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Winter Meetings Rumors: N.L. East

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Winter Meetings Rumors: N.L. East

Washington Nationals

Once again the Nationals are the subject of tons of rumors in the offseason and now they are focused on their need for another starting pitcher. Two players in particular have been linked to the Nats. A trade for James Shields of the Rays was discussed according to Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman, but the teams aren’t close to a deal at the moment. The Rays wanted both Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa, two starters on the team’s 2012 team that won 98 games. Shields went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA through 227 2/3 innings in 2012. 

The Nats have also been linked to free agent right-hander Mike Pelfrey who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Pelfrey spent the last seven seasons with the New York Mets and holds a 4.36 ERA in his career.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies are still believed to be looking for their starting center fielder and could be seeking a cheaper alternative to Michael Bourn. Angel Pagan may be their primary target as the 31-year-old isn’t seeking a deal as long or as lucrative. Pagan was a member of the World Series champion Giants and they are believed to be competing with Philadelphia for his services. [UPDATE: The Giants have re-signed Pagan to a four-year, $40 million deal]

Atlanta Braves

The Braves have already been active in this year’s offseason in acquiring B.J. Upton and Jordan Walden. It appears they are still shopping, but could be waiting for the market to play out. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the team may still be interested in Shane Victorino and Angel Pagan, but not at their current prices. They also discussed a trade for Dexter Fowler of the Rockies and that pitcher Mike Minor was requested in return. Sounds like that was more than Atlanta wants to give up.

New York Mets

Believe it or not, the Mets have continued talks with teams about trading 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. It sounds like the 38-year-old is unlikely to reach a contract extension with New York and the team wants to see what they can get with his value as high as it will ever be. These types of scenarios are rare, so it will be interesting to see what the Mets can get for the veteran knuckleballer.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins aren’t going to throw around money like they did last year, but Miami is interested in acquiring some veterans on the cheap for 2013. Juan C. Rodriguez of The South Florida Sun Sentinel has reported the team’s interest in free agent outfielder Mark DeRosa. DeRosa, 37, was a bench player for the Nationals in 2012.

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New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado. 

"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.  

It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars. 

The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold. 

Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season. 

The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado. 

The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx. 

MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk

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Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

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USA Today Sports

Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.

The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs. 

Stay tuned for more information!