While he did not confirm the fact that their offer was for around $200M-ish as reported elsewhere, Washington Nationals' General Manager Mike Rizzo did acknowledge that they made a play for free agent outfielder Jason Heyward before the 26-year-old signed an 8-year/$184M deal with the Chicago Cubs in mid-December.
"We made an aggressive, legitimate, market value offer to a terrific player and he decided to take it elsewhere," Rizzo said.
"It was a disappointment, obviously that we didn't land Jason, who is a terrific player, great citizen and an all-around good guy," he continued, "but those things are expected. We have alternative plans for everything that we get done and for things that we don't get done, so we wish him well and we'll certainly make arrangements to improve the roster in other ways."
The Nats reportedly checked in on the availability of the Colorado Rockies' outfielders as well, but eventually worked out a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for 27-year-old Ben Revere to get the left-handed outfield bat/leadoff man they were reportedly after this winter.
Rizzo told reporters after that deal that he was happy with the Nationals' roster as it stood after the additions of Daniel Murphy, Revere and a number of bullpen arms.
"I like the roster as we are constructed right now," he said. "I don’t see any major needs that we haven’t addressed."
The Nationals did, however, reportedly talk to Justin Upton too, before the 28-year-old outfielder, drafted 1st overall by Arizona in 2005 when Rizzo was the Diamondbacks' scouting director, signed a 6-year/$132.75M deal with the Detroit Tigers this week.
"The Nationals checked in on Justin Upton before he signed with the Tigers," Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes wrote this morning.
According to "a person familiar with the situation" cited by the WaPost writer, however, "[t]hose talks stopped when the Nationals suggested a shorter-term scenario than the six-year deal Upton eventually got from Detroit."
So that's it, right? Roster set. On to Spring Training? Not just yet.
Reports from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and USA Today Sports' writer Bob Nightengale on Tuesday said the Nats are at least considering signing free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, if the price is right:
In a follow-up article, Rosenthal wrote about the New York Mets' efforts to re-sign Cespedes after they acquired the 30-year-old outfielder from the Tigers last July. There's no draft pick attached to Cespedes since the Mets couldn't make a qualifying offer before he became a free agent this winter.
Rosenthal suggests that "a five-year, $120 million contract with a two-year opt-out and a ton of deferred money" could bring Cespedes back to New York.
Rosenthal writes that, according to "major league sources", "... the Mets only have been interested in giving Cespedes a contract of three years or fewer," so a rival team interested in adding the outfielder, "... will need to separate from the pack, and the way to do that is by adding years and money."
Will the Nationals, who have Revere, Jayson Werth, Michael A. Taylor and Bryce Harper on the roster already, want to outbid other teams for the services of an outfielder with, "... diva-like tendencies," like, "... not taking batting practice, not hustling during games at times and constantly smoking cigarettes between innings," as Rosenthal writes, citing a report New York Daily News’ writer John Harper?
Does a deal with Cespedes make sense for the Nationals? Could Dusty Baker, noted handler of big personalities, make a crowded outfield mix work?