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Steven J Berke
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I'm a little surprised as a Nats fan that the Nats are reported in the hunt for Wagner. Closer is a need but not the most urgent one considering the Nats likely being a noncontender next year. I also think the Nats are going to zealously guard that top second-round draft pick, so I just can't see them signing an A player who has been offered arbitration; we'll see what their interest is after December 1. As for McDougal, I don't think he would be shifted to setup man because of the likelihood that Drew Storen will start the season in that role, and might become the closer later in the season or in 2011 (another reason I am surprised at the reported interest in Wagner).
I would very much like to see him in the Nationals' rotation next year. Don't think the Nats would pay eight figures for him, but high seven is not out of the question, and for two or maybe three years.
"Nats would gladly swap Christian Guzman for any of the starters with expiring contracts." I wouldn't go that far, especially since Mike Rizzo not Jim Bowden is now Nats GM. Lohse, maybe (though 3 years might be a bit much for the Lerners). Robertson, maybe. The Nats might have interest in Cordero, Suppan, or Moyer, but would the Reds, Brewers or Phils have any interest in Guzman?
Of course, for those teams not listed, while their first-round pick is protected, they would have to give up a second-round pick if signing a Type A. Such teams might consider not only the player involved but where they are in the draft order. For teams like the Nationals, Orioles, Pirates, Royals or Dbacks, the second-round pick is still high enough to give pause; for a team like the Reds or White Sox, maybe not so much.
Boswell is blowing hot and cold, as he usually does on the Nats. I think there has been something of a sea change in the Lerners' thinking, especially since Bowden was dismissed--JimBo apparently had them convinced they could generate a pennant contender on the cheap. I think they have learned otherwise and are not going to be content with losing teams and profits. This is indicated by the offer to Texiera, the Dunn signing, the long-term contract for Ryan Zimmerman. Two years ago, the Lerners passed on veteran pitchers like Jason Marquis or Gil Meche--exactly the type of pitcher Mike Rizzo now says the team needs to and will be looking to sign. If they do, things will indeed be very different than a year or two ago.
I can't agree with those who think the Nats will let Guzman go to the Sox for nothing just to dump his salary (and wonder how many are Sox fans indulging in wishful thinking) I would point out that 1) the Nats, even with the Dunn signing and the Ryan Zimmerman contract, still have one of the lowest payrolls in MLB); 2) the Nats reportedly made $42 million in profit last year, and 3) when the Nats traded Nick Johnson ten days ago, they agreed to pick up the rest of Johnson's salary this year if they got the prospect they wanted--hardly the sign of an organization that puts saving money above building the organization. Sorry, Sox Nation. If you want Guz, you're going to have to give up a prospect or two.
Besides Colletti, there are two possible candidates with ties to the Dodgers: his predecessor Paul DePodesta (now IIRC a consultant with the Padres) and current assistant GM Kim Ng (who was passed over for the Dodger job when DePodesta was fired). Ng, of course, would be a history-making choice and I still think DePodesta got a raw deal.