The Washington Times - November 16, 2011, 10:51AM

A few notes this morning as the General Managers meetings will complete their final day in Milwaukee…

– So far not much big news has come out of the GM Meetings but the reports from the Washington Post are that the Nationals have met with the agent for Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson, Bob Garber, and plan to meet with the agent for Mark Buerhle, Jeff Berry. None of that should come as a surprise. The Nationals have made no secret that they’re looking for another veteran starting pitcher and those three have long been on their list. 


– Wilson Ramos practiced with his Venezuelan Winter League team Tigres de Aragua on Tuesday, a small act that was momentous at the same time. Ramos, who was kidnapped at gunpoint from his home in Santa Ines last Wednesday, has maintained his desire to play for the Tigres de Aragua this year. He was planning to debut on Wednesday but those plans have been pushed back until next week. Still, he’s beginning the process of moving on.

Here are a few pictures, courtesy of Marfa Mata and Kathe Vilera of Ramos working out with the Tigres on Tuesday — a welcome sight for anyone who even remotely followed his kidnapping ordeal last week. 

At the GM Meetings, MLB Executive VP of Baseball Operations Joe Torre told reporters that the general managers did indeed discuss the issue of keeping players safe in Venezuela, but did not offer much more comment on the topic than that. 

Ramos has asked several times that, as the issue pertains to him, everyone transition back to baseball as he’d prefer not to talk about the kidnapping each day as he tries to move forward. 

– The Nationals will have to decide which of their Rule 5 eligible players they will protect before Thursday night’s deadline. As I wrote last week, one of the most intriguing names on that list is catcher Derek Norris who is all but a sure thing to be added to the team’s 40-man as the Nationals would most likely not risk losing him to another team in the Rule 5 draft. 

Eligibility is tricky to discern for each player but the general rule is that players who signed at age 18 or before have five years in the minor leagues before they need to be protected and those who signed at age 19 or older have four years. 

Here are the rest of the players who will be Rule 5 eligible this year (by my count):

Derek Norris 
Tyler Moore
Josh Smoker
Brad Meyers
Jack McGeary
Erik Komatsu
Steven Souza
Patrick McCoy
Jeff Mandel
Sandy Leon
Chris Curran
Stephen King
J.R. Higley
Jose Lozada

There are several other compelling names on this list like Double-A slugger Tyler Moore, left-hander Josh Smoker, catcher Sandy Leon and Komatsu, an outfielder acquired in the Jerry Hairston Jr. deal with the Brewers this season. Smoker and Leon, though, haven’t played above Single-A so the Nationals will have to decide if they’ll be at the risk of another team selecting either player or if their relative inexperience plays in their favor. Moore and Komatsu could present an interesting decision.

We’ll find out soon enough precisely which players the Nationals will be protecting. They currently have six spots open on their 40-man but if they intend on signing or trading for anyone before the Rule 5 draft they’ll have to be added as well.