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Washington Nationals: In Or Out On Carl Pavano?

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The last reports I'd read about the Washington Nationals' interest in free agent right-hander Carl Pavano, in Nats's Mark Zuckerman's Winter Meetings report earlier this week entitled, "Pavano, Webb, relievers and trades", and in Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's Nationals Journal post on Friday afternoon entitled, "Nationals still in on Carl Pavano", Mr. Zuckerman was reporting that D.C. GM Mike Rizzo was, "...nowhere close to as willing to put together a long-term offer for the soon-to-be 35-year-old [Pavano] as he is for [Cliff] Lee," while Mr. Kilgore wrote that the Nats remained in contact with the agent for the one-time Expos, Marlins, Yankees, Indians and Twins' starter, but were, "...reluctant to offer free agent starting pitcher Carl Pavano a multiple-year contract."

In Boston Globe writer Nick Carfado's weekly Sunday Baseball Notes column, however...

...which this week bears the title, "Not everybody met with success this past week", Mr. Carfado writes that though Pavano could be a consolation prize for the Rangers should they lost out to the Yankees on Cliff Lee, and will probably wait until after Lee signs to decided where he wants to pitch, "The Nationals have been aggressive on Pavano and will go three years," to get Pavano if necessary. Mr. Cafardo also mentions the Nats as one of six teams trying to pry Zack Greinke away from the Royals, but the sort of package Kansas City is reportedly seeking makes the cost of such a trade prohibitive though the D.C. GM, Mr. Rizzo, has been telling reporters for months, as he did in a late September article by's Bill Ladson entitled, "Nats put rotation atop offseason priority list", that the Nats, "...definitely have depth -- prospect-wise -- to pull off a deal for a pitcher."

If Cliff Lee would just make his decision the rest of the league could move on...("Kidding, it's a life-altering decision either way, take your time, Cliff...take the Lerner's cash.")

Pavano's a Type-A Free agent who was offered arbitration by the Twins but declined it to test the market, (so he'll cost whichever team signs him a pick) but he has talked to Minnesota since then, as he and his agent reportedly had what were described as "productive" meetings with the Twins and Brewers during the Winter Meetings, though reports differ on how long Milwaukee is willing to go too, with's Bruce Levine writing in an article late last week entitled, "Sources: Cubs targeting Matt Garza", that a, "...major league source told that Milwaukee is talking to Carl Pavano about a three-year contract," while Tom Hadricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported in an article entitled, "Brewers have limit with Pavano", that, "A good source familiar with the Brewers' thinking on Pavano told me the club doesn't want to go past a two-year offer."

Reports earlier this winter had the right-hander, (who's gone (22-15) with 53 walks (1.6 BB/9) and 176 K's (5.9 K/9) in 44 starts and 294.2 IP over the last season and a half in Minnesota following a less-productive stint in Cleveland and a reputation-damaging four-year tenure in NY), looking for something like the 3-year/$33M dollar deal left-hander Ted Lilly received from the Dodgers earlier this winter. Have the Nats decided it's easier to spend some of the money they've shaved from the payroll (which is embarrassingly low right now even w/ Werth's $10M on the books for 2011), instead of parting with the package of prospects it would take to acquire an arm? Is Carl Pavano worth $10-11M a year for the next three years?