The Nationals are not actively pursuing Carl Pavano, the top starting pitcher left on the free agent market, according to multiple team sources.
General manager Mike Rizzo spoke with Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, about the pitcher last month, but sources said the Nationals are not seriously discussing the pitcher internally. The 35-year-old Pavano is seeking a three-year deal, and the Nationals are not willing to meet that price. And unless Pavano's price dropped, it's unlikely he will end up in Washington.
Pavano went 17-11 with Minnesota last season, and the Twins have reportedly stepped up their pursuit of the right-hander this week. The Nationals could sign another pitcher, like former Rockies starter Jeff Francis, or pursue a trade for Tampa Bay's Matt Garza, but they could also go into the 2011 season with the pitchers on their roster. Though team officials know the Nationals will not have anything close to their ideal rotation until Stephen Strasburg returns from Tommy John surgery, they are hopeful the rotation will pitch better than last year, with Jordan Zimmermann returning to full strength and John Lannan staying consistent through the entire season.
(A footnote: I wrote the other day that the team was still in play for Pavano, and while they had expressed interest earlier this offseason, multiple team sources said yesterday they are not actively discussing Pavano. I know I'm contradicting myself, but sometimes in this business, you find out new information that contradicts what you'd previously reported.)