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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Talk Mark Buehrle At The 2011 MLB Winter Meetings.

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The big development in the Mark Buehrle market today was that he's apparently narrowed his choices down to a list of five teams which reporters around the country believe includes the Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals. The Nationals reportedly made an offer to the 32-year-old, 12-year-veteran when they visited the soon-to-be-former White Sox' lefty in St. Louis recently. FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) wrote on the Twitter yesterday that the offers Buehrle has on the table were believed to be for, "3 yrs in $36-39M range," with other reports saying Buehrle was holding out for a fourth year and looking for a no-trade clause.

The Marlins, who were thought to be a frontrunner for Buehrle according to reports last week were said to be unwilling to give a no-trade clause to the lefty or anyone else. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told Nats beat writers yesterday that he was willing to give a no-trade clause to the right player like Washington did last year with Jayson Werth, and today told reporters that he felt the Nats made a connection with Buehrle during the team's trip to his home. NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman quoted the general manager saying today that the team's presentation seemed to impress the left-hander, "I thought at the beginning there was a lot of interest. And when we left, there was a great interest in the Washington Nationals."

Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell wrote Monday in a chat with fans that the Nationals went to St. Louis to meet with Buehrle with what was described as, "... a Boras-like 'package' on why [Buehrle] should become a Nat," which explained how his stats would be affected by a move to the NL, a new home in Nationals Park and a chance to pitch with the Nationals' defense behind him. The WaPost writer predicted that the Nats would, "... make a better offer to Buerhle than they did to Jorge De La Rosa last year, and that was in the 3-yr/$33M range," but warned against going to a fourth year for Buehrle.

In spite of reports of the Nats' interest in left-hander C.J. Wilson, which have been roundly denied, most D.C.-based writers are convinced that the Nats' targets are either Buehrle or Roy Oswalt. Jon Heyman wrote on the Twitter this morning (@Jon_Heyman) that the, "Nats like Buehrle better than Wilson. Texas known willing to go to 4 yrs for C.J. If there's really legit 6 year offer, he should take it." MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) wrote on Twitter tonight that his sources too told him, "LHP Mark Buehrle would like a four-year deal. RHP Roy Oswalt would like a three-year deal."

Four years for the 32-year-old Buehrle? Three for a 34-year-old Oswalt? If there isn't a six-year deal on the table for Wilson should the Nats go there? Will Washington go to four years for Buehrle? Should they? Mike Rizzo also told reporters he got the feeling Buehrle wanted to get this stuff over with soon. Will Washington leave Dallas with the starter they're looking for?

Speaking of Yu Darvish:

After some discussion about the payroll restrictions the New York Yankees have right now and how it's limiting them from pursuing costly free agents this winter, GM Brian Cashman was asked during an interview on MLB Network Radio this afternoon if the Yanks would pursue 25-year-old Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish should the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters decide to post the right-hander this winter. "I think if you follow the breadcrumbs of our conversation we just had," Cashman said, "I think you can deduce a lot."

"I think chasing anything that's going to be very costly, if you're the media I think you'll be at risk of putting us in those categories right now. Again, when you have players making a ton of money like the Derek Jeters, the Robbie Canos, the Curtis Grandersons, the Mark Teixeiras, the [A.J.] Burnetts, the Mariano Riveras, Alex Rodriguez, that all adds up. And to continue to expect that you can add to that with more significant type of signings, I think that's unrealistic."

Yahoo!Sports.com's Steve Henson tweeted this afternoon that new Cubs' manager, "Dale Sveum says the Cubs haven't talked about Yu Darvish," because I guess someone asked. Was Chicago ever in the discussion? Earlier this week we noted that the Toronto Blue Jays, whose GM scouted Darvish in Japan this year, were "lukewarm" in their interest right now. Toronto Sun writer Bob Elliot wrote in an article last week entitled, "Jays target closer Bell", that, "Jays' president Paul Beeston is not a fan of the current posting system in place," and thus less interested than reports had claimed.

With potential suitors dropping out (the Red Sox, Rangers and others are still said to have interest), if the Nats don't get the veteran arm they want through free agency, could they go for Darvish and pay him like an ace to get the Nippon Ham starter to leave Japan?