackey", that the team was looking for, "a solid veteran pitcher", while acknowledging that convincing such a pitcher to join a team looking to rebound from back-to-back 100-loss seasons would not be an easy sell:
"'You have to show the veteran pitcher what the plan is, our plan for success, how we are built to perform at this level at this given time.
"'We have to have a special type of veteran pitcher, who is willing to give of himself as a teacher and mentor type of guy. We have to get a team-oriented person, a person that is going to give his time and his knowledge. It's not an easy task.'"
Is John Smoltz that pitcher?
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that a "source with knowledge of the discussions" tells him that, "There is a mutual sincere interest," between the Nationals and the 42-year-old veteran of 21 MLB seasons, who split the '09 campaign in Boston and St. Louis where he posted a combined (3-8) record with a 6.35 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP and 8.4 K/9 in 15 starts and 78.0 IP after recovering from a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Mr. Rosenthal writes that Smoltz would, "...almost certainly prefer to sign with a National League contender rather than the Nationals," with the Cardinals, "...remaining his top choice," but the FOXSports.com scribe notes that, "The Nationals will try to sell Smoltz," who has a history with DC team President Stan Kasten from the time both spent in Atlanta, "...on the idea of serving as a mentor to their young pitching staff. Smoltz might be intrigued by the notion, particularly if his other options are limited."