For a moment last night it seemed like some Washington Nationals fans' worst nightmare was coming true... then they got to the third sentence of FOXSports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal's tweet about the Nats and Seattle Mariners talking Ian Desmond:
Sources: #Nationals have discussed Desmond with #Mariners on multiple occasions. Nats like Miller. Talks have yet to gain traction.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2014
Desmond is one of five key Nats headed for free agency after the 2015 campaign, but he and the Nationals will be talking extension again this week at the Winter Meetings.
"Miller" is Brad Miller, the Seattle Mariners' 25-year-old, 2011 2nd Round pick, a left-handed hitting middle infielder who put up a .221/.288/.365 line with 15 doubles, four triples and 10 HRs in 123 games and 411 plate appearances in a +1.4 fWAR 2014 campaign.
In a +1.8 fWAR season in 2013, Miller posted a .265/.318/.418 line with 11 doubles, six triples and eight home runs in 76 games and 335 PAs.
Mariners could trade Brad Miller and still have long-term internal shortstop in Chris Taylor, who started over Miller in 12 of last 16 gms.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 11, 2014
Nationals' General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters last night, on Day 3 of the Winter Meetings in San Diego, that he believed Desmond and the Nats' other rumored trade candidates would still be Nationals when the Nats' front office left Southern California:
Mike Rizzo believes Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister will be with the Nationals during Spring Training. #Nats #MLB— William Ladson (@washingnats) December 10, 2014
Desmond and the Nationals avoided arbitration last winter by agreeing on a two-year/$17.5M deal which bought out the last two years of the 29-year-old shortstop's arbitration eligibility.
The Montreal Expos' '04 3rd Round pick out of Sarasota High School in Sarasota, Florida put up a .255/.313/.430 line with 26 doubles, 24 home runs, 24 stolen bases, 46 walks and 183 Ks in 154 games and 648 plate appearances in a +4.1 fWAR season in D.C. in 2014 in the first year of that contract.
On Tuesday night, the Nats' general manager told reporters, including the Washington Post's James Wagner, that he'd already spoken to Desmond's representatives out in San Diego:
"Rizzo said the two sides 'met' but he declined to characterize the extent of the meeting."
Desmond's agent characterized it as "exchanging pleasantries," when he spoke to the Washington Post's Nats beat writer.
As the WaPost's Mr. Wagner noted, Desmond reportedly turned down a 7-year/$107M offer when a long-term extension was discussed before this past season.
Can he and the Nationals work something out?
Nationals' Second Base Search:
• "The Nationals have cast a wide net in search of an infielder and view the trade market as more fruitful than the free agent class..." - "Nationals’ second base search, interest in Tyler Clippard and other notes" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "The Arizona Fall League named Mesa Solar Sox second baseman and Nats prospect Tony Renda to the 2014 AFL Top Prospects Team." - "Tony Renda named to the AFL Top Prospects Team" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Nats 2B prospect Tony Renda has been named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team. Hit .307/.381/.377 last year at Single-A Potomac— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) December 10, 2014
• "2. Chase Utley to the Nationals for OF Steven Souza and C Jakson Reetz." - "Five more trade ideas for the Phillies" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
• "Now the Nats see the implications — not necessarily bad but certainly significant — of not pushing harder and offering more to sign extensions with Desmond or Zimmermann last winter." - "In MLB, teams that hesitate with pending free agents often lose" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
Nats Beat - Winter Meetings Edition: Werth to left in 2015?
• "We hope we have that problem in the very near future, where we have to decide where Bryce Harper is going to move Jayson Werth to," general manager Mike Rizzo said Dec. 6, 2010..." - "Rizzo says Werth and Harper will swap outfield positions in 2015" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
#Nats GM Mike Rizzo goes 1-on-1 with @ZuckermanCSN at the Winter Meetings (VIDEO) http://t.co/RsvQdc2MQ7 #MLB #NationalsTalk— CSN Nationals (@CSNNationals) December 10, 2014
• "Jayson Werth will flip positions with Bryce Harper and play left field next season, General Manager Mike Rizzo said on Wednesday." - "Jayson Werth moves to left field in 2015; Bryce Harper will take over in right" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Rizzo said Williams had conversations with both Werth and Harper about it this offseason, and that both players were 'very positive' about the decision." - "Nationals Pastime: Rizzo on Werth, Harper positional moves (plus update on grievance hearing)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
"Pay that man his money..." - Teddy KGB:
• "Zimmermann, right-hander Doug Fister and shortstop Ian Desmond are free agents after the 2015 season, and the Nationals are listening to trade offers on those players." - "Nats reach out to Zimm's agent, plan Harper shift" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
#Nats reach out to Zimm's agent, plan #Harper/ #Werth shift, Harper's grievance http://t.co/mxvFcA101I #MLB #Nationals— William Ladson (@washingnats) December 11, 2014
• "In his daily briefing with reporters, Rizzo said the Nationals are not likely to get involved in the frenzy swirling around Scherzer..." - "Nationals Pastime: Rizzo quashes Scherzer speculation, says he's met with Zimmermann's reps" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
• "The Nationals did meet with Jordan Zimmermann‘s agent, Mark Pieper, as promised. Obviously the two sides didn’t agree on a long-term contract extension..." - "News and notes from Day 3 of the Winter Meetings" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
Reliever Chatter - More A.J. Cole:
• "The Nats also think up-and-coming righty A.J. Cole may be better suited as a power arm in the late innings." - "Nationals Pastime: With relief market active, Nats fielding inquiries on bullpen arms" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
The lobby is buzzing:
• "The way I see it, any trade involving Desmond would have to involve a major league-caliber middle infielder coming back to the Nats..." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats generating lots of lobby buzz" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
Nats like Reds & Padres listening to teams inquiring about their some of their top starters...not afraid to deal one for long term benefit— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) December 11, 2014
• "Or the Dodgers could throw out the prospect package to all comers and see what team swaps its ace first. The Phillies, for Hamels? The Detroit Tigers, for David Price? The Washington Nationals, for Jordan Zimmermann?" - "Dodgers' new front office shows creativity with exciting moves" - Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
You can’t treat real baseball like fantasy baseball, they apparently did not say to Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi.— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) December 11, 2014
• "The Washington Nationals are entertaining offers for right-handers Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann, but are looking for help at second base and third base, which doesn't match up well with the Sox..." - "Boston Red Sox's job of building rotation gets harder" - Gordon Edes, ESPN Boston
• "Even without the strikeouts Fister’s 2.41 ERA made him plenty useful, though his 3.93 FIP, 3.85 xFIP and 3.93 SIERA thought less of him." - "Doug Fister’s Sweet 16" - David Wiers, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
• "En raison des difficultés des Rays de Tampa Bay à attirer les amateurs en Floride, l’agent de joueurs Scott Boras a affirmé qu’il croyait que la concession devrait déménager à Montréal." - "Boras dit que les Rays devraient jouer à Montréal" - Métro
Paging @JonahKeri: Order your Montreal Rays shirts here! 20% off, today only. http://t.co/SGSW91BLBv— DRaysBay (@draysbay) December 10, 2014
Nats Minor League notes:
• "Renda posted a .200/.233/.259 slash line. Despite that, he makes consistently hard, line-drive contact with a slight uppercut stroke." - "2014 AFL All-Star Team" - Vince Lara-Cinisomo, BaseballAmerica.com
2014 AFL All-Star Team http://t.co/nLrryJJUq5— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) December 10, 2014
• "We sat down with Mark Scialabba, the Nationals' director of player development, to look at some of the organization's 2014 standouts." - "Wilmer Difo, Steven Souza, Lucas Giolito step up for Washington Nationals" - Danny Wild, MiLB.com News
Whatever this deal is, just get it done so the questions at NatsFest can be about something other than rehashing NLDS pitching moves.— Let Teddy Win! (@LetTeddyWin) December 11, 2014
NL EAST UPDATES: Phillies in on Dodger movements; Mets' Gee on way out; Dee in Miami:
• Marlins: "Said Hill: 'It allows us to move (Christian) Yelich deper into the lineup, in front of Stanton. I think it'll put a lot of pressure on opposing teams...'" - "Giancarlo Stanton 'thrilled' with trade; Marlins hoping Haren doesn't retire" - Clark Spencer, Fish Bytes
The top of the @Marlins order gets a jolt of @FlashGJr. #WinterMeetings pic.twitter.com/sh8gduWKWo— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) December 11, 2014
• Braves: "Scouts and officials with other teams said all week the Braves’ asking price for sluggers Justin Upton or Evan Gattis was steep..." - "Braves driving a hard bargain in trade talks" - David O'Brien, www.myajc.com
• Phillies: "Jimmy Rollins, 36, will not be the last fading star to be removed from the roster this offseason as general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. attempts to inject a youth movement..." - "Rollins, first of Phillies core to arrive, now the first to leave" - Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer
• Mets: "Get ready Mets fans, it’s coming. The Mets will be making a trade, most likely involving Dillon Gee one of these days." - "TRADE BAIT: Dillon Gee's days as a Met appear to be numbered" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News