The Washington Times - December 5, 2011, 08:55AM

DALLAS — Good morning from the Hilton Anatole. The 2011 winter meetings are set to officially get underway this morning but really, the Miami Marlins did a fine job of getting things off to a raucous start late last night when they kept Jose Reyes in the division for six more years and $106 million dollars.

The Marlins have been drawing an awful lot of comparisons early to the 2010 Nationals who came into the meetings like gangbusters, signed Jayson Werth and began what Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo termed “Phase Two.”


This time around, though, the Nationals are less inclined to drop the biggest bomb. While their money has been spent in rumors two and three times over, the sense I’ve gotten from most Nationals executives is that they plan on being relatively quiet here. The plan is to get what they came for and move on. There are reports that the team has made an offer to left-hander Mark Buehrle — their top free agent target sources said — and that’s no surprise given the in-person visit them made to him prior to Thanksgiving and the fact that he’s also being pursued by the NL East’s newest big boy: the Marlins.

But while rumors will fly several team sources insist they’re not driving the bus for Prince Fielder or C.J. Wilson or Albert Pujols. Things can change, any executive will tell you that, so we’ll see what the official Day 1 of the winter meetings brings. 

Keep it here throughout the day as we’ll be updating this is a running tab of notable news and rumors with a timestamp (local time is one hour behind remember) to have all the good stuff in one place. 

Here’s your first one, a re-hash somewhat of the news that involved the Nationals yesterday: Laynce Nix signing a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

8:00 a.m. (CT) - The Nationals were interested in bringing Nix back, they made a push for him as things got down to the end and Oakland and Boston were also interested but the Phillies offered Nix a two-year deal he couldn’t turn down — the first major league deal he’s ever signed as a free agent — and kept the slugging lefty within the division for at least two more years. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Nix does against the Nationals right-handed pitching after watching him hit opposing righties well for much of 2011. (UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of is reporting that Nix’s deal is for $2.5 million for two years, a significant raise over the $700,000 he made in 2011 with the Nationals. 

8:30 a.m. (CT) - Many reports swirling around Buehrle have his camp stipulating a no-trade clause must be included in any deal the left-hander signs. The Marlins have a policy against this — the same policy the Nationals held during Stan Kasten’s tenure. They made an exception last year for Jayson Werth so it’s not unprecedented they do it again but it’s sure to be a large talking point between the two sides if they get that far. 

11:30 a.m. (CT) - It’s been a pretty quiet morning, rumor-wise. The Nationals officials are holed up in their suite, just like every other team. Not much has changed since this morning. Nationals execs are still scoffing at the idea that they’re in big for Fielder and they remain focused on Mark Buehrle — who has no shortage of suitors.

One interesting report came from Joel Sherman of the New York Post: Roy Oswalt — who is next on the Nationals’ list should should someone else lock up Buehrle — is waiting for Buehrle and C.J. Wilson to sign to see what the market is for him. Apparently he’s aware that he’s become a number of team’s backup plans if they fail to land either of the two left-handers. 

As the Nationals continue their search for trading partners to fill their hole in center field, names like Peter Bourjous, B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan have come up. We’re well aware of the Nationals fondness for Upton, particularly Rizzo who drafted his brother, Justin, in Arizona and I was told by one high-ranking Nationals official this past July that if Bourjous was made available by the Angels they would definitely be interested in the speedy 24-year-old. It’s unclear from a report from whether or not the Angels plan to make Bourjous available as he’s young and controllable but plays the same position as uber-prospect Mike Trout. 

11:40 a.m. (CT) - The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore reports that Nationals catcher Jesus Flores has switched agents from Scott Boras to the group of Barry Praver, Scott Shapiro and Bart Hernandez, who also represent Livan Hernandez. Flores is heading into his third year of arbitration and made $750,000 last season. Flores has intimated that he wouldn’t be thrilled serving as the Nationals backup catcher next season behind Wilson Ramos — though the two are good friends. Flores has been tearing it up in the Venezuelan Winter League and he continues to prove that he is healthy after a devastating shoulder injury took two years of his career away. Flores

7:30 p.m. (CT) - OK so it’s been a longer hiatus than I anticipated between entries but the good news is, there’s plenty to fill you in on.

First, we learned that Nationals left-handed prospect Sammy Solis had visited both with the Nationals’ team doctors as well as renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum to figure out what’s been causing him elbow discomfort.  The Nationals are not jumping to Tommy John surgery just yet — though that’s the layman’s inclination when you hear elbow discomfort and Yocum in the same sentence — but they do expect to have a resolution and a plan in a few days.

Then Nationals GM Mike Rizzo met with reporters and discussed the starting pitching free agent market, the starting pitching trade landscape and the situation in center field.

We also heard from Davey Johnson, who said he’s open to the Nationals letting Bryce Harper compete for a major league spot when he comes to camp this spring. 

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo also told us that while the club has “opened the door” to no-trade clauses by giving one to Jayson Werth last year, they’d prefer not to give them. This is applicable on several levels but mostly because Mark Buehrle is reportedly asking for a no-trade clause from whichever team he decides to sign with. 

More from Davey Johnson’s session with reporters.

9:15 p.m. (CT) - There was an offer… and then there wasn’t. The twitter world was awoken late Monday night when a report surfaced that the Nationals had offered six years to free agent left-hander C.J. Wilson. That report was denied by multiple Nationals sources. So, that’s that.