Nats unlikely to trade away big leaguers

Nats unlikely to trade away big leaguers
December 7, 2011, 1:22 am
Share This Post

DALLAS -- When approaching other clubs about the possibility of acquiring a center fielder or starting pitcher, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo usually learns the asking price includes young, big-league talent.

To this point, Rizzo has been unwilling to meet those demands. And he appears to be staying true to that belief at this week's Winter Meetings.

Despite interest from several teams in players off the Nationals' roster, Rizzo isn't interested in parting ways with those key pieces who have already established themselves in the major leagues.

"We like the interest level of our organization," he said. "With that said, we try and stay away from our good, young, core group of guys that we're not going to move."

That philosophy may help explain the Nationals' lack of significant trades over the last six months, dating back to the July 31 trade deadline. Though Rizzo has sought players who might immediately help his club -- like center fielders B.J. Upton and Denard Span -- he hasn't been willing to give up major-league players in return -- like Drew Storen and Ian Desmond.

Which isn't to say Rizzo is opposed to trading away young talent in exchange for a center fielder or starting pitcher. He just prefers to deal from his growing stable of minor-league talent at this point.

"We think we have depth in our system," he said. "We have depth in our prospects. When we discuss improvement of our ballclub and when we discuss trades, we're going to discuss from our inventory of prospects and try and stay away if at all possible from the core group of guys we have in the major leagues at this time."

Which may also help explain the stagnant state of talks between the Nationals and Rays over center fielder B.J. Upton. Rizzo has had his eye on the 27-year-old for quite some time, but Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman has all along asked for at least some major-league players in return.

"I don't think much has changed when we've talked about that specific player," Rizzo said today when asked about Upton. "I don't like to talk about specifics or hypotheticals, but I don't think anything has changed on that front. We have a comfort level of the player, and we know what value we'd give up for him."