Before the Washington Nationals announced the additions to their 40-Man Roster on Thursday, the big story of the day for the defending NL East champs was that two of their five starters were reportedly available in the right deal.
Of course, they are, you say. Anyone is available in the right deal, right? More than a few sources reported yesterday that the Nats would consider trades for Jordan Zimmermann or Doug Fister.
USA TODAY writer Bob Nightengale was the first with those reports yesterday:
The #Nats are informing teams that ace Jordan Zimmermann is available,but only if they get strong return,emphasizing it is not a salary dump— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 20, 2014
Veteran #Nats pitcher Doug Fister, who like Zimmermann also is eligible for free agency in 1 year, also is available if a deal makes sense— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 20, 2014
Nightengale wasn't the only one talking about the Nationals considering trading one of their starters, with both Fister and Zimmermann due to become free agents after the 2015 campaign unless they sign on long-term in the nation's capital.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal talked about a potential Zimmermann trade and even threw Max Scherzer's name into the mix:
Zimmermann, Fister and Scherzer chatter:
• "Nats GM Mike Rizzo has a history with Scherzer -- the righty was Rizzo's last first-round pick as Diamondbacks scouting director in 2006." - "Plenty of potential suitors for Max Scherzer in free agency" - Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports
It's quiet on Scherzer now, but won't be for long. Five teams to watch:... http://t.co/sUoDwPvSDY— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 20, 2014
• "So far this winter, the Nationals and Zimmermann’s agent have not picked extension talks back up." - "Jordan Zimmermann wants to stay in D.C. but understands his situation" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Two agents floated the theory that the Nationals are trying to smoke out interest in a Zimmermann trade and make a play for Max Scherzer." - "With money or prospects, Cubs will pay for elite pitching" - Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago
• "According to league sources, industry speculation is that the Nationals could be looking to move Zimmermann and/or Fister in order to position themselves for a potential pursuit of free-agent starter Max Scherzer." - "Sources: Zimmermann, Fister trade talk could lead to Nationals' pursuit of Max Scherzer" - Chris Cotillo, MLB Daily Dish
• "Rosenthal goes further to present a hypothetical where the Nats trade Zimmermann to the Angels for Howie Kendrick and a relief pitcher, and essentially replace Zimmermann with Scherzer." - "Nationals linked to top free agent Max Scherzer" - Chase Hughes, Comcast SportsNet Washington
• "Meanwhile, the club has informed competitors that it is willing to deal Zimmermann and fellow righty Doug Fister in the right scenarios..." - "Latest On Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann" - Jeff Todd, MLB Trade Rumors
We've speculated before, earlier this winter, that if Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo was interested in adding to the bullpen last year -- with the pursuit of Grant Balfour when they already had Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano at the back of the pen -- he might go out and grab a bullpen arm this time around to bolster the relief corps...
ESPN.com's David Schoenfield wrote Thursday about one possibility (and he threw in a 2B option):
• Wonder if the Nats could be in on David Robertson. ... How about Steven Souza Jr. to the Mariners for Brad Miller, with Miller playing second base?" - "Random thoughts and notes: NL East" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
Random thoughts and notes: NL East http://t.co/N07q4U1HUC— ESPN.com's SweetSpot (@espn_sweet_spot) November 20, 2014
• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):
Prayer can be of great solace to the individual, but changing the world requires us to take action.— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) October 4, 2013
Here are all the Nationals' 40-Man Roster addition stories from around NatsTown (Difo <3):
• "'He’s on the cusp of accomplishing his, and our, ultimate goal, and we look forward to his contributions going forward.'" - Doug Harris on A.J. Cole - "Nationals add Cole, Difo, Goodwin and Grace to 40-man roster" - Amanda Comak, Curly W Live
• "Cole, 22, was the most obvious addition to the 40-man roster. He is the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect, after starter Lucas Giolito." - "Nationals add A.J. Cole, Brian Goodwin, Wilmer Difo, Matt Grace to 40-man roster" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
To, the Washington Nationals. Thank you for the opportunity to make a dream come true. Class act organization top to bottom.#thankyou— Ryan Mattheus (@RyanMattheus) November 21, 2014
• "The addition of Cole to the 40-man roster was the easiest decision for the Nationals’ front office, which recognizes the 22-year-old as one of their elite pitching prospects." - "Nationals add four players to 40-man roster, drop two" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Difo set career highs in average (.315), doubles (31), triples (seven), home runs (14), RBIs (90), walks (31) and runs (91) for low Single-A Hagerstown, and was named Most Valuable Player in the South Atlantic League." - "Nationals Pastime: Nationals add four to 40-man roster, release Mattheus; Pirates claim Florimon" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Difo, 22, could be in the Nationals' infield by 2016. This past season, the Nationals' No. 19 prospect set career marks in nearly every offensive category..." - "Nats fill 40-man roster by adding Cole, three others" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• Phillies: "The Phillies had seen him enough already, and the prospect has now sat back and let the demand for him develop." - "Are Phillies backing off Cuban prospect Yasmani Tomas?" - Justin Klugh, Philly.com
Yasmani Tomas bidding in furious progress this week. Exec of one club says to bet the mortgage on the Phillies:"Wanting to do something big"— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 20, 2014
• Braves: "The Atlanta Braves have entered the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes as a dark horse. The Braves are slated to watch Tomas and his exploits in coming days, according to sources." - "Braves enter Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes as derby expands" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com
• Marlins: "'I think we'll be very competitive next year,' Loria says, 'and I think by September, the message is that we are not only going to be competitive, but contending.'" - "Stanton just the start: 'Stay tuned,' says Jeffrey Loria" - Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports
• "'If you’re human, you can only look at our staff and be like, ‘Yeah, they’re going to make it to the playoffs,’ Wheeler said Thursday, speaking with reporters at Citi Field..." - "Zack Wheeler Seems Sure Mets Will Win Next Year" - Jared Diamond, WSJ