Nationals in the mix for Mark Buehrle, kicked tires on Gio Gonzalez

DALLAS - Looks like the Nationals are, indeed, one of the three finalists to land free agent left-hander Mark Buehrle. A major league source just confirmed for me that the Nats are still in the Buehrle sweepstakes.

During his briefing with reporters Tuesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he thought once Buehrle had whittled down his list of possible destinations, the process of choosing a team would move swiftly. Apparently, all three of the offers Buehrle is weighing are similar in terms of length and money.

It's been a quiet day at the Winter Meetings so far - save for the Marlins' introduction of new shortstop Jose Reyes and the incessant Albert Pujols rumors. But in talking to a couple of lobby sources, I'm learning that the Nationals were one of the teams that kicked the tires on A's lefty Gio Gonzalez, who has been one of the most oft-mentioned names this week.

Perhaps two-thirds of the teams in baseball have made overtures about Gonzalez, who the A's have expressed a willingness to deal. But Billy Beane wants a package of top prospects in return, a price the Nationals likely aren't willing to match. But that's what the Winter Meetings are about, seeing what's available and what it might take to land those players.

We're meeting again with Rizzo at 3 p.m., so shortly thereafter expect an update on what else the Nationals have done today and what more they expect to accomplish before the meetings end tomorrow following the Rule 5 draft.

One final note, manager Davey Johnson is departing Dallas this afternoon, returning to his home in Winter Park, Fla.

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