NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. - In the immediate aftermath of the Washington Nationals’ failed bid to acquire Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox, multiple reports out of National Harbor, Maryland’s Gaylord Resort and Convention Center had the Nationals returning to talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates about veteran center fielder Andrew McCutchen.
“Nats and Pirates talks back on regarding McCutchen,” MASN’s Byron Kerr reported on Twitter. “Meeting this afternoon, according to source with knowledge of situation.”
“Nats are going for McCutchen now,” Jon Heyman wrote, noting that after missing out on Mark Melancon and Sale, it’s, “Not easy to see them going 0 for 3. Dodgers, others are looking at Cutch, too, tho.”
The Nationals reportedly rebuffed the Pirates’ request for top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito and outfield prospect Victor Robles.
According to a report by Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga late on Tuesday, the Nationals offered Giolito, Robles and right-hander Reynaldo Lopez to the Chicago White Sox for Chris Sale, though the Sox picked the Boston Red Sox’ offer of four prospects headlined by Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.
GM Mike Rizzo was asked if there was still room to negotiate with the Pirates when he spoke to reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
“He’s one of the players that we’re discussing,” Rizzo explained.
“We’re discussing a lot of different players, a lot of different avenues, trade market, free agent market and position players and pitchers, relievers, so we’ve got our net wide and we’re looking for any avenue to improve the ballclub.”
Rizzo also stressed that deals don’t necessarily have to get done this week at the Winter Meetings.
“We’ve done some of our best deals after the meetings,” he said. “You lay foundations, and you have starting points that can sometimes finish here but continue on and we’ve got a lot of offseason left.
“We’re going to be active and aggressive and keep plugging along.”
“We have a strategy and plan. We have a Plan A through Plan Z. So you have to have a strategy, you have to employ a strategy and you have to be true to it. You always have to have the big picture and do what’s right for the franchise and the organization for the long-term and sometimes the long-term is a three-year window and sometimes the long-term is longer.”
Rizzo was asked if there were any potential deals had to be put on hold until there was a resolution to the talks with the White Sox, since there might have been some overlap with the prospects involved.
“No,” Rizzo said. “Like I said, we’ve got a lot of things going on, we had a lot of lines in the water.
“We’ve got a lot of options that we can do and we continued to work through it, had a lot of balls in the air and still do.”