Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo walked across the crowded second floor lobby of the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on Sunday night, on the first day of the Winter Meetings, shaking hands with Nationals fans in attendance and posing for a few pictures.
All was quiet on the Nationals front Sunday afternoon following a few rumor-filled days in the lead-up to the yearly gathering of baseball’s executives and reporters.
Jon Heyman wrote an article Sunday in which he suggested that the Nationals, “... believe they can probably afford two of the three stars they covet,” between the Chicago White Sox’ Chris Sale, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and free agent closer Mark Melancon.
But, Heyman noted, Washington is, “cognizant of the $195 million luxury tax threshold for 2017 as part of the new CBA and would rather avoid it.”
He also was wondered if the Nationals had enough prospect depth to land both Sale and McCutchen, but said Washington was taking what he described as, “... an ultra-aggressive stance partly due to a coming window, with several key players in their primes and big stars Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy under team control for two more years.”
USA TODAY writer Bob Nightengale wrote on Twitter on Monday night that the Nats believe they have what it takes to get the two trades done:
The #Nats are actually trying to trade for Chris Sale AND Andrew McCutchen and believe they have the prospects to pull off both trades.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 5, 2016
New York Post writer Joel Sherman reported on Twitter that the Nationals continued to work to try to find common ground on a trade for Sale:
Return, which is someone like Turner, which is a no go for the Nats.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 5, 2016
The Nationals let the White Sox know that they would not include Trea Turner in any trade, Sherman noted in a follow-up article about Chicago having to reconsider their demands if they do intend to trade Sale.
Rizzo won’t trade Turner, but is he willing to trade top prospects (Victor Robles, Lucas Giolito or Reynaldo Lopez) after he was reportedly unwilling to part with them at this past July/August’s non-waiver trade deadline?
Will Rizzo take the “ultra-aggressive” approach and make the sort of win-now move he’s seemed reluctant to make in the past?
There was no significant update on the Nationals’ rumored search for a closer Monday, though Jon Heyman put a new team, the Miami Marlins, in the mix for Mark Melancon, who finished the 2016 campaign in D.C. after a trade from the Pirates.
As of last night, Melancon was reportedly weighing multiple 4-year/$60M offers from the Nationals and San Francisco Giants.
“The Melancon derby has been portrayed as a battle between the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals,” Heyman wrote Monday night, “... and maybe it ends up that way.”
“But Melancon is on Miami’s radar as well,” Heyman said.
By the end of the night, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal was reporting that rival clubs believed the Marlins were willing to spend big on Kenley Jansen: