C.J. to N.Y. would be OK for D.C.

C.J. to N.Y. would be OK for D.C.
November 16, 2011, 3:27 pm
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The general managers meetings are taking place this week in Milwaukee, and while few (if any) actual deals are struck during this annual event, it does offer a first glimpse into where the Hot Stove League may be headed over the course of the winter.

And yesterday, we got a strong glimpse into where the top free agent pitcher on the market, C.J. Wilson, may be headed: the Bronx.

According to multiple reports from New York beat writers, the Yankees have invited Wilson to come visit them in the near future, possibly before the Dec. 5-8 winter meetings.

The insinuation here: After missing out on prized left-hander Cliff Lee last winter, the Yankees are trying to jump the gun and put a full-court press on Wilson right now, before any other clubs can swoop in and claim Wilson for themselves.

What's the effect on the Nationals? Actually, this could prove worthwhile, because Wilson signing with the Yankees would appear to give the Nats a better shot at landing one of the two pitchers they appear to covet the most: Roy Oswalt or Mark Buehrle.

Sure, the Nationals have some interest themselves in Wilson, but he's not as perfect a fit for this team's needs right now as Oswalt or Buehrle. Remember, GM Mike Rizzo said he's looking for a veteran starter with a strong track record, a "good leader that throws a lot of innings, that has shown that he can win in the big leagues" and can show younger guys "how to pitch 200 innings in a season, many, many times in your career."

That's not Wilson. That's Oswalt or Buehrle. (Though it does need to be pointed out here that Oswalt threw only 139 innings this season due to a back injury.)

The Nationals would probably be happy to let a Yankees team desperate to add a big-name pitcher overpay for Wilson, and in the process take itself out of the equation for Oswalt and Buehrle.

Now, that doesn't mean the Nats would be a shoo-in to acquire either guy. There are still plenty of clubs interested in both veteran hurlers, and the Nats may still be in a position where they need to overpay to land either one.

But if the Nationals' biggest hurdle is convincing big-name free agents to come to D.C. over baseball's highest-profile clubs, it certainly wouldn't hurt their chances to have the highest-profile club of them all take themselves out of the running by signing a pitcher who doesn't really fit Rizzo's profile in the first place.