November 2010

Nats have interest in Jorge de la Rosa

Add the Nationals to the list of teams who have interest in free-agent left-hander Jorge de la Rosa, according to a baseball source.  

Last season, de la Rosa missed most of the first half because of a finger injury, but he still went 8-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 20 starts for the Rockies. He also had 113 strikeouts in 121 innings. Even more impressive was that he allowed three runs or fewer in 13 of his last 14 starts.

de la Rosa’s best season was in 2009, when he went 16-9 with a 4.38 ERA for Colorado and that was after starting the season 0-6. He also struck out 193 batters in 185 innings.

de La Rosa is a person that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is familiar with. It was Rizzo, then a scouting director for the D-backs, who signed de la Rosa to his first professional contract in 1998.

Rizzo was not available for comment.

Besides having three stints in the D-Backs’ organization, de la Rosa also spent time with the Red Sox, Brewers, Royals and Monterrey of the Mexican League before finding a home with the Rockies.

If he signs with the Nationals, de la Rosa would likely be near the top of the rotation. 

The Nationals are also in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, but a baseball source said the club would not get into a bidding war like it did with first baseman Mark Teixeira after the 2008 season. Washington offered Teixeira the most money, but he decided to sign with the Yankees instead.

During the uniform unveiling on Wednesday, Rizzo told the local media that he was not going to put “all of his eggs” on Cliff Lee. He indicated there were other pitchers he is looking to acquire this offseason.

“We have to take each case individually. We are going to be very realistic on our chances to sign Cliff Lee,” Rizzo said Wednesday. “We are going to speak to him and his representative and see where it takes us. We are certainly not going to put our eggs with the Lee basket because we are going to be one of many people trying to acquire his services.

“But we have other irons in the fire. We have a lot of other decisions to make and a lot of other people to talk to. We are going to make a prudent baseball move via free agency or trade. But we are certainly not going to make a move [just to make a move].”

Bisenius becomes free agent

The Nationals have secured outright waivers on reliever Joe Bisenius, who elected to become a free agent, the team announced Thursday.

The Nationals bragged about his fastball, which was clocked as high as 95 miles per hour. But he wasn’t given much of a chance when he was called up in September.

Bisenius appeared in five games for Washington and allowed five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Twitter Poll: Who should replace Dunn?

On Thursday, I asked my Twitter followers this question: If the Nats don’t re-sign Adam Dunn, who should play first base for them in 2011?  Here is what some of the followers had to say. Some of the answers are hilarious.    

@CurlyWashington: Michael Morse. He is a natural infielder who can hit for average and power with enough playing time. It will open right field for Bryce Harper.

@Nationalsreview: Don Mattingly circa 1986. Why? OPS, his glove and his mustache. If they can’t get the 1986 Donnie Baseball, then Russell Branyan with a mustache.

@Jeffrey_Bergin: I would try a one-year incentive-based deal on Derrek Lee for $5 million.  

@TheSullyDC: No shot at signing a good first baseman. Get Derek Norris up there as soon as possible.  

@nat_meg: Me. I’ll do it — and on the cheap, too.

@22qnf1: Adam LaRoche. He’s a consistent hitter and pretty good defensive first baseman. Plus he won’t’ break the bank either.

@TheSeanWyatt: Bryce Harper. Just because …  

@jcj5y: So many variables are in play, but I’d put Morse at 1B, buy a cheap, defense-oriented outfielder and spend on pitching.

@natsreportjon: Not Carlos Pena because he is obviously on the downside of his career and has a negative  UZR.

@JackoBeam:  I agree with @natsreportjon.  But if not Pena, who else? A no-win situation

@CDublin: Carlos Pena because I’m sick of having scrub young players at every position. We don’t have a good young first baseman.

@JFLANland: If we don’t re-sign Dunn, but somehow get Carl Crawford, Josh Willingham or Morse should play first. I would rather have Dunn and Crawford.

@CraigMac: I can. I can also guarantee that I’ll strike out at least  200 times. I’ll accept a three-year deal as well!

@NatsFanInUK: Platoon Morse and Jesus Flores at first base.   

@thebrowncoat: Mike Rizzo.

@cassander42: Who cares? Dunn is the best 1st baseman available. If the Nats don’t sign him, they don’t care about winning. Period.

@IBALLZACH: If trading isn’t an option, then probably Willingham or Morse. Free- agent wise, a guy like Lee or Aubrey Huff wouldn’t be too bad.

@autobits: LaRoche: He is a decent hitter and a solid defender. I wouldn’t mind Morse for the same reasons. I don’t want Pena, who is getting old fast.  

@Evolution33: Huff.

@szul: Assuming they don’t sign a replacement? Morse. Give the guy more  playing time to prove he’s an everyday player.

@gopherballs: Morse. He’s capable of handling the position and there isn’t a reason to sign a “big-name” guy. I also like LaRoche

@NatsEnquirer: Wil Nieves because who needs offense at first  base?

@R1cketyCr1cket: Make a trade for Adrian Gonzalez and sign him to a long-term contract. They should consider him in the same class as Mark Teixeira.

@DCyetti: Kevin Mench, because manager Jim Riggleman wants him around.

@Michael1Kelly: Morse.  

@ZachMyles: Willingham: He could hit the heck out of the ball, but Hammer doesn’t have range. The outfield should be Roger Bernadina, Nyjer Morgan and Morse.  

Listach leaving Nats for Cubs

The Nationals are in need of a third-base coach because Pat Listach is leaving the organization to become the bench coach of the Cubs, according to two baseball sources. An official announcement will be made after the World Series.

Listach, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Jim Riggleman were not available for comment. It’s not known who will replace Listach as Washington’s third-base coach. But one source said the new coach will come from outside the organization.    

Listach has a history with the Cubs, managing in the Cubs’ Minor League system for four seasons, going 253-221. His best season was in 2008, when he guided Triple-A Iowa to an 83-59 record, and he is still respected by the organization.

In August, Listach made it known that he would like to manage in the big leagues and the Cubs some day. However, he was told in early October that he was not being considered for the Cubs’ managerial position. The job eventually went to Mike Quade.          

This offseason, Listach is managing Ponce of the Puerto Rico Winter League.