Last week, I wrote that, of all of the hypothetical center field prospects the Nationals might consider, the longest shot was probably soon-to-be 39-year-old veteran Mike Cameron.
So, of course, the Nats signed Cameron.
Seriously, I wouldn't get too excited about it. It's a minor league contract, and if he doesn't show much during spring training, it's adios Mr. Mike. It's possible that they're only looking at him as a spare outfielder/pinch hitter, but it's just as feasible that they see him as an insurance policy if Bryce Harper doesn't make the opening day roster. It's not much of a gamble, quite frankly, and if he has one last blast of competence, better it happens in a Washington uniform.
I also wrote recently that, in my opinion, it's silly to attach the "cheap" charge to the Nationals inasmuch as no one really knows how much any team spends on player development. Simply looking at the big league player payroll is only part of the picture. Someone wrote in suggesting that most clubs probably spend about the same amount on player development. All I know is this: I've spoken with dozens of big league scouts over the past three decades, most of whom have worked for multiple clubs. I'll respect their confidences, but I can say many have described wide disparities in player development expenditures from one franchise to another. None quoted specific figures, but they could tell simply through observation.
Today, the Nationals claimed third baseman Carlos Rivero off waivers from Philadelphia. Rivero is a six-year minor league veteran from Venezuela who signed originally with Cleveland. He'll be 24 in May, and has only played 7 games above Double-A. He was placed on the big league roster, but I really don't think you'll see him at Nationals Park anytime soon.
Can the Nats pull off a trade for Oakland's Gio Gonzalez? It would likely be a three- or four-for-one type of deal, and given what San Diego got for Mat Latos, we're probably looking at Washington giving up some pretty high-ceiling guys.
Hopefully, everyone will have a grand holiday season. Be careful out there.