DALLAS - Apparently, the Winter Meetings must, by decree of longstanding baseball law, include at least one full-out media scrum with super agent Scott Boras, a guy who frustrates the other 29 clubs that do not have a curly W on their caps. This year's happened last night, while Nats general manager Mike Rizzo was pondering exactly what Plan B - and the B doesn't stand for Buehrle - means for his team.
Boras held court for a smaller-than-usual number of reporters, who still thrust tape recorders and microphones his way to record for posterity anything he said. One Nationals-related note to come out of the gathering is that Ivan Rodriguez's days in D.C. apparently are over.
Though Rodriguez has expressed an interest in re-signing with Washington, where he would continue to mentor young pitchers and catchers, it's not going to happen.
"I think their plan at the moment excludes (Rodriguez)," Boras told reporters.
Rodriguez's return was no more than a longshot, but the Nationals seem confident that Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores can handle the bulk of the catching duties. They've got highly touted Derek Norris and Jhonathan Solano in the pipeline, too, so Rodriguez became expendable.
Boras said Rodriguez would still try to hook on as a backup somewhere else, continuing his drive toward 3,000 hits. With 21 seasons under his chest protector, Rodriguez is 156 hits shy of the milestone.
* Overnight, the Nippon-Ham Fighters have decided to post Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Major league teams will bid on the right to extend a contract offer to Darvish, a deal that collectively cost somewhere in the $100 million range.
The Nationals have scouted Darvish and Rizzo said yesterday that, considering Mark Buehrle's decision to sign with the Marlins, the Nats would turn to other free agents, trades or the international market to land a pitcher.
Expect the Nationals to think long and hard about entering the bidding for Darvish's posting rights. But I doubt they'll be willing to spend the money necessary to make this dream a reality.
* This morning is the Rule 5 draft, and one name in the Nationals' system that has popped up as a possible pick is left-hander Josh Smoker, a compensation-round pick (31st overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. The 23-year-old Smoker was 5-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 46 relief appearances for Single-A Potomac in 2011 after working mainly as a starter during the previous four seasons. The Pirates are reportedly interested in him.