MLB Network Radio host and former baseball executive Jim Duquette caused a minor stir last night. The former Mets' GM and Orioles' executive followed up on a report out of Texas which said soon-to-be-former Rangers' left-hander C.J. Wilson had a six-year offer on the table by Tweeting that it was the Washington Nationals who'd gone there. Rumors all winter have Wilson, a 31-year-old seven-year veteran who finished what appears to have been his final season in Arlington, TX with a (16-7) record, 2.94 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 2.98 BB/9 and 8.30 K/9 in 34 starts and 223.1 IP for the AL Champs, looking for something like a 6-year/$120 million dollar deal after helping the Rangers reach the World Series in each of the last two seasons. So it wasn't completely unbelieveable when Mr. Duquette tweeted the following:
@JimDuqette: "Source- Nationals have offered a 6th year to CJ Wilson."
The response from the Nats through the Nationals beat writers and another former GM came less than an hour later...
"I am getting the sense the report of a six-year offer to C.J. Wilson is probably NOT true. Still digging. We'll see," Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore wrote on Twitter (@AdamKilgoreWP). "I was informed the #Nationals did not offer C.J. Wilson a six-year deal," MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) wrote shortly thereafter, at around the same time Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak (@acomak) wrote, "Several #nats sources have denied the reported offer from #nats to CJ Wilson."
"As others have noted, #Nats-Wilson rumor not true. Buehrle has been and remains their top pitching target," CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) wrote on the Twitter. In a follow-up article entitled, "Nationals still trying to add a veteran to the rotation," MLB.com's Bill Ladson's wrote that, "Despite reports that the Nationals offered left-hander C.J. Wilson a six-year deal, a baseball source said the club did nothing of the sort. Wilson is not on Washington's radar."
"Mike Rizzo just told me the Nats did not go to 6 years on CJ Wilson," Mr. Duquette's colleague at MLB Network Radio Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenESPNxm) too wrote on the Twitter last night.
The MLB Network Radio host didn't exactly back down from the original report when he discussed it on "Power Alley" this afternoon, however. "There have been about five teams interested [in C.J. Wilson]," Mr. Duquette said, "Rangers, Nationals, Angels, Marlins are the final four right now for the left-hander, which is what we end up hearing. But there had been last night the rumor of one team going to six years. Now, we had gotten wind, [MLB Network Radio], the channel had gotten the word that that team was the Washington Nationals [with] the sixth year."
"And so, a lot of buzz about that last night," Mr. Duquette continued, "And we tweeted it out and got it out there and then Jim Bowden, who's obviously with us as well, he had talked to Mike Rizzo and Mike Rizzo denied it."
"Now, here's the interesting thing about that, this is what happens at these Winter Meetings. You've got somebody, an agent or somebody, that tells you six years. That that's legit. The club, of course, whether it's true or not, they're going to say, 'No it's not,' or, 'Yes it is.' But then when you get somebody within your own organization who will confirm it for you, now you're trying to say, 'OK. Well, who's telling the truth here?' Is it the agent or is it the organization? And I can tell you this, after being a part of it on both sides, I would not be surprised if the Nationals offered [Wilson] six years, even though they're denying it."
"But I've been told by a number of people, and they've had dealings with Mike Rizzo," Duquette said, "That wouldn't be a huge shocker that he'd be denying it even though he'd offered it. So, the big question is, if you're the Nationals and if you're the fans of the Nationals, you go, 'Wow, C.J. Wilson, six years?' I don't think anyone else if going to go to six. I don't see the Angels going to six. I don't see Texas going to six. I don't see the Marlins going to six. Does he end up a National? And is that something that you think is even worthwhile to do?"
Mr. Duquette's co-host added that the Nationals might overpay to get the pitcher they want like they did with Jayson Werth to convince the pitcher to join outfielder in an "almost-there" organization. Rumors. Denials. More rumors. More denials. Hopefully the Washington Nationals eventually agree on a deal with the pitcher they're after before the winter meetings end. Though, Nats' Skipper Davey Johnson did say he likes the staff that's already in place in the nation's capital...