Diamondbacks Jason Kubel and Justin Upton
With 83 days remaining until Opening Day of the 2013 season, plenty of rumors and trade buzz exists among all 30 Major League Baseball teams.
While we have already witnessed significant free agent signings and a handful of trades, one gets the sense that there is plenty of action yet to take place.
For example, there are still four top-tier free agents on the market in the form of Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse, Rafael Soriano and Adam LaRoche.
Aside from that, numerous other teams are still looking to upgrade via the trade market.
Here we will examine all of the loudest trade buzz and and free agent updates for every MLB team.
Outfielder Jason Kubel has been drawing interest as a trade chip.
While the name you most often hear about out of the Diamondbacks camp is Justin Upton, Jason Kubel has been drawing significant interest as of late as well.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that the Baltimore Orioles were interested in Kubel. However, Arizona was seeking young pitching in return, something that the Orioles are not willing to part with.
Additionally, Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona tweeted that an agreement between the San Diego Padres and Diamondbacks that would send Kubel and/or Justin Upton to the Padres could not be reached.
This suggests that the Diamondbacks are still actively shopping members of their crowded outfield.
Earlier in the week, we learned from a collaborative piece by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi that both the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners have inquired about Upton also.
With the Texas Rangers having lost both Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli while also missing out on Zack Greinke, it would not be surprising to see them attempt to make a move for either D'Back outfielder as well.
The Rockies have a high asking price for Dexter Fowler
While the Atlanta Braves have been tied to Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks, they have also eyed several other players to be their starting left fielder in 2013.
According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves have looked at players like Dexter Fowler, Emilio Bonifacio, Peter Bourjos or Josh Willingham in the trade market.
Problems exist with every name on that list.
For example, the Twins have been relatively quiet on the trade front since moving Denard Span and Ben Revere, respectively, in exchange for numerous quality arms this winter, thus rendering the probablity of Willingham being traded to almost zero percent.
Bourjos appears unavailable now that the Angels have traded away Kendry Morales.
Bonifacio does not appear to be available at this moment after being sent to Toronto earlier this winter, as tweeted by David O'Brien.
That brings us to Dexter Fowler, who could really be an ideal fit in Atlanta. As a switch hitter he could both lead off and play left field, solving two problems in the lineup.
As O'Brien points out in his piece, Colorado’s asking price has been too high so far for Fowler.
The Braves have also said that they are prepared to enter the 2013 season using the team they have right now, which would likely consist of Martin Prado and Reed Johnson splitting time in left.
That being said, it is still hard to rule them out on Fowler and Upton at this point.
In addition, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN, general manager Frank Wren has not closed the door on bringing back Michael Bourn yet either.
Joe Saunders wants to return to Baltimore
In the 2012 American League Division Series, the Orioles lost in five games by a total of 16 runs to 10.
Simply put, they were outscored by one run, on average, over the course of five games. They fell just short offensively, yet managed to have the Yankees on the ropes.
The need for offense is likely why the Orioles have been kicking the tires on Diamondbacks outfielder Jason Kubel, as tweeted by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
In 2012, Kubel had one of the finest seasons of his career, batting .253/.327/.506/.833 with 30 home runs and 90 RBI in 141 games.
Comparatively, he would have led the Orioles in RBI while making for a fierce middle of the lineup presence along with Adam Jones and Chris Davis.
As Heyman tweeted, the Orioles would have to give up young pitching to obtain Kubel. If they decide to pull the trigger, free agent Joe Saunders has told the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly that he would like to return to the Orioles in 2013.
“First and foremost, I’d like to come back to Baltimore and do some great things in 2013. But, from my standpoint, my hands are kind of tied. I pay my agent to do his job and hopefully it all works out.”
Saunders posted a 3-3 record with a 3.63 ERA and 1.276 WHIP in seven regular season starts for the Orioles after being traded from the Diamondbacks in 2012.
In the 2012 postseason, Saunders went 1-0 in two starts between the ALWC and ALDS rounds. He posted a 1.59 ERA and a 1.235 WHIP in 11.1 innings of work.
The O's should pull the trigger to bring Kubel in and sign Saunders to a multi-year contract.
The Red Sox have been scouting free agent Javier Vazquez
The Boston Red Sox have quietly had a very busy winter.
They've signed catcher David Ross, outfielders Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino, pitchers Koji Uehara and Ryan Dempster and are working a deal out with catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli. They also traded for closer Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates.
While none of those moves may come across as major transactions, all of which have filled necessary gaps in the teams lineup.
Now, according to WEEI's Rob Bradford, the Red Sox are being tied to free agent pitcher Javier Vazquez, who last pitched in the majors in 2011 as a member of the Florida Marlins.
At 34 years of age, Vazquez went 13-11 in 32 starts for the Marlins with a 3.69 ERA and a 1.183 WHIP.
While Red Sox fans may be hesitant to take a chance on Vazquez, it is worth noting that in his final month playing in Major League Baseball, Vazquez went 5-0 with a 0.71 ERA.
Additionally, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe discusses Jacoby Ellsbury and claims that he is a hard sell to some teams because he is both in a walk year and has been hurt often.
However, Cafardo points out that a team like Texas could make perfect sense as a landing spot.
It is hard to imagine the Red Sox not trying to move Ellsbury before the start of the season. This way, whichever team does take him on will be able to make him a qualifying offer and receive draft compensation when he presumably walks after the 2013 season.
A healthy Matt Garza could be a nice trade chip.
It appears that the Cubs may be done with their wheeling and dealing this winter.
The team did just extend an invitation to spring training to Dontrelle Willis, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
They have already signed Edwin Jackson to four-year, $52 million contract, which appears to be the big splash of the winter.
Now, the focus should shift onto continuing to build the farm system and cultivate the home grown talent.The next step in that process should be trading Matt Garza.
In a recent article by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, the Cubs would listen to possible deals for Garza but that would require him to show that his injured elbow has healed in spring training.
Garza would be a valuable commodity for any team looking for an innings eater. He has thrown for 200-plus innings twice in his career and has another season in which he threw 198 of them. That isn't bad considering that he has four seasons in which he started 30 or more games.
In an online chat session with ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine, Levine mentions that the Blue Jays and Rangers have been the biggest suitors for Garza's services thus far.
The Cubs have the building blocks in place. They go by the names Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija and Darwin Barney.
Gavin Floyd's future in Chicago is uncertain.
In an online chat session, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine points out that the largest need of the White Sox right now is a left-handed bat.
There are two issues with that.
First, in a conflicting report, MLB.com's Scott Merkin thinks that acquiring a left-handed bat—like a Jason Kubel, for instance—would hinder the progress of left fielder Dayan Viciedo.
With that in mind, both writers agree that if the White Sox were to make a move at all, they would have to move some of their starting pitching, something they won't part with until they know John Danks is healthy for sure.
Then, Gavin Floyd would likely find a ticket out of town.
Understandably the White Sox would like to address that concern by adding another left-handed bat, and making a trade for a player like Kubel would require the Sox to bench the 24-year-old Viciedo in favor of Kubel.
However, should the team wish to remain creative, there are a couple of left-handed bats that are still available via free agency.
There is one caveat though: the available lefty bats are up there in age. For example, Bobby Abreu and Travis Hafner are a few of those that are left out there.
Abreu played in 100 games in 2012 posting a .242/.350/.342/.693 line, while Hafner played in just 66 games with a .228/.346/.438/.784 line.
Neither provides a sufficient enough upgrade over Viciedo's .255/.300/.444/.744 line in 147 games for the White Sox in 2012.
It would make sense for the team to take a wait and see approach with Viciedo.
If he can prove himself to be a worthy everyday player, then they should stick with the kid. If not, they can always explore trade options.
Time for Mat Latos to get paid.
It appears that the Reds are done adding pieces at this point, after bringing back Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Ludwick, and also adding Shin-Soo Choo to the mix.
However, now it is time to address some of their arbitration eligible players.
In a piece written by MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, general manager Walt Jocketty and the Reds are starting to focus their attention toward signing their remaining arbitration-eligible players.
Most notably, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Choo.
In Choo's case, the likelihood of an extension being met before free agency is slim, as he is represented by Scott Boras.
Additionally, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds are just waiting to hear whether Scott Rolen will return in 2013 or just retire.
In the event of his retirement, Scott Frazier will be able to take over full-time at third base, rounding out the infield.
The Indians added pitching depth with Brett Myers.
The Cleveland Indians have had an interesting winter, to say the least.
While they traded away Shin-Soo Choo, they have signed free agents Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds and Brett Myers while also receiving Drew Stubbs in the Choo deal.
New skipper Terry Francona appears to have some solid pieces to work with next season.
Considering the fact that the team finished with a 68-94 record and fourth overall in the AL Central last season, there is a strong probability that this team could rebound respectfully in 2013.
The Rockies have shown interest in free agent Brandon Webb
The Colorado Rockies finished the 2012 season with the worst team ERA in the league—a whopping 5.22 mark—with an equally ugly 1.549 WHIP.
It comes as no surprise then that they are looking to upgrade their starting pitching this winter.
Already the team has re-signed Jeff Francis and traded for Wilton Lopez.
Currently, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding, the Rockies intend to scout former Cy Young-winner Brandon Webb.
Historically, Webb is a solid ground ball pitcher. He won the 2006 NL Cy Young Award, led the NL in wins in both 2006 and 2008, and he also finished second in Cy Young voting in both 2007 and 2008 as well.
Then, shoulder problems caused him to only pitch 4.0 innings in 2009.
He has since struggled to get back to the majors.
This could be a classic low-risk/high-reward situation for the Rockies.
According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, along with Webb, the Rockies are rumored to be in on Jeff Karstens, another infamous ground ball pitcher.
However, it is worth mentioning that while the Rockies are looking for ground ball pitchers, the two very best in baseball in 2012 remain as free agents.
According to Fangraphs.com, Derek Lowe had a 59.2 percent ground ball ratio while Aaron Cook owned a 58.6 percent ratio.
While it is difficult to see the Rockies bringing Cook back, it is reasonable to suggest they could benefit from Derek Lowe's services.
Could Brian Wilson be closing out games in the Motor City?
One of the more exciting rumors out there comes from ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required), who discusses the idea of Brian Wilson becoming a member of the Tigers.
The issue, as he views it, is Detroit allowing 22-year-old Bruce Rondon to close out games to start the 2013 season.
While Rondon certainly has the stuff to fill the role, Bowden does not think it wise to throw Rondon right into the fire.
Signing Brian Wilson to a one-year deal serves both sides well. Wilson can also raise his value for a big payday after missing almost all of 2012.
In 2012, Wilson pitched in two games, racking up just 2.0 innings of work.
In return, Rondon can develop with less pressure under the tutelage of an experienced closer.
Additionally, the Tigers have been discussing the idea of trading away starter Rick Porcello, as CBS Sports Danny Knobler reports.
As Knobler pointed out, the Tigers needed to be sure that they could bring back Anibal Sanchez before moving Porcello.
Now that Sanchez is back in the mix, the trade market may open right up.
The Astros biggest pickup of the winter: Carlos Pena
According to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, the Astros are likely done buying groceries this winter.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow signed the team's first ever full-time DH, Carlos Pena and added relief pitcher Jose Veras.
According to McTaggart, Luhnow hasn't ruled out adding any more pieces, but the roster appears set for spring.
"We do feel like any time we take someone off the roster we risk losing a player we want to keep, so any addition would have to be considered in that light," Luhnow said.
He would go on to describe his thoughts on the offseason, saying:
"In terms of our goals for this offseason, we wanted to improve our lineup offensively, we wanted to add some depth to the bullpen and add some depth to the starting rotation, and I think we've done all of that to a certain extent."
While the team was never really seriously in on Lance Berkman, it would have been nice to see the "Big Puma" return to Houston to retire after putting in so many quality years in an Astros uniform.
With James Shields the Royals finally have an ace.
It has been refreshing to see the Kansas City Royals making waves this winter.
The pitching makeover started with a trade for Ervin Santana from the Angels. Then the team acquired James Shields and Wade Davis from Tampa Bay, while also retaining Jeremy Gutherie to solidify their pitching staff.
Additionally, they've signed Dan Wheeler and are taking a chance on Miguel Tejada.
Speaking of taking chances, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Royals were one of four teams that scouted Javier Vazquez.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 5, 2013
The Royals have positioned themselves to be able to compete with most pitching staffs after the moves they've made this winter.
Josh Hamilton: The $125 million man.
For all intents and purposes, it appears that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are done for the winter.
They've already traded away Kendry Morales after signing Josh Hamilton, so now all that remains are expectations.
Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com brings up the top 10 concerns facing the Angels in 2013.
The most notable, and biggest, question has to be, "Will Hamilton make his $125 million contract worth it?"
Obviously, that is a question that cannot be answered in year one. However, the Angels are hopeful that he can stay on the field and be productive for them.
The rest should work itself out.
Chris Capuano could be available.
Needless to say, the Dodgers have been a busy franchise under their new management.
They landed their top target this winter in the form of Zack Greinke. They also brought in Josh Beckett during the trade with Boston last season.
Such moves have made Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang available, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports.
The Dodgers will likely see more interest coming for Capuano, as he is both a south paw and had a solid season for the blue in 2012, posting a 12-12 record with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.220 WHIP.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports have reported that teams have asked about the availability of Andre Ethier as well.
At this point, it does not appear as though the Dodgers are looking to move Ethier. However, one would not rule out the possibility if the team starts the season off slowly.
Giancarlo Stanton: Staying or Going?
According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Miami Marlins have not had any internal discussions regarding trading Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton has been publicly critical of the Marlins since the team traded away a majority of its stars from the 2012 season.
In a November 16, 2011 interview with MLB.com's Peter Gammons, Stanton had this to say:
"I do not like this at all," Stanton said. "This is the 'winning philosophy?' Then to say it's not about money? What is the motivation? There comes a breaking point. I know how I feel. I can't imagine how the city and the fans feel."
Since that time, Stanton's name has been all over the Internet in various baseball blogs and message boards, with fans from across the league longing for the 23-year-old to patrol their respective team's outfield.
The question is: just how long will Miami hold on to him?
Just as recent as Sunday, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Times reported that the Padres had been in talks with the Marlins regarding Stanton.
Could the Brewers steal away Kyle Lohse?
Things have been pretty quiet in Milwaukee this winter.
Other than the reported signing of Mike Gonzalez (first reported by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal), not much has taken place for the Brewers.
According to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, the team was previously open to moving first baseman Corey Hart, but it appears that this is no longer the case.
However, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, the Brewers could be looking to steal away Kyle Lohse from the St. Louis Cardinals.
A signing like that would not only boost the Brewers rotation, but it would also take away a significant arm from a division rival.
Is it time for Morneau to go?
Justin Morneau is entering the final year of his contract, and will be earning a cool $14 million this season with the Twins.
The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo wonders if he could be dealt.
Teams like the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays would all have interest in the first baseman.
In addition, while the Twins have been getting a good amount of prospects back in exchange for Ben Revere and Denard Span, they could clean up by adding more quality prospects for Morneau.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, the Twins are looking to get young arms in return for Morneau.
Adam Eaton is the only D'Back OF the Mets could focus on.
There has been next to no blips on the Mets radar lately.
Since extending David Wright and trading away R.A. Dickey, the Mets have been seldom mentioned in any real rumblings.
The latest news comes from Michael Baron of Metsblog.com, who wonders if the team could make a bid for Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Eaton.
The problem is that Eaton is only 23 and is under team control through 2019.
In all likelihood, the Mets are set heading into 2013.
One more go for Mo.
The New York Post's Kevin Davidoff outlines the Yankees need to add a few pieces in his January 6 article.
The Yankees were interested in bringing back Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers. While the team has been relatively quiet, short of bringing back aging veterans, they do still have some gaps to fill.
Davidoff goes on to say that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has excelled with low-risk, close to spring training pickups in the past few years.
The team is hoping to replicate that same type of success this winter.
That being said, the remaining low cost free agents are not extremely overwhelming, both in name or reputation.
Minor interest in Crisp
Another team that has conducted a minimal amount of transactions this winter is the Oakland A's.
After a remarkable 2012 season that ended after an exciting ALDS, the A's have gone about business as usual.
In other words, they have made small moves and leave it all out on the field.
The only big buzz that surrounded the team occurred a couple of weeks ago when the Mets were kicking the tires on Coco Crisp, as reported by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
Could Scott Hairston be the fix for the Phillies OF?
The Philadelphia Phillies are still in need of some outfield help.
According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, despite already trading for Ben Revere, the Phillies are still in the market for a corner outfielder.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. addressed the team needs and stated that, and I'm paraphrasing here, the team has looked at both free agents and trade possibilities to fill the needs of the club.
With that said, Zolecki goes on to chronicle how the team has been interested in free agent outfielders Scott Hairston as well as trading for the Angels' outfielder Vernon Wells.
Hairston seems like a more logical choice for the Phillies. First and foremost, he is affordable. While salary has never really been an issue for the Phillies, Hairston made only $1.1 million in 2012.
Wells is still owed $42 million over the next two seasons.
Taking a look at the two, head-to-head, this is how their 2012 statistics stacked up:
Additionally, Hairston is two years younger than Wells.
Jason Grilli is now the man in Pittsburgh.
Since completing a deal that sent closer Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox, the Pirates have handed the closing rights over to Jason Grilli.
Additionally, they've been trying to bolster their rotation by adding Francisco Liriano, as first reported by La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune.
While they've previously added Russell Martin to go behind the plate, the tweaking of the pitching staff appears to be the major change this winter.
Heading into 2013 with A.J. Burnette, Francisco Liriano and a full season of Wandy Rodriguez makes for a formidable staff, not to mention James McDonald and Jeff Locke, who will both return as well.
Kubel's name has been tossed around in San Diego.
Jack McGruder of FoxSportsArizona.com tweeted that the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres could not find common ground on a trade that would send Jason Kubel or Justin Upton to the Padres.
In addition, McGruder points out that Chase Headley will not be traded.
For the Padres, this is a wise move. However, it will cost them the likes of a Kubel or Upton.
Still, the Padres should not be counted out of the trade market just yet.
There are conflicting reports that describe the involvement—or non-involvement—of the Miami Marlins and trade talks surrounding budding superstar Giancarlo Stanton.
If you listen to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, no such talks took place.
However, if you subscribe to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune's writings, a conversation did take place.
What we do know is this: Stanton is still a Marlin. We also know that the Padres appear to be quietly trying to acquire a solid outfield bat for 2013.
Could the Freak be moving on?
The reigning 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants have not made too many moves this winter.
Why should they? They're the champs.
They've managed to bring back both Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan—their two biggest concerns—and they already have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball.
Needless to say, there is not much room for improvement.
But there is one question: what happens to Tim Lincecum? The two-time Cy Young Award winner will make $22 million this season, in the final year of his contract.
Will the Giants opt to re-sign him, or let him walk?
Also, could he be traded?
Kyle Lohse is just waiting for an offer.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Mariners badly want a hitter but are not ruling out improving their starting pitching either.
While Rosenthal says that the Mariners find Kyle Lohse too pricey and they don't want to give Joe Saunders a three-year deal, it appears that the longer these players are available, the more the odds are in the team's favor.
The Mariners have also been linked to Justin Upton, per Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.
The team has a solid young core. Adding Kendry Morales via trade gave them some offense, but another bat is clearly needed.
Carpenter and Co. should be back strong in 2013.
Crickets can be heard in St. Louis.
There has been an incredibly small amount of activity following the Cardinals departure from the NLCS—but that hasn't necessarily been a bad thing.
The Cardinals won the NL Wild Card and made it all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS. That is not bad for a team that finished second in the NL Central with an 88-74 record.
The red birds were a full 9.0 games behind the Cincinnati Reds heading into the playoffs, yet made it closer to the ultimate goal.
With the team coming back in its entirety, the Cardinals are once again going to be in the thick of things. You can be sure about that.
The Rays are also interested in Javier Vazquez
The Tampa Bay Rays—much like the Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals—were all in attendance scouting former MLB pitcher Javier Vazquez, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Vazquez could prove to be a nice commodity in Tampa Bay.
He is already accustomed to pitching in Florida after pitching for the Marlins in 2011, where he posted a 13-11 record in 32 starts while also recorded a 3.69 ERA and a 1.183 WHIP.
The Rays already have a cluttered rotation, but competition can be healthy in spring training.
After trading away James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals, the Rays are left with a rotation of David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Jeff Niemann, Roberto Hernandez and Chris Archer.
Having Vazquez in the mix could give the team a solid veteran presence and truly add to their embarrassment of riches.
Could Stanton be headed to Texas?
The Texas Rangers have sat back and watched Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton walk away.
They've also traded away Michael Young, and they lost out on Zack Greinke.
Yes, they did sign A.J. Pierzynski, but all things considered, the Rangers have been the biggest loser of this free agency period.
Hold the phone.
Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, in a video chat, threw out some very intriguing possibilities that could happen shortly with the Rangers.
First, the Rangers have been involved in talks with the Diamondbacks regarding Justin Upton, that we already know.
Additionally, Morosi could see the Rangers making a strong play for disgruntled Marlin Giancarlo Stanton. They certainly have the trade pieces.
If either Upton or Stanton falls through, Morosi does not rule out Michael Bourn as a third option in the fold.
He also points out the need for a starting pitcher in Texas. While acquiring Stanton would be ideal, the Rangers could also use their trade chips to get a front-end starter.
While the clock is ticking on the Rangers, things could get very interesting very quickly.
Why wouldn't the Blue Jays be in on Javier Vazquez?
Alex Cora, former MLB player and general manager of Javier Vazquez's team in Puerto Rico, told WEEI's Alex Speier that along with the Red Sox, the Blue Jays have been scouting Javier Vazquez.
Why wouldn't they be? The Blue Jays have already been the juggernauts of this offseason.
It is hard to believe that Toronto could have any other irons in the fire right now, but along with the idea of scouting Vazquez, the team also has interest in Matt Garza.
Once Garza returns to spring training and can show that he is healthy, one would imagine that the Jays would start kicking the tires on him again.
In an online chat, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine stated that:
My sources and instincts would still be very interested in Garza if we was healthy in spring training. They could go as far as having private workouts for teams during the spring.
This will be something to keep an eye on as the weeks go by.
For LaRoche, the waiting is the hardest part.
There are realistic expectations and then there are unrealistic expectations.
First, lets visit fantasy land. The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore suggests that the Nationals should sigh Rafael Soriano.
In his own words, the idea is crazy. The Nats already have a solid closer and setup man. In addition, the bullpen is already well staffed.
However, the counter argument is also compelling. Washington has missed out on several left-handed pitchers this winter, so why not go after the best pitcher overall—albeit a right-handed one—that is left on the market?
Keep in mind, Soriano turned down a $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Yankees in order to reach free agency, and the likelihood of Natioanls general manager Mike Rizzo shelling out big dollars to a reliever is slim to none.
Now, on to the realm we call reality.
The Nationals need to bring back first baseman Adam LaRoche.
In a conversation with Adam Kilgore, LaRoche stated that he has been talking to multiple teams but he prefers to stay in Washington.
LaRoche would go on to say:
“Got to keep things open in case Washington doesn’t work out. I’m still hopeful that it will, but as you know it takes two sides cooperating to make that happen. I’m doing everything I can.”
It appears to be a stalemate, but the Nationals should not wait too long to make their move. It was being reported that the Boston Red Sox were talking to LaRoche as well, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Lastly, according to WEEI's Alex Speier, the Nats are also a team that has been scouting free agent hurler Javier Vazquez.
Things could be busy in Washington over the next few weeks.