Off to the lobby, in search of Nats news

DALLAS - Welcome to the second day of baseball's Winter Meetings, which may or may not be the day someone besides the Marlins and Dodgers decides to join the fray with a significant free agent acquisition. Maybe even a trade.

I'm not sure what to make of this year's edition of the meetings, which have been threadbare on actual news - unless you reside in the lands of art deco and Hollywood dreams - and chocked full of lobby walking. And I do mean walking. From the media room to the main lobby at the Hilton Anatole, it feels like a good quarter-mile hike, and I've worn a path on the carpet so far.

But back to the wheeling and dealing, or lack thereof. It's as if one team has a ton of money to spend and suitors willing to listen, and another is just snatching up every mid-range, serviceable free agent out there to fill holes without running up too large a tab. The Marlins have been shopping at Nordstrom, getting the high-end stuff like Heath Bell and Jose Reyes. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are shaking off the nasty McCourt divorce aftermath, still wondering who will own them down the road and stretching their dollars at Kohl's, picking up decent if unspectacular pieces like pitcher Aaron Harang, infielders Jerry Hairston Jr., Adam Kennedy and Mark Ellis, catcher Matt Treanor. Hey, it's good stuff and it wears well. No one will notice it's not a designer label. Only there's no clearly stated return policy if something doesn't fit.

The Nationals? Don't be too worried by their lack of activity yesterday - general manager Mike Rizzo spoke with two agents and met with two clubs Monday on the first day of the meetings. Rizzo tends to be slow and methodical in these machinations - is it due diligence or diligence due? - and he's not tipping his hand quite yet about what's realistic and what's not.

Rizzo's shopping list remains the same: a horse of a starting pitcher, a center fielder, bench help. Throw in some bullpen arms, too. Every team here seems to be on the prowl for relief help, which falls into the you-can-never-have-enough category, even when it's an obvious team strength.

Last night's dueling rumors about left-handed starter C.J. Wilson and the notion that a mystery team had increased its contract offer to the free agent to include a sixth year, created a momentary stir just as everyone was starting to settle down for the evening.

Turns out the Nationals didn't do it - Mike Rizzo told ex-Nats GM Jim Bowden, who tweeted the news, and other club officials quickly quashed the speculation. But for a few minutes, at least, there was a flurry of activity centered on the curly W camp. Then, as quickly as it started, it was done, and everyone went back to their normal lobby routine.

So I'll leave you this morning - while we wait for the next nugget of news - with the little ditty I can't get out of my head every time I hike past the MLB Network Radio, MLB.com and MLB Network broadcast positions en route to the main lobby, which is already teeming with activity ... and the only place this early you can get a Diet Coke in the land of Dr. Pepper.

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