It will not surprise me if the Nationals end up as Prince Fielder's eventual landing spot. Keep in mind that the negotiations with Jayson Werth last winter were kept under wraps, with only general manager Mike Rizzo and owner Mark Lerner in the loop. I know that Fielder and agent Scott Boras met with Rizzo and Lerner on their recent tour, and today Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricort reported that Washington was the new favorite to sign the big first baseman. I don't see Fielder getting anything close to a 10-year deal, however.
I wouldn't be surprised if veteran lefty John Lannan ends up in some other team's uniform by opening day. The ballclub likes Lannan, but I suspect they like Ross Detwiler's stuff a little more. Lannan has made 128 big league starts and has an even 4.00 ERA in 751 innings. He reminds me of former major league left-hander - and South Dakota's gift to baseball - Floyd Bannister, who pitched all or part of 15 big league seasons Guys like that are always in demand. Lannan is a particular favorite of my wife since they both hail from the same general area of Long Island, so she's not going to be happy if he's traded, but I doubt that's going to be much of a consideration.
I wouldn't be surprised if the 2012 Nationals finish with a win total near 90. The starting rotation looks pretty solid and the bullpen may actually be better than it was last year. Offensively, they have to be better with everyone healthy. D.C. was a rockin' place in 1969 when the Senators won 86 games, and in 2005 when the Nationals contended for much of their inaugural season, which brings me to a final point.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the 2012 Nationals set a new attendance record. Winning puts butts in seats, and to break the existing record - 2,731,993 tickets were sold in '05 - should be within reach. A start similar to what they pulled off in '05 wouldn't hurt either.
I won't be surprised if some if the 2012 preseason baseball publications pick the Nationals as a wild card participant this year. Club executives believe the club is ready to win now, and a lot of scribes nationally are buying into it.
Happy new year.