LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals are a team generating a bunch of chatter in the lobby here at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, with a few players being discussed by various teams as potential trade targets.
Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday that the Nationals are shopping Danny Espinosa, and while there are teams that have had conversations with the Nats about Espinosa, I’ve been told that general manager Mike Rizzo is not actively looking to deal the 26-year-old infielder.
As one source told me, “shopping” is not the right term. The Nats might be listening to what other clubs have to offer in a potential Espinosa deal, but they’re not the ones pushing these conversations.
Despite Espinosa’s disastrous 2013 season, Rizzo still holds him in very high regard, and a source with knowledge of the Nats’ thinking on Espinosa reiterated the message that the team won’t sell low on a player they feel can help them in 2014.
Rizzo said yesterday that he envisions Espinosa as the Nats’ reserve middle infielder, a guy that can back up at second base, shortstop and even third base.
Meanwhile, a number of teams continue to contact the Nats on relievers Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, but the Nats have been “underwhelmed” by they’ve heard from teams involving those players to this point, per a source.
Clippard and Storen are attractive to multiple teams because of their experience in a closing role (Clippard saved 32 games in 2012 and Storen has 55 career saves, 43 of which came in 2011), multiple years of team control and modest price tag.
Clippard won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season and will likely make around $6 million through arbitration this season, which is high for a set-up guy but relatively cheap for a closer. Storen is under team control through the 2016 season and should make between $3-4 million this season, which obviously makes him attractive to teams in need of a closer.
Meanwhile, here’s a somewhat random nugget that I picked up in a conversation with an Astros official: The Astros were interested in acquiring Steve Lombardozzi from the Nationals before the 25-year-old utility infielder was traded to Detroit as part of the package that brought the Nats Doug Fister last week.
Former Nats third base coach and current Astros manager Bo Porter apparently really likes Lombardozzi’s skillset and had hoped to bring him to Houston, but that ship has likely sailed now that Lombardozzi is in Detroit.
Reporters are scheduled to meet with Matt Williams at 2 p.m. this afternoon, so I’ll have plenty from the Nats skipper coming up in a bit.