The first wave of free agency is under way with the initial filings of 148 players, according to a press release from the players' union. Eight Nationals - well, now former Nationals - are on the list.
Right-handed reliever Todd Coffey, infielder Alex Cora, outfielders Jonny Gomes, Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel, catcher Ivan Rodriguez, and right-handed starters Livan Hernandez and Chien-Ming Wang have filed the paperwork necessary to test the market.
Of those, Wang is expected to re-sign with the Nationals since both sides have expressed mutual interest in an extension, though it will probably be laden with performance incentives. Wang wants to return to D.C., in part because of the patience the club showed while he rehabbed a shoulder injury for two years.
Ankiel might be welcomed back, but probably only as a fourth outfielder. The Nationals have committed to upgrade center field and would prefer a speedy leadoff hitter to man that position. Gomes could return as a pinch hitter and spare outfielder, as could Nix, though it's doubtful the Nats could carry both Nix and Ankiel, left-handed hitters.
Coffey probably did the most to enhance his profile after going 5-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 69 relief appearances, tied for third-most on the club. But he might be seeking a multi-year deal and the Nationals have options.
Cora, Rodriguez and Hernandez would like to return to Washington. General manager Mike Rizzo told reporters last week that he hadn't talked to Hernandez or Rodriguez since early in the offseason, an indication that he'd like to see what else is available before committing to two guys 35 and 39, respectively. At 35, Cora is in the same boat, but the Nationals like the fact that he can play all around the infield - and the fact that he's comfortable in a backup role.
The Nationals will maintain exclusive negotiating rights to those players until 12:01 a.m. Thursday, at which time they can sign with any major league club.
Notable ex-Nationals in the first wave of filings include Jason Marquis of the Diamondbacks, Ramon Ortiz of the Cubs, Jamey Carroll and Mike MacDougal of the Dodgers, Jerry Hairston Jr. of the Brewers, Miguel Batista and Willie Harris of the Mets, Luis Ayala of the Yankees, Josh Willingham of the A's, Brian Schneider of the Phillies, Endy Chavez of the Rangers, and Adam Kennedy, Wily Mo Pena and Josh Bard of the Mariners.
Follow Pete Kerzel on Twitter: @kerzelpete