Washington Nationals Wiretap
Bobby Valentine, speaking via conference call Tuesday from Japan, said he is "totally committed" to his new job as a Baseball Tonight panelist, beginning with the upcoming postseason.
"I've come far enough and done this thing often enough to understand the everyday grind of a major league season has got to be aided by the working relationship with the people you have around you," Valentine, 59, said.
The Nationals, currently being managed on an interim basis by Jim Riggleman, are believed to have at least mild interest in Valentine, who spent the past six years managing Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has compiled a list of free agent targets for the winter.
According to the Washington Post, the list includes Jason Marquis, Randy Wolf, John Lackey, Cliff Lee, Jon Garland, Kevin Millwood, Tim Hudson, Brad Penny, Joel Pi?eiro, Braden Looper, Jarrod Washburn, Brandon Webb, Brett Myers, John Smoltz and many more.
"Some of them have club options that may be picked up," Rizzo told the Washington Post. "But that's a long list. We're going to get one of them."
The Nationals aren't happy with the performance of the bullpen this season.
"I think it's a major point of emphasis for the offseason," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We have gotten better. We kind of revamped the bullpen and the difficult time to do it is during the season. I think we have done a good job of that. We have many more capable hearts than we did at the beginning of the season. But I'm certainly not satisfied with it."
Right-hander Drew Storen could help Washington as soon as next season. The team's second first-round pick in June, behind Stephen Strasburg, has been great.
He is 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA, eight saves and 49 strikeouts in 37 innings for Class A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg.
"We are starting the building process [in the Minor Leagues]. We have the makings of guys we can rely on," Rizzo said.
The Nationals are focused on improving their middle infield defense.
Washington would love to sign Orlando Hudson if he becomes a free agent this winter, but could move Cristian Guzman to second base if they are unable to acquire the Dodgers infielder.
Ian Desmond, one of the team's top prospects, is a possibility to play shortstop in 2010.
The Nationals have been concerned about Guzman's ability to go left all season, something they believe a foot injury has hampered.
"Looking back on it, I think that the problem that he has had with his foot has probably been there longer than [what we thought]," interim manager John Riggleman said. "I think he has played with some discomfort. ... I have to admire him. He has played through it."
Stephen Strasburg took the field with the Nationals on Friday, but only for workouts.
"He's really here because he's kind of at an in-between time," Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman told the Washington Post.
Strasburg will head to the Florida Instructional League later this month.
Nationals Sep 2009 Archive