The Nationals didn't come up with anyone, but it was otherwise a busy day on the free agent front.
Jon Garland signed with San Diego for less than $5 million, plus incentives. The Nationals were interested in the 10-year veteran righty, and money-wise were right there with the Padres. Garland, however, made it clear from the beginning that he wanted a West Coast address - he's a California native - and he based his decision on that.
Jim Thome signed with the Twins, a one year deal worth $1.5 million. I've always liked that guy, going back to when he came up with the Indians as a third baseman. He's a midwesterner to start with, so he'll have no issue with the cold weather in April at the new Target Field.
Ben Sheets signed with the A's, a one year deal worth $10 million. Whew. I did not see that coming. Even after his impressive workout in Monroe, LA, I figured he'd go somewhere for about half that much money, and a ton of incentives. The A's are also still talking with Johnny Damon, though he doesn't figure to get nearly as much - the A's are pretty much at their budget limit according to reports out of Oakland.
Rick Ankiel signed with the Royals the other day, and told reporters that it was down to the Marlins, Yankees, Nationals and KC at the end.
I just don't see where Ankiel would have had much of a role with Washington, unless there's some concern with Elijah Dukes' health. Ankiel had a pretty miserable year with the Cardinals in '09, thanks largely to a slow return from the DL after hitting the wall in May trying to make a catch. He's been installed as the everyday centerfielder with the Royals, replacing Mitch Maier.
Also signing today were Rich Hill with St. Louis, ex-Nat Ronnie Belliard re-signing with the Dodgers and Xavier Nady signing with the Cubs.
Still a lot of names out there. Stay tuned.