LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Let’s take a look at the news, notes, analysis and conversations that are going on in the hallways of the Walt Disney Dolphin Resort on the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings:
* Nationals owner Mark Lerner is walking the hallways, eager to find out what his general manager Mike Rizzo will do to add a lefty to his bullpen. Lerner says he’s confident in Matt Williams’ ability to lead the Nationals back into the postseason. Lerner said that Williams aced his four-hour interview.
“He’s so well-prepared and organized,’’ Lerner said. He met Williams for the first time during the season in a 20-second conversation around the batting cage when the Arizona Diamondbacks were in Washington.
“It was brief, but he made a great first impression,’’ Lerner said. “I’m glad he’s our manager.’‘
* The Nationals could add a lefty reliever either by trade or free agency. The market on either is deep, says general manager Mike Rizzo. The Nationals could get someone like James Russell of the Cubs or Franklin Morales of the Red Sox via trade, or they could sign a free agent such as Boone Logan, Eric O’Flaherty, Scott Downs or J.P. Howell.
* The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are two powerhouse teams that could be in the market for Tampa Bay lefty David Price. The story is the biggest of the Winter Meetings. Two surprise teams could be the Pirates and the Mariners. The Mariners are losing credibility with their fans, and ownership is eager to have a winner soon. The Pirates have the prospects and are looking forward to taking the next step.
* Pitcher Roy Halladay signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays so that he could announce his retirement as a Blue Jay. Is Halladay a Hall of Famer? There’s a good case, given his league-leading statistics and his performance in Cy Young voting. He’s led the league in wins twice, starts once, complete games seven times and innings pitched four times. He has 203 wins, a career 3.38 ERA and two historic no-hitters, including a perfect game against the Marlins and a no-hitter in the postseason for the Phillies, becoming the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1973 to throw two no-nos in the same season. Halladay has won two Cy Youngs, and finished second and third in other voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
* Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed a three-year contract for $21 million with the Marlins, the team that went on a spending binge in 2012 by signing Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle to big contracts and then trading them the following season. Saltalamacchia, who grew up Jupiter, Fla., not far from Miami, is excited about going home, and was asked if he was worried about getting traded.
“I only worry about things that I can control,’’ he said. The Marlins had 100 losses last season, but they had the worst run production in the NL last season as well as a team-record low 3.71 ERA.
* The Braves are saying that Evan Gattis will take over as their catcher next season, replacing Mr. Brave, Brian McCann, who signed a free agent contract with the Yankees. The Braves think Gattis will play strong defense, and while he doesn’t have the game-calling skill of McCann, the Braves are confident that Gattis will learn quickly.
* The Twins, who have already added Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to their rotation, are in the market for another pitcher and another bat, preferably to play in the outfield. The Twins would like to sign Mike Pelfrey, but free-agent Bronson Arroyo is in the mix.
* Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre will all be inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer. It is possible that Cox, the former Braves manager, will be inducted with two of the pitchers, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, that helped get him there. The BBWAA will vote on Maddux and Glavine for the first time this month. Jim Leyland is likely the next manager to make the Hall of Fame, but the Blue Jays’ Cito Gaston deserves consideration.
* The Red Sox might be in the market for Matt Kemp to replace Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, but if not, Red Sox manager John Farrell is confident in prospect Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley would be an improvement defensively, but Farrell said the team wouldn’t expect him to replace Ellsbury offensively. The top candidates to replace Ellsbury at the top of the order are either Shane Victorino or Daniel Nava, Farrell said.
“We need to get our best on-base guys ahead of the middle of the order,’’ Farrell said.