DALLAS - Less than 24 hours ago, it appeared that the Nationals were done with their pursuit of free agent lefty C.J. Wilson, whose asking price of $120 million spread over six seasons seemed a little too rich for even the Nats’ deep wallets.
Now, according to a report by MLB Network Radio’s Jim Duquette - a former Orioles executive who still has strong contacts in the game and hosts a daily late-morning talk show on Siriux/XM - the Nationals have increased their contract offer to Wilson by adding a sixth year.
Keep in mind that these are the kind of reports that surface often during the Winter Meetings. Sometimes, it’s a legitimate effort to get the desired player, and Nats general manager Mike Rizzo has long coveted Wilson, a converted reliever who has become a stalwart starter, leading the Texas Rangers to two World Series.
However, it could just as easily be some posturing by an agent who has someone’s ear, a ploy to up the ante for other potential suitors. Remember, money drives the baseball bus, makes clients happy and gives representatives a bigger cut in the long run.
In his media briefing with reporters this afternoon, Rizzo seemed more focused on the other - seemingly more affordable - guys who lead the free agent pitching class: lefty Mark Buehrle and righty Roy Oswalt. Now, it’s anyone’s guess which pitcher, if any, the Nationals will land - and how much they might be willing to pay.
Over the weekend, I dissected the potential problems with each of the free agent pitchers the Nationals were interested in.
Update: The Nationals, through multiple team sources, are denying that they have offered Wilson a sixth year. ESPN and Sirius/XM’s Jim Bowden, who was formerly the team’s general manager, tweeted this denial, quoting Rizzo.