WASHINGTON -- Brandon Webb "remains excited" about the Nationals, according to a baseball source. The Webb camp had talks with the Nationals during the Winter Meetings.
If the Nationals sign Webb, it most likely will be an incentive-laden deal because Webb has not pitched in almost two years because of right shoulder problems. After having surgery last August, Webb was able to throw in the instructional league in late September and October without any problems.
It's not a secret that Webb has a close relationship with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who drafted Webb in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft when Rizzo was director of scouting with the D-backs, and Phil Rizzo, the senior adviser to the general manager. Rizzo was the first person who informed the D-backs to keep their eyes on Webb after he scouted the right-hander when he was attending the University of Kentucky. Arizona ended up listening to Rizzo's advice.
Nationals targeting Lee for first base
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals continue to look for a first baseman and they have expressed interest in free agent Derrek Lee, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com.
If Lee were to go to Washington, it would mean that the team would have an above average defensive first baseman and a character person, who could lead players such as shortstop Ian Desmond and second baseman Danny Espinosa.
Lee could provide power in the middle of the lineup. This past season, Lee played for the Cubs and Braves and hit a combined .260 with 19 home runs and 80 RBIs. He played most of the season with a thumb injury and had surgery after the Braves were eliminated by the Giants in the National League Division Series. Lee is expected to be 100 percent by Spring Training.
Lee is best known for his years with the Marlins and Cubs. He helped Florida defeat the Yankees in the 2003 World Series and was a big factor in the Cubs going to the postseason in 2007 and '08.
During his 14-year career, Lee has a career .282 batting average with 312 home runs and 1,019 RBIs. He has also won three Gold Gloves.
Lee isn't the only player the Nationals are looking at to replace Adam Dunn at first base. They are still in the mix for Adam LaRoche. A source indicated that the two parties are in talks, but are not close to an agreement.
Without saying who he was going after, general manager Mike Rizzo said recently he could be looking for a long- or short-term solution at the position. Rizzo said he is not going to be rushed into any deal.
"We will explore both options, so it expands our pool a little bit more," Rizzo said. "I don't ever want to feel rushed to do a deal. I think when you feel rushed to do a deal, you make a deal that you may not have wanted to do. So we are going to look at our options. We feel there are still good options out there, and we will see where they take us."
Nats expected to talk with Pavano this week
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are still in the mix for Carl Pavano's services, according to a baseball source. The Brewers and Twins are reportedly in the mix for Pavano as well.
The talks between Pavano and the clubs are expected to get serious this week. It will be interesting to see how many years the Nationals offer Pavano. Another source indicated that the Nationals are not willing to give Pavano a multiyear deal.
Pavano, who turns 35 on Jan. 8, led the AL Central-winning Twins with 17 wins in 2010, one victory short of his career high, set in 2004. He posted a 3.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and pitched 221 innings, all of which rank second to that '04 campaign in a season in which he started more than 30 games. His seven complete games and two shutouts were both career highs.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.