ORLANDO — The first day of the general managers’ and owners’ meetings are wrapping up now. The GMs didn’t do any of the meeting today – it was actually assistant general managers holed up in conference rooms. The bosses are having dinner now and will get down to some work tomorrow.
Mike Rizzo arrived in mid-afternoon and did not have time to discuss the Nationals’ offseason plans or other issues surrounding the team. We were still able to pick up a few nuggets from the bedraggled lobby of the JW Marriott Grande Lakes.
>>> One of the Nationals’ primary, if not earth-shaking, objectives this winter will be upgrading the left side of their bullpen, an area they largely disregarded last winter to ruinous results. The Nationals have expressed interest in Yankees free agent Boone Logan, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Logan, 29, became a crucial part of the Yankees’ bullpen as a classic left-handed specialist. He has made 256 appearances in the previous four seasons while accumulating just 176 innings. Over that span, he struck out 202 batters. Last season, left-handers hit .221 against him and he struck out 50 batters in 39 innings.
Logan appeared in a league-high 80 games in 2012 and has been durable for most of his career. He underwent elbow surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow in early October after he pitched through pain much of this season. The injury prevented Logan from throwing his slider with typical efficacy, and he appeared in only one game after Sept 6.
In their search for a lefty reliever, the Nationals may also circle back to Manny Parra and J.P. Howell, whom they showed interest in last offseason before they landed with the Reds and Dodgers, respectively. Both are free agents again this year.
>>> If the Nationals want to swing a big trade for a starter like Max Scherzer or David Price, one American League executive said, second baseman Anthony Rendon would almost certainly have to be the anchor of the deal on the Nationals’ side. The exec reasoned the Nationals do not have another young, controllable player in their system who would make sense as the centerpiece to that kind of deal.
It’s unclear whether the Nationals would be willing to bite that bullet. The Nationals believe Rendon, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2011 draft, is a player who sits at the center of their future plans.
First, don’t start any Price-for-Rendon rumors –- this is an informed opinion from someone outside the Nationals’ organization about the (substantial) cost they’d have to pay if they wanted to dive into the Price derby. Second, keep that in mind as the winter plays out. It’s fun and easy to lob big ideas about trades, but it’s hard to consummate them.
What would it take to pry Price, the biggest name who appears to be available on the trade market? Last year, the blockbuster involving a starter came when the Rays shipped James Shields and throw-in Wade Davis to Kansas City for Wil Myers -– who at the time was the No. 4 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America –- plus two other highly regarded pitching prospects (Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery) and third base prospect Patrick Leonard.
Price, the 2012 Cy Young winner, may be a more accomplished pitcher than Shields, but the haul for Price, the exec predicted, may not be as substantial. Almost a year later, the exec said, the consensus in baseball remains that Kansas City overpaid in the deal. It only takes one exuberant team to blow up a market, but the haul for Shields isn’t necessarily viewed across the industry as a baseline for what it would take to get Price.
>>> Lefty reliever J.C. Romero wants to continue his career, his agent Barry Praver said. Romero, 37, spent part of 2013 with Class AAA Syracuse before he hurt his shoulder and opted out of his deal. Romero has pitched for seven big league teams in a 14-year major league career and last pitched in the majors in
>>> The Nationals have scouted Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka, who will become available via the posting system this winter. Still, Nationals ownership is believed to be unwilling to commit the kind of financial heft – upwards of $125 million, according to reported estimates – to acquire him.