Another option at second base was removed from the board on Monday. The Pittsburgh Pirates were announced as the team with the winning bid for Korean infielder Jung-Ho Kang.
There were rumors that the defending NL East Champion Washington Nationals were one of the teams that could be in the running for the shortstop, and reports, including one from the Washington Post's James Wagner, which said they weren't the winning bidder before the official announcement.
So the search for a second baseman moves on... Where do the Nats turn next?
In a recent discussion at the Cal Ripken, Sr. fundraiser last week in the nation's capital, Nationals' manager Matt Williams told reporters including MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr that the Nats weren't "overly concerned" with "the vacancy at second base.":
"I would say, 'Are we looking for a second baseman? Yeah, kinda.' But we have guys that can play second base,' Williams said."
Danny Espinosa has experience at second, but the Nationals, of course, opted for a trade for a second baseman when they could have gone with Espinosa at second last July. Will Nats' GM Mike Rizzo find a second baseman this winter?
Stephen Drew is still available as a free agent...
It's link time. And there are a limited number at this time of the year as usual, but on to all the Washington Nationals-related stories we could find...
Nats Beat: Heath Bell signs Minor League deal w/ Nationals
• "From crazy-eyed headshots to unexpectedly comical entrances (see video below), the veteran right-hander is known as much for his eccentricities as his late-inning stature." - "Veteran reliever Heath Bell says he’s signed with the Nationals" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "Bell, then, would be competing with Blake Treinen, Xavier Cedeno, prospects A.J. Cole and Matt Grace and perhaps others for the final bullpen slot." - "Nationals sign veteran reliever Heath Bell to minor-league contract" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Bell, 37, is the classic low-risk, high-reward guy at this stage of his career, which has stretched 11 big league seasons." - "Nationals Pastime: Heath Bell signs minor league deal with Nationals" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
• "Bell also is reunited with manager Matt Williams. The two worked together with the D-backs in 2013, when Williams was the third-base coach." - "Nats, reliever Bell agree on Minor League deal" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
Nats' Roster Updates:
• "Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said he felt he could absorb the loss of Souza because of the depth of outfield talent behind him in the Washington system." - "With Souza gone, Michael A. Taylor’s development assumes more importance" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
Now 27, Tyler Moore is out of options, so he's preparing for one more push toward Washington's big-league roster http://t.co/oCXzRUhMzw— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) December 23, 2014
• "Baseball America editor-in-chief John Manuel listed Trea Turner and Joe Ross in the top six. One spot was opened up when outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was shipped to Tampa Bay." - "Additions of Turner and Ross alter Baseball America's Nats top prospects list" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Last week, right-hander Joe Ross was hanging out with his roommate, Nationals outfielder Jeff Kobernus, when he received word that he had been traded." - "Ross eager for chance to compete for spot with Nats" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "At least one national media report has linked the Nationals to Kang, but history tells us that the Nats may or may not be a player in this sweepstakes." - "Nationals Pastime: A few thoughts on Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang (updated)" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
The #Pirates get the winning bid for 27-year-old Korean shortstop Jung Ho Kang— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 22, 2014
Significant Moments countdown at NatsInsider.com:
• "The situation finally came to a head on Sept. 5. Handed the ball for the ninth inning with the Nationals comfortably leading the Phillies, 7-4, Soriano imploded like we hadn’t seen before." - "Significant moment No. 9: Soriano out, Storen in as Nationals closer" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Heath Bell has signed with the Nats, reports Heath Bell. Yes, he did so himself on The Players' Tribune. I guess we can be certain he has good information." - "MLB Hot Stove news and rumors roundup for Dec. 22" - Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com
• "Or, perhaps the Nationals will want to be sure they strike a deal for Zimmermann before they go after Scherzer hard. Because Zimmermann is a free agent after next season, the return for him might be easier to calculate..." - "Red Sox rotation talk goes in circles" - Michael Silverman, Boston Herald
• "A number of those players were sent to Tampa Bay, including Washington Nationals' outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and pitcher Travis Ott as well as San Diego Padres' pitcher Burch Smith and first baseman Jake Bauers." - "MLB News: Tampa Bay Rays Pleased With Recent Acquired Players; President of Baseball Operations Speaks" - Headlines & Global News
• "Earlier this year, Bryce Harper showed his love for D.C.’s Jrink Juicery by tweeting a photo of him enjoying a beverage." - "Professional athletes discover drinking gains from chugging juice" - Vicky Hallett, The Washington Post
• "THE NatsGM Show Episode #20 – Guest Nationals Legend Chad Cordero" - Ryan Sullivan, NatsGM
• "Among those joining Kelly included brother Chris and dad Pat, Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, Atlanta Brave Tyler Pastornicky, former Sailor Joey Rapp, former Oriole Tim Raines Jr., and former Sailor and New York Met Wayne Garrett." - "Camp Kelly: Giving back to community" - Doug Fernandes, HeraldTribune.com
• "Washington: Balance. The Nats need a second baseman, but the speculation has been whether they are going to keep the NL East champions together while providing stability for the future." - "One-word descriptions of every NL team at holiday time" - Mel Antonen, MASNSports.com
• "2014 Nats Review Podcast Music" - The Nationals Review
• "The Potomac Nationals announced today that the club has signed a new stadium founding partnership with F.H. Furr..." - "Potomac Nationals announce F.H. Furr as new stadium founding partner" - Augusta Free Press
• "The Potomac Nationals’ long-awaited new ballpark is one step closer to reality." - "P-Nats ink deal with F.H. Furr for new ballpark in Woodbridge" - INSIDENOVA.COM: Headlines
NL EAST UPDATES: Gattis next to go? Prado in Fish Stripes; Mets $
• Phillies: "The Phillies have signed three more players to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training: right-handers Sean O'Sullivan and Kevin Slowey, and first baseman Chris McGuiness." - "Phils sign three to Minor League contracts" - Austin Laymance, phillies.com
• Mets: "Mets ownership, headed by Fred Wilpon, received positive news Monday from the trustee working to recoup money for victims of Bernard Madoff." - "Mets owners whittle down how much money they owe from Bernie Madoff affair" - Mike Vorkunov, NJ.com
• Braves: "If the Braves do opt to trade Gattis, I believe they will attempt to gain a starting pitcher or an outfielder who could provide an immediate impact and remain under contractual control for the next few years." - "Inbox: Gattis the next domino in busy offseason?" - Mark Bowman, braves.com
• Marlins: "The Miami Marlins' addition of Martin Prado to the lineup adds an improved wrinkle to the offense." - "Martin Prado trade: New Marlins lineup optimization" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes