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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals - Winter Meetings Chatter, Carlos Pena, Carl Pavano, Jayson Werth?

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In a section of ESPN.com's Buster Olney's daily post this morning entitled, "For Derek Jeter, the end of innocence", which is subtitled, "Moves, deals and decisions", Mr. Olney links to Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's story this weekened entitled, "With less power in lineup, Nationals weigh next moves", about the Nats' plans now that Adam Dunn passed on returning to the nation's capital, and Mr. Olney writes that, "You'd have to install the Nationals as the favorites to sign Carlos Pena." Mr. Kilgore wrote, as many have recently, only that Pena and Adam LaRoche were the Nats' top targets, while reminding readers that Washington likely will look outside the organization to fill the hole at first and in the middle of their lineup. The WaPost writer also mentioned that, "...some people within the organization are pushing for the Nationals to pursue Carl Crawford, an ideal free agent," and a rumor making the rounds this morning has D.C. GM Mike Rizzo eyeing another free agent outfielder Nats' fans know well...

Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo doesn't mention the Nats as he writes about Crawford possibly commanding 8-years and $150-$160 million on the market this winter in his weekly "Baseball Notes" column entitled, "More deals to be had in busy shopping season", but he does put the Nationals in the mix when it comes to free agent pitcher Carl Pavano, writing that the deals Ted Lilly (3yrs/$33), Bronson Arroyo (2 yrs/$23.5) and Jorge De La Rosa (2yrs/$21.5) signed point to the sort of salary the the 34-year-old Pavano will seek to sign this winter, while noting that the Twins, Marlins, Brewers and Nationals are all interested parties, and, "The Nationals and Brewers have been very aggressive from the start." Three of the teams looking at Pavano, the Nats, Twins and Brewers are also listed as potential trade partners for the Royals by Mr. Cafardo, with the Rangers and Orioles also mentioned as teams that, "...would seem to have a chance of obtaining the 2009 AL Cy Young winner," Zack Greinke should Kansas City decide to deal the 27-year-old right-hander in this winter's pitching-weak market.

But the chatter that's soon to consume NatsTown will surely revolve around AOL/FanHouse writer Mike Harris' report this morning in an article entitled, "Ears Open People - Big News Coming", wherein the one-time and occasional NationalsFanboyLooser blogger writes that sources are telling him the Nats may be attempting to lure 31-year-old free agent outfielder Jayson Werth to the other side of the great D.C./Philly divide and make a splash in the free agent market that others to this point had not predicted. "Not sure when it will become official and how much work remains to be done. Not 100 percent sure it will happen - but pretty darn close to that," Mr. Harris writes, but he's the only one to put this rumor in print thus far.

Former Nats' team President Stan Kasten's brought Werth up about a year ago in a conversation with ESPN 980's "The Sports Reporters" with Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin, while talking about taking chances on players like Elijah Dukes, who'd been cut by the Nats during Spring Training, saying simply that the, "...National League Champions, last year, [the Phillies] picked up a player that had been cut from the Los Angeles Dodgers, named Jayson Werth, and a year from now he's going to be a big time free agent..." Kasten's gone of course, and there are certainly questions about how Werth will hold up outside Philadelphia (think Aaron Rowand) and concerns about Werth's ability to hit outside the Phillies' lineup, but he's always hit well in Nats Park (though that's against Nats' pitchers) where he's posted a .307/.390/.580 slash line with 6 doubles, 6 HR's and 13 RBI's in 25 games and 88 at bats. Recent rumors, however, have Werth looking for a six-year deal at somewhere around $16-19M per as Boston Herald sports writer Michael Silverman speculated in an article entitled, "Red Sox gunning for top outfield target", about the Red Sox pursuit of a free agent outfielder like Werth, or Crawford.

Prepare yourself for a week of this sort of chatter. The Winter Meetings start Monday, and the Nationals have a lot of work to do.