At the Winter Meetings a year ago, the Nationals made headlines by announcing the signing of free agent Jayson Werth to a huge contract the evening before the meetings actually commenced. Might they do something like that again?
I wouldn't bet against it.
For the past several weeks, we've all been hearing the same rumors that the Nats were focused on another starting pitcher. First it was Roy Oswalt, then Mark Buehrle. Now, it's apparently C.J. Wilson. Truthfully, it may be none of those guys, or maybe it was really all of those guys. Bottom line, a lot of baseball people I've spoken with think the Nationals would be OK starting the year with the same group that finished last year - but everyone can use another top of the rotation guy.
Lately it seems, to me anyway, that their biggest priority this offseason is an everyday center fielder. A player who would most likely come in a trade. The names are obvious: B.J. Upton, Brett Gardner, Peter Bourjos, Torii Hunter and Colby Rasmus. I'll even throw in Juan Pierre, just for the heck of it. These names represent players who might be readily available, as opposed to Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen, for instance.
I'm girding myself for a very active 2011 Winter Meetings, but not just for the Nationals. I think some of the bigger free agents may accept offers this week - if they haven't already.
Let's also not forget that on Monday morning at 11 a.m. the Golden Era Committee of the Hall of Fame will announce their results. There are 10 names on their ballot, including ex-Senators Jim Kaat (1959-60) and Minnie Minoso (1963). While neither man's plaque would feature a "W" on the cap, it would have the magic word "Washington" listed among the teams each played for.
Hopefully, we'll all have a lot to talk about as soon as tomorrow evening.