Oswalt has pitched over 200 innings in a season seven times

December 07 [Wed], 2011, 18:26

"The sense I get in talking to different agent groups is as one guy put it, 'We haven't fallen in love yet,'" Daniels said. "When that happens, I don't know."

Free-agent left hander Mark Buehrle has narrowed his list of teams to five, MLB.com has confirmed, and the Nationals are hoping they are one of those five teams.

A few weeks ago, general manager Mike Rizzo visited Buehrle in St. Louis, and Rizzo hopes he did enough to convince the left-hander that the Nationals are the right fit. According to a baseball source, Buehrle wants a four-year deal. Cheap nfl jerseys    The dollar amount was not available.

The Nationals would like Buehrle on their team so he can help guide a young rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann."I went in there and gave him a presentation about what we are all about, what we are trying to do now, what we are trying to do in the future, what part does he play in it, how his family would be impacted, how we take care of the player's family. It was a well-rounded presentation," Rizzo said. "We showed all the [aspects], not only the baseball team, our chances to win, his position in there, not only as a top-of-the-rotation guy, but as a mentor to our young staff.

"... I thought in the beginning there was a lot of interest, and I thought when we left there was a great interest in the Washington Nationals."

If the Nationals are unable to sign Buehrle, they will go to Plan B: try to sign free-agent Roy Oswalt, who would like a three-year deal, according to a baseball source. Early in the free-agent process, the Nationals were thinking along the lines of a one-year deal loaded with incentives because Oswalt made a career-low 23 starts in 2011 due to back problems.

Oswalt has pitched over 200 innings in a season seven times. This past season, the 34-year-old went 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA. He missed over a month because of back issues. The Phillies declined Oswalt's option, making him a free agent, and the Nationals believe he is still healthy enough to make an impact on the rotation.

During his 11-year career, Oswalt is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA. He has won 20 games in a season twice.

Rizzo is also not close to acquiring a center fielder. Reports surfaced that the Nationals had interest in outfielder Brett Gardner, but the Yankees don't have any intentions of trading him.

B.J. Upton's name also has resurfaced. The Rays want a lot in return for Upton.

"We have a comfort level of the player." Rizzo said. "We know what value we would give up for him -- what goes into that equation is control of the player, what the player makes and what player you are giving up to acquire the player."

If they are unable to acquire a center fielder, the Nationals are seriously thinking about putting Jayson Werth out there and making Bryce Harper the starting right fielder.

In an email to MLB.com and the Washington Post, Werth said he doesn't care what position he plays in the outfield.

"Whatever [number] is by my name on the lineup card, that's where I'll play. I'm comfortable playing all three," Werth said.