Zimmerman Winks at Nats Seductively as He Slips Them His Numbers

My God, the Nationals Twitterverse is like a Salvador Dali painting right now. It is almost surrealistic, dripping with rumor, speculation and the Princess Bride. Oh yeah, and Prince Fielder.

But among all the insanity there is solid news and the big Nats story today was All-Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has exchanged numbers with the Nationals. For the first time Zimmerman has slipped some numbers across the table to the Nationals to make it known what he would accept in terms of an extension with the team. Zimmerman becomes a free agent at the end of 2013.

It is unknown what Zimmerman’s demands are but if they aren’t met Zimmerman has swore to continue the blockade of Charleston and would turn his armada’s cannons on the city itself. However, conversations are…

No, wait. Zimmerman isn’t blockading Charleston. That was Blackbeard. Sorry. But no one knows what Zimmerman demanded. Conversations are fluid and a deal is “within reach” says sources. Fluid conversations. Now that could get ugly.

The last time I had a fluid conversation it ended up on my shoes and the bar room floor and no one would dance with me.

Nats Talk Zimmerman Extension… OMG, ALL HOPE IS LOST FOR PRINCE FIELDER!

I am not sure if I have been given clearance to believe this or not, but I am going to go with it anyway–

“The Rocket” Bill Ladson reports that the Nationals and All-Star, Gold Glover third baseman Ryan Zimmerman have been in talks about a contract extension. Two sources tell Ladson that the Nationals and Zimmerman’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, have had discussions, but it is unknown what the atmosphere in those discussions were like.

Zimmerman, Van Wagenen and General Manager Mike Rizzo were not available for comment which is just so hunky-dory for them.

Hooray! Finally! Zimmerman contract extension talks. This news should have been more than enough to light a powder keg of pixie dust, bunny rabbits, sweet sex and good cheer over Natstown– BUT– no. It seems a good portion of the fan base see Zimmerman extension talks taking place at this time is a sure sign of the End of Days on the Nationals pursuing free agent first baseman Prince Fielder– meaning they believe the Nats have signaled they WILL NOT be signing Prince Fielder.

………..?

I just don’t know where people come up with this stuff. I mean, I am a crabby, pessimistic, (attractive) jerk-off with a blog, but not even I put two-and-two together like this. Where is this coming from? Why do people suddenly believe this?

First off, they are only talking. Talking. That means nothing. It doesn’t mean Ryan Zimmerman will be getting an extension tomorrow or next week or three months from now. They have nearly two years to get an extension done. People argue that dragging it out this long will have bad effects on Zimmerman. If you have Zimmerman saying things like this:

“I said from the beginning that I want to be here my entire career,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a place where I’ve obviously grown up. I’ve learned a lot of things here. I’ve had a lot of great memories here. I’ve been here through the times when it wasn’t nice to be a National, when people didn’t want to come to D.C. Now, I’m here [when] we are starting to become a viable team and people are starting to consider coming here every year.

 

“I want to be here when we go from a team that makes the playoffs … to ultimately winning a world championship. … [I want to be] in the middle of the field with a World Series trophy, which is my ultimate goal.”

…then I don’t think you have to worry too much. They’ll get it done in their own time. It will run its course to the benefit of him and the team. Unless you truly believe a Zimmerman extension is coming in the next month or so, I don’t see how this would scare the Nationals off of Fielder.

Personally, I think it is nervous jitters. It is understandable. This team has never been so close to the prize and unfortunately the fan base is used to disappointment. People are waiting on the conclusion of this off season drama and are expecting the worst to fall upon them and the team at anytime.

It is sort of like that guy in the movie Highlander where he thought he was the toughest sh*t in the world with paper clips in his neck but then he falls through a window and gets his head sliced off by a Scotsman.

I hate it when that happens.

Could the Nationals Throw in With the Mets During Spring Training?

This little tip off came from Rich The Mets Fan down in Florida…

The New York Mets are in a mad rush to put the finishing touches on some upgrades to their Spring Training facility, Digital Domain Park, in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Seat upgrades are being added, concrete is being poured and everything seems on schedule despite they are pulling the trigger on all this pretty close to their March 5th opening, but things are expected to be done. They’ve also recently signed on to stay at DDP until 2023, extending their lease from 2018 thanks to the $2.5 million renovations.

What does this all mean?

Nothing really, except it seems the Mets have approached two teams to see if they would be interested in moving in with the Mets at Port St. Lucie. With stadium upgrades finishing, you might as well go fishing while the waters are still warm. While it is unknown which two teams the Mets approached, it isn’t that hard to deduce that the Nationals are probably one of them since Washington is also in the process of looking for new Spring Training digs and are the lynchpin keeping Grapefruit League baseball alive on Florida’s eastern coast.

Could it work? Of course it could. Benefits are the cost would be much lower than trying to get a new ST facility built somewhere, travel time for the team to other opponents would be cut down, the Nationals would have a constant opponent for their Major League team and minor league camp and it would keep the Nationals on the East Coast, in Florida and in the Grapefruit League.

Having my ass thrown out of Digital Domain Park before, it is a nice park, but has some sketchy parking and fans lose a little bit of accessibility to the players with how the Park is built. It is a giant, concrete super structure, sort of like The Diamond in Richmond, but not as drab. It isn’t perfect and it is the Mets, but they could do worse. The Nationals need to seriously keep their Spring Training in Florida and not do something as stupid as alienate your fan base from the team by moving them out to some hole in the middle of the desert on the West Coast.

For now 2012 Nationals Spring Training will be in Viera. If the Nats and Mets do decide to go in on such a venture they would have to announce something by mid-summer at the latest in order for the logistics of such an alliance to work the following season so there is plenty of time to make something like this work.

A partnership between the Mets and the Nats. Lordy! Never thought it would ever be feasible. It is like inviting a torch to a AA-Meeting for barrels of leaking oil and gasoline.

Nats Have A Couple Of Huckleberries

Greetings readers of fine Inner-Netting blog rot. I am hoping you found your three-day holiday weekend restful and full of joy and happiness.

Sadly, mine was not. Life threw your friend Dangernat some off speed sh*t, some of which has seriously jeopardized the NQ Spring Training plans. I’m still trying to figure things out, but I will keep you informed. It would suck to have to miss ST for the first time in five years, but men have to do what they have to do to survive.

So the weekend was spent wallowing in pits of degradation and all sorts of unmentionable fun that most baseball writers take part in when suffering from a case of bored. The January Off Season is the worst.

So what happened over the weekend?

Let’s get it out of the way: free agent first baseman Prince Fielder is still not signed and will not until after Wednesday. That is because the Texas Rangers have until Wednesday to sign Japanese stud pitcher Yu Darvish. The plot of this drama is simple: if Texas signs Darvish, they will be out on Prince Fielder and the Nationals truly become the #1 landing spot for the big guy. If they fail to sign Darvish, Prince will be a Texas Ranger. Simple as that. I know it sucks the Nationals 2012 season is actually in the hands of another team and it isn’t the rosiest of outlooks, but it is what it is. What would you choose? A team with on-paper potential or a team one out away from World Series victory? I expect by Friday the latest we’ll see Pot-O-Fielder heating up on the stove.

Somehow, someway all the Fielder talk coupled with the fact the Nationals extended pitcher Gio Gonzalez’s contract, five years/$42 million w/options (largest contract for a pitcher eligible for arbitration for the first time) and avoided arbitration with catcher Jesus Flores, has all lead up to the continued harping on getting third baseman Ryan Zimmerman an extension and now certain writers are even calling for a contract extension for Michael Morse– but not both, never both, signing Fielder AND extending the contracts.

Look, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: whatever happens in the coming weeks is just as much a test for the Nationals FO and ownership than it is a test for the players getting on that field and getting to the playoffs. This either-or horse crap is ridiculous and nothing but the media stirring up drama. If it really comes down to choosing Michael Morse or Prince Fielder then that is a no-brainer- good-bye Michael Morse. The Nationals and Zimmerman have nearly two more years to get an extension done. Why the absolute rush? So Zimmerman’s feelings won’t get hurt? Give me a break.

January Off Season sucks so bad…

So the Nationals have a couple of huckleberries. Right now they are doing something similar to that scene from Tombstone above. Zimmerman is Ringo, drunk and deranged in total confusion over his contract wanting to go at it with the Wyatt clan which consists of Michael Morse, Gio Gonzalez and we’ll say Ted Lerner. Then of course there is, Prince Fielder looking all suave, going Doc Holliday on everyone.

“I’m your Huckleberry.” Yes you are, Prince, yes you are. Now where you going to have a shoot out?

Washington or Texas?

YOUR NATIONALS DISPATCH: Trust No One Edition

I gotta tell you, I learn something new everyday that I write on this blog. Most consider baseball blogging some sort of fan boy hobby to waste time and pick up chicks, but no: you can honestly learn some things.

Take yesterday when Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson posted that there is a “99 percent” chance that the Nationals will not sign free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, according to a source.” I sort of half-jokingly made the mistake of agreeing with Ladson and plugged a few LaRoche jokes here in there on Twitter. Well, my feed exploded and after the wildfires on my keyboard claimed my fiingers and arm hair, I was left with the shocking revelation that close to 90% of you don’t believe anything that Bill Ladson writes, especially if you don’t like the news.

That is astounding to me. If 90% of people didn’t believe in my work at my job I would be fired. And if you don’t believe the Nats Beat Writer then who do whose reports do you actually believe? I can give ups and downs to all Nats writers and bloggers, but I finally came to the conclusion that Nats fans, currently, just don’t trust anyone and believe nothing that is written. This makes things hard because I am presenting to you now–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

So Of Course The Lerners Meet Scott Boras For A Second Date – Nationals owners Ted and Mark Lerner met with Scott Boras in Arizona last night and while the details of the conversation are unknown, it is safe to assume it was probably about the guy the Nats have a “99% of not signing.”

So of course everyone believes in this and that in due time Prince Fielder with a snow white beard and a sack of home runs will be squeezing himself down their chimneys. Posturing. A whole load of posturing not seen seen Mike Rizzo tried modeling a men’s line of Victoria Secret (never happened) is going on. Which means SOMETHING MIGHT be going on behind the scenes- we just have to sit tight and wait it out. Oh joy.

Chances Are Coffey Will Not Drink The Nats Again – Reliever Todd Coffey is still deciding where he is going to pitch in 2012 and right now it is looking like there is less than a 50% chance he will return to the Washington Nationals. The tubby, fast-running mound burner has interest from several teams including the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers.

This is also reported by Bill Ladson. Am I allowed to believe this?

Nationals Putting the Tommy John Leash On Strasburg – Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg had a nice return from Tommy John surgery in 2011 and will be looking to build on that in 2012, but unfortunately he won’t be fully unleashed: the Nationals are going to have him run to 160-innings like they did with Jordan Zimmermann when he returned from the same pesky surgery.

This will no doubt begin the debates on whether or not Strasburg should be Opening Day Starter. The answer is, of course, yes, but with all the recent off season activity and the potential to actually build a roster that has a chance to contend for at the very least a wild card spot– I might rethink that opinion. He will be needed late in the season if it comes to that. But that image of the Nationals most powerful weapon standing on that 2012 Opening Day mound ready to get the show on the road is highly tempting– and profitable.

Will The Mets Hate Willie Harris Again? – Also from Bill Ladson– oh boy– the Nationals have not totally eliminated the idea of bringing back super-utility man Willie Harris back into the fold for a bench role. Harris spent three seasons with the Nationals and gained some popularity as a guy who could play multiple positions off the bench and for making some stupendous plays in the outfield, especially against the Mets for whatever reason.

I can’t say this guy has a lot left in the tank, but signing him to a bench role? Worse things could be done. I’d definitely give the green light on this idea if the Mets really needed to hate Willie Harris again, but it looks like New York is going to hate themselves enough that the Nats won’t need Harris to fill that role.

And that– if you trust or not– is Your Nationals Dispatch.

Nats Still Flirting with Brewer Formally Known and Still Known as Prince

All of yesterday anything that came over the Nationals Inquisition Twitter feed came to you live from a deer stand in the middle of the woods. It was a shameless use of technology, but yesterday was the last day I could spend a full day in the woods before hunting season ends. I thought it kind of cool, kind of manly to be sitting there in a tree with a 30-30 and tweeting baseball. Look how far we have come in society.

I spent all day in the woods, came home, had a steak dinner, took a shower, fixed a couple drinks, made love to my woman and then hit the sack (not exactly in that order). Damn, that is manly. I think in 2012 everything is going to be more manly or “princely” around here. That is why I am wearing more flannel and giving up my crochet.

It looks like the Nationals are trying to be a bit more princely too. Mainly, somehow, while I was in a tree watching scattered snow flurries and two stray hunting dogs humping on the property, the Nationals became the number one destination for free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel delivered that tid-bit of information that sent Natstown into a tizzy and Mark Zuckerman into poopy-pants mode by saying if the Nationals sign Fielder there is no way they are ever going to extend Zimmerman or resign Zimmermann, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg or pay for the air that inhabits Nationals Park.

Hmm, the fear of Mark Zuckerman or the fear of Prince Fielder putting 30+ home runs over Nationals Park walls a year…hmm. Tough one, but I’ll go with Fielder still. The guy plays 162 games a year, he can mash, has a big name and would completely change the chemistry of the NL East as well as the team dynamic. You can’t tell me Zimmerman and Werth would not benefit from having that big gun hitting around them. Add on the fact that Morse could stay in the outfield and the Nationals can keep his bat and Fielder’s in the line up at the same time– daaaaamn that is scary and Fielder has years left in the tank too.

The snag for everyone is contract and money which obviously plays a role in these sorts of things but the Nationals have the richest owner in baseball who is getting on in his years and would probably like nothing more than a championship team in D.C. before he goes dust in the wind on us. If the Lerners are serious, they get it done. Naive and simple, but true. This is as much about them as it is about GM Mike Rizzo and his talent evaluations.

I’m not going to get in an uproar about this right now. It is just a rumor from some guy named Tom Haudricourt (that I got in a tree), this is probably the most popular Haudricourt has ever been and he got it from one of our favorite sources “an unnamed MLB official.” Too much drama going on and manly, princely men don’t concern themselves with drama.

Drama is for llamas, mamas and Kabuki theater. And Felipe Lopez.

Adam LaRoche is First Baseman Even Against Spongebob

Just when you think the rumors the Washington Nationals are truly not interested in free agent first baseman Prince Fielder someone blows it and starts the rumor mill again. This time it was Jon Heyman who tweeted that he talked to a Nationals player who says the Nats are still in on Fielder.

Absolutely bizarre a player totally going over GM Mike Rizzo’s Tommy Bahama shirt and making such statements. I am willing to bet it was Jayson Werth because, you know, he knows what it takes to win and that is all he is going to say on that. Or it could be Heyman just being bored and rehashing the Gio Gonzalez/Bryce Harper tweets as his own.

Whatever the case, Adam LaRoche remains at this point the Nationals 2012 starting first baseman and it is probably going to stay that way because Mike Rizzo has something against getting a player that might actually lower the boom on the NL East in the Nationals favor for years to come. I know, right? We can’t have things making too much sense in Washington.

I say this with confidence because recently a young nephew came up to the NQ Lodge and brought a video game called Nicktoons MLB where Major League ballplayers mingle and play with Nickelodeon cartoon stars such as Ren & Stimpy, Invader Zim and Spongebob Squarepants. All 30 teams are represented, including the Nationals and here are a few screenshots of some Nats and their video game images. Adam LaRoche plays first base.

Here is third baseman Ryan Zimmerman stepping to the plate in Bikini Bottom Stadium. He wears shades when he plays the field.

Video game Jayson Werth has a better beard than the real Jayson Werth.

I am pretty sure Pudge is the Nats catcher in the game, but I am unsure because I didn’t get that far in the line-up. The game’s graphics are so-so, the play control is kind of horrible and my patience wore thin.

Plus I couldn’t blow anything up.

Yu FAIL

Adam Kilgore of the Nationals Journal of the Washington Post of Washington D.C. broke the news that we all don’t want to hear, but really in our hearts of hearts knew to be true: the Washington Nationals did not put a bid in on stud Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Nope, not one bid. Not a single penny. Not even a petty attempt to even insult the guy with a blatant “nothing to lose” bid that had no hope of winning. They didn’t even try. Bill Ladson confirms this.

Absolutely lame.

It isn’t losing Darvish that is so mind-numbing infuriating. Japanese pitchers are hit or miss (mostly miss) and paying over $50 million just to talk to the guy? Would you pay $100 just to give your order at a McDonalds drive-thru? I didn’t think so. No, what really is piss on my boots about all this is the Nationals continued inability to really do anything to remain progressive in the off season into 2012. That September 2011 good will and momentum has already been crushed by stagnation. GM Mike Rizzo preaches that they are open to all ideas and will pay for their needs when they discover them. Well, Nats need a starting pitcher. What was Mark Buerhle? What was Yu Darvish? Why aren’t you paying for your needs, Rizzo?

They didn’t even try so they could pretend they did. The chimps are beginning to throw the poo on the wall for the whole world to see now and they are not even hiding it anymore. If maintaining silence about bidding and the process is seen as some sort of shield from telling other teams what the Nationals are up to and what kind of organization Washington is, then I wonder what they are getting from the Nationals complete lack of seeming to want to do anything but go into 2012 with nearly the same 2011 roster.

But here is some news the Nats and Rizzo hope will make you happy, that will hopefully make up for the disaster this off season has been thus far: they signed reliever Jeff Fulchino to some unique split contract that no one seems to know anything about. Fulchino had a 16.20 ERA last season if I am reading Baseball-Reference right and sometimes has a lush red beard growing.

Perfect signing for these Nationals. Bottom-of-the-barrel signing, cheap and has a possible beard that can be written about constantly with beard updates, probably led by the soon to be created @JFulchsBeard twitter handle.

I can’t wait for Spring Training.

Yu Darvish Is Deep

I’m not sure what he was initially looking for, but one of my staff members sent me a link to what looks like Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish’s blog and boy, it looks deep. Of course, I don’t know any of what it says because I’m slightly ignorant and I am all not Japanese. But that blog header is golden. That is just King of All Blog Headers. Baseball players in America with blogs and websites usually pimp theirs out to look like rocket ships and fake bling. Yu nails this blogging thing down to the very essense of the profession.

“Thoughts of Yu.” Freaking deep, man. Great photo of him either stealing someone’s soul or eating an invisible apple.

If you don’t know already, Darvish is the most recent International pitcher that is making waves the world over and he will be looking to stake some claim in Major League Baseball of America very soon. He is posting tomorrow I believe and that will create a bidding war just to get the chance to deal with him and then on top of that, a deal itself to the lucky team that will probably be spending over $100 million for his services that aren’t Uncle Sam tested.

Rumors are the Nationals might be players for Darvish and that GM Mike Rizzo and the Think Tank have already scouted him and are possibly prepared to offer him a deal and woo him. Many in Natstown are hoping the Nats make a try for him after completely planking at the Winter Meetings in Dallas.

While we are sitting in the willow tree forest next to a golden, bubbling brook in peace and meditation thinking “thoughts of Yu,” here is what I believe:

So what you are saying is the Nationals and Mike Rizzo, who weren’t able to claim anything off their Winter Meetings shopping list, who are in desperate need of a first baseman yet are not pursuing a highly attractive Prince Fielder, who low balled their number one target, who just upped a contract for Tom Gorzelanny– are all of a sudden going to get in a bidding war and spend millions of dollars just to talk to a Japanese pitcher who has his own line of perfumes and/or colognes and then on top of that divvy up a multi-million dollar contract when he has never faced a MLB line-up before?

Those Nationals?

Yeah, that is what I thought.

*For more devilishy delicious Darvish, visit his official website at http://darvish-yu.jp/

The Nationals First Base Situation Is Getting Interesting

Bill Ladson TWEETS that Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero will not be ready for the start of Spring Training due to tearing his left hamstring while playing for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Winter League– almost two weeks ago.

That seems to be news we and the team would kind of would want to know.

This all but guarantees that Adam LaRoche will be Opening Day first baseman, but the recent news the Nationals were heavily wooing free agent Prince Fielder and now Mark DeRosa suggests that there isn’t much faith that LaRoche has enough left in the tank and that his time in D.C. is close to its finale. There has been an out pour of support for Michael Morse at the position, but that is putting a lot of eggs in the basket of whether Morse can duplicate his 2011 season. If he can then it is imperative his bat stays in the line up and the Nationals try to find another first base power bat to only make the line up more dangerous. Morse, until further notice, is a first baseman.

Marrero batted 248/.274/.294 with five doubles, 10 RBI and a .567 OPS over 117 plate appearances in 2011 for the Nats. Marrero denies reports he will miss the whole season but admits he will miss part of Spring Training to make sure he is 100%.

I am surprised anything “tore” on Marrero. The kid is built like a bull. The news sucks because Marrero would no doubt want the chance to continue to show he belongs and even if he isn’t ultimately in the final plans of the Nationals, having him active on a field somewhere only puts him on display for possible trades.

So the first base drama has gotten a little more interesting. I admit, it might get downright entertaining. All we need is a spool of barbed wire, a cage and get all the candidates together for one big death match.