I've touched down in Orlando, site of this week's Winter Meetings, and I'm on my way to Walt Disney World, where the antics and make-believe that happen at this event every year should fit right in with what's going on at the rest of the park.
This is the third straight year I've covered the Winter Meetings, and while I'm not as sour on the whole thing as my cohort Roch Kubatko, it's probably because I haven't been there as many times as he has. It's a grueling, exhausting week, but I also think there's something exhilarating about it -- running around for three days and trying to separate fact from fiction. It's a lot like how I imagine a week goes at Disney World with a six-year-old.
All sarcasm aside, this is an important week for the Nationals. Their much-publicized pursuit of a No. 1 starter has, so far, only led to also-ran finishes for Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa (who resigned with the Rockies) and the Yankees' Javier Vazquez, who signed with the Marlins. They'll take a run at Cliff Lee, but in the likely event they don't get him, they'll have to decide whether it's worth overpaying for Minnesota's Carl Pavano or unloading prospects to get Tampa Bay's Matt Garza or Kansas City's Zack Greinke.
Besides the pursuit of a pitcher, the Nationals need to figure out how they're replacing Adam Dunn. I expect them to ramp up their pursuit of Carlos Pena this week, and when Scott Boras eventually turns up, I'll let you know what he has to say about his client (a quick preview: he'll say there's interest from multiple teams, talk up Pena's skills and offer little substance). Adam LaRoche is another option for the Nationals, and Derrek Lee is still on the market. So is Paul Konerko, for now. But miss on all those players, and the Nationals will have to pursue more exotic options.
It's not all just rumors, though. Jim Riggleman will speak to the media at some point, and reporters will meet daily with Mike Rizzo. And we;ll have all of it covered here. To my knowledge, we've got four reporters and a videographer on the ground this week in Orlando, so we'll be blowing it out from Monday to Thursday. Check back often, and follow me on Twitter for more updates.
Now, if I can find a place to watch Packers-49ers before all the antics get started in the morning, I'll be a happy camper.