There are two big narratives taking hold this winter in the nation's capital. One centers around the Washington Nationals' search for a second (or possibly third) baseman. Washington Post writer James Wagner wrote on Wednesday about the Nats' interest in the talent that's defected from Cuba this fall with the WaPost reporter suggesting that, "The Nationals have been most interested in [Jose] Fernandez and [Yoan] Moncada."
Teams are buzzing about Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. Many clubs involved, but here's one in particular to watch: http://t.co/cQQYijuodq— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) November 5, 2014
Could the Nats possibly find their 2015 second baseman on the international market?
Nats have been keeping an eye on Cuban free agents. Two scouts will be at infielder Yoan Moncada's workout next week. http://t.co/Fa4rqGCj7V— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) November 5, 2014
The other narrative that's gaining traction in D.C. revolves around payroll issues, conspiracy theories and Ted Towne.
Who is Ted Towne?
Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore reported this past August that the, "Nationals ownership raised eyebrows within its baseball operations department," when they, "...shifted former vice president of finance Ted Towne into the baseball operations department as an assistant general manager."
Though Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told the WaPost Nats beat writer that Towne has been a "member of our team" for the past four years and, "will not be consulted on payroll allocation or other baseball matters," but would instead help out with, "...financial matters, budgeting, that type of thing for baseball operations – like he has in the past," Kilgore wrote then that the, "position Towne will fill is believed to be unique throughout baseball," and had, "... some in the front office wondering if ownership wanted to plant a liaison in baseball operations to limit spending within the department."
The WaPost reporter isn't the only one wondering about the placement of the former Lerner Enterprises' director of accounting in his new role:
Here are the rest of the Nationals-related links we found from the last 24 hours...
• NATS BEAT:
• "The Washington Nationals’ 2015 Spring Training schedule will conclude on April 4 with an exhibition game vs. the New York Yankees at Nationals Park." - "Nationals announce exhibition game vs. NYY at Nationals Park" - Curly W Live
• "Washington's Grapefruit League schedule includes a pair of visits from the Cardinals (March 7 and March 27) and Tigers (March 11 and March 19)." - "Nationals release 2015 Spring Training schedule" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "The Nationals will call Space Coast Stadium their spring training home for, at least, two more springs." - "Nationals announce spring training schedule" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "The Nationals have announced an exhibition game at Nationals Park on Saturday, April 4 against the Yankees." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats announce 2015 spring training schedule (Yankees at Nats Park on April 4)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "After months of underwhelming results from Jerry Blevins and Ross Detwiler, the Nationals decided to improve the left side of their bullpen with a veteran just days after the trade deadline." - "Nationals 2014 roster review: Matt Thornton" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "And that's the role that Frandsen eventually settled into. But in the early stages of the season, the now 32-year-old was needed as more than just a late-inning bench option." - "Nationals Pastime: A look back at Frandsen's first season in D.C." - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Livan Hernandez said recently he would like to become a full-time employee for the Nationals." - "Livan interested in working for Nationals full-time" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "So, which way will the Nationals go? Will they make a trade to fill the position, promote somebody from within, or sign a free agent?" - "Top 2B free agents available for Nationals" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "Left-hander Felipe Rivero has had some rough outings and had to fight through an injury during his first few weeks in of Arizona Fall League play, compiling a 1-4 record." - "Felipe Rivero with bounceback win for Mesa" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):
There needs to be a systematic approach to introducing inner values, a warm-hearted concern for all human beings, into education.— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) July 11, 2014
• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:
• "Never mind year-to-year volatility. Soriano's 2014 was a month-to-month glimpse into the roller-coaster life of a reliever." - "MLB free agent preview: Relief pitchers" - Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY Sports
• "Rendon prefers to watch programs on the History Channel. What he doesn’t realize is that baseball is the History Channel." - "Five Ways to Tweak Baseball, Before the Next ‘Worst World Series Ever'" - Richard Corliss, TIME
• "St. Claire spent 10 seasons as a big-league pitching coach (2003-12) with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals and the Marlins." - "Twinsights: Who should the Twins hire as their next pitching coach?" - Mike Berardino, Twins Now
• LaRoche shoots things, totally unique stories pop up on internet:
• "From Yahoo Sports: Adam LaRoche scored a 12-point elk in the woods of Wyoming." - "Adam LaRoche kills giant elk and Dan Haren is possibly sad about it" - Mark Townsend, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports
• "Free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche is an avid hunter, and earlier today he posted a photo of a giant-a•• elk that he shot on his Twitter account." - "Adam LaRoche Kills A Giant Elk; Dan Haren Is Bummed About It" - Tom Ley, Deadspin
• "A GM with a taste for elk meat might be smart to start making phone calls on the veteran first baseman." - "Adam LaRoche shot a massive elk" - Ted Berg, For The Win
@e3laroche poor elk, just minding his own business eating some leaves and boom, dead. Atleast you're having fun.— dan haren (@ithrow88) November 5, 2014
• "Duffy's Irish Pub, the best Nationals bar in D.C. and a six-time winner of Washington City Paper's Best Wings readers poll, closed last night." - "Duffy’s Irish Pub closes: ‘It’s been week-to-week, month-to-month.’" - Fritz Hahn, Washington Post
• NL EAST UPDATE:
• Mets: "Michael Morse is one such name who fits the Mets’ criteria, according to a person with knowledge of the club’s internal discussions." - "Giants slugger Michael Morse on Mets’ radar" - Mike Puma, New York Post
• "The Mets have interest in free agent outfielder Michael Morse, according to a report by Mike Puma." - "Mets Free Agency: Mets interested in Michael Morse" - Chris Strohmaier, Amazin' Avenue
• Phillies: "Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is now saying that the Cubs are looking to make a trade for Cole Hamels." - "Cubs willing to trade for Cole Hamels" - Justin Klugh, Philly.com
• Marlins: "Preliminary contract talks between the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton are underway..." - "Marlins open contract negotiations with Stanton" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com
• Braves: "Braves fans were not happy when Andrelton Simmons was not named the 2013 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year." - "Heyward named Defensive Player of the Year" - Mark Bowman, braves.com