MLBTraderumors.com's Mark Polishuk just published a quick round-up of Denver Post baseball writer Troy Renck's Twitter interaction (@TroyRenck) with his followers today and he mentioned the Nationals' desire to acquire major-league or major-league-ready pitching talent in any deals they pursue this winter. I checked in for some context, and Mr. Renck was following up on a previous Tweet in which he had written that he thought the Rockies should have signed left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, who was, however, offered arbitration last night, but having failed to, "I would shift toward getting [White Sox' right-hander Gavin] Floyd," Mr. Renck writes, "and 2 bats like Josh Willingham and [Kevin] Kouzmanoff or Jose Lopez."
"Price for Gavin Floyd is left-handed power bat. Washington wants pitching in every trade. Either big league pitching or guys who are close," was the follow-up by the Denver Post reporter that the MLBTraderumors' writer paraphrased, and it's hardly news to anyone who's been following the Nats' 2011 Starter Search, but it is confirmation that the Nationals' Front Office is still taking offers and considering what it would take to convince them to part with the soon-to-be-32-year-old and recovering-from-knee-surgery Willingham. In a Nationals Journal post by Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore last week entitled, "Josh Willingham unlikely to receive extension", Mr. Kilgore wrote that he'd heard rumors of Colorado's interest though Nats' GM Mike Rizzo wouldn't mention any teams in particular, only saying in the article that, "Several teams have inquired about a trade for Willingham."
MLB.com's Bill Ladson too acknowledged the interest in the Hammer in an article last week entitled, "Willingham harbors no ill will toward Nats", in which Mr. Ladson noted that a source "familiar with the Nationals' thinking" thinks, "Willingham will most likely be traded before the 2011 season starts."
(ed. note - "Several people have mentioned that Nats' FOF© Ryan Zimmerman has opened up a lot more recently, (see Zimmerman here totally serving "The Dougie"), but it's been going on for a while this season, which is an interesting change for a player who had developed a reputation for keeping his opinions to himself.")
Eariy this July, when the Non-Waiver Deadling talk heated up and Willingham and Dunn's names were mentioned often in the press, the Nats' then-25-year-old third baseman, Ryan Zimmerman, told Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell in an article entitled, "Washington Nationals shouldn't trade Adam Dunn or Josh Willingham", that he thought, "the hardest thing to get in baseball is strong 3-4-5 hitters", so he couldn't understand all the talk about breaking the Nats' middle-of-the-order up, which, Mr. Boswell noted, was, "...arguably the second-best heart of the order in the National League this season." Zimmerman then elaborated:
"I'm signed for the next three years. It's not my decision or my money to spend, but it seems like you'd want to extend [the contracts of] Dunn and Willingham to keep us together and see what we can accomplish. People are talking about breaking it up. Man, we're way too close right now to do that."