- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2008

LAS VEGAS | As Day 2 of Major League Baseball‘s winter meetings drew to a close, there were indications that the Washington Nationals might be parting with their only pitcher to reach double digits in wins last season. But a deal to send Tim Redding to the Colorado Rockies fell apart, according to a baseball source.

Redding was rumored to be heading to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for outfielder Willy Taveras, whom the Nationals were believed to be interested in as the winter meetings started. Redding is arbitration-eligible and likely would get a sizable raise after going 10-11 with a 4.95 ERA last season.

Rumors have linked the Rockies to Redding since the trade deadline in July. The Nationals had some interest in Taveras, who led the National League with 68 stolen bases last season. But if they trade for Taveras or Carlos Gonzalez, another Rockies outfielder in whom they are rumored to have interest, it likely would mean another deal to help solve their logjam in the outfield.

That news was the biggest for the Nationals on a day filled with discussions - to the point that general manager Jim Bowden postponed a late afternoon media briefing - but those talks had not yielded anything substantive by Tuesday evening.

Team president Stan Kasten said the team remains committed to improving the major league roster, even going so far as to say that the Nationals’ much-discussed plan to bolster their farm system is “complete.”

But they are working in a tepid market with other clubs and agents who are still trying to figure out how to navigate in a depressed economy.

“We’re talking numbers, and obviously, so far, numbers are higher than anything we’ve had interested in,” Kasten said. “Maybe that all needs to get sorted out before we get to the point where people start signing.”

FoxSports.com reported the Nationals might be the high bidder for free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is believed to be seeking a 10-year, $200-million deal. Kasten would not confirm whether the team is in discussions with agent Scott Boras about Teixeira or Manny Ramirez and said Washington’s discussions have not been limited to elite free agents.

“We’re talking about trades. We’re talking about some lower-level guys. We’re talking about everything,” Kasten said.

Young, Cordero in limbo

While the Nationals explored options to bolster their roster, agents for two of their mainstays from the past few seasons - Dmitri Young and Chad Cordero - held little optimism that their clients would return to Washington.

The Nationals non-tendered Cordero after shoulder surgery and removed Young, who missed the entire second half while battling diabetes and conditioning issues, from their 40-man roster after the season. Young still will get the $5 million he is due next season but would have to make the major league roster out of spring training. Cordero is looking at a sizable pay cut.

Agent Larry Reynolds said Cordero is throwing two to three times a week and is progressing ahead of schedule. But with a crowded market for closers, he isn’t planning to discuss Cordero with any teams until after the winter meetings.

“We don’t have any meetings scheduled, and that’s by design,” Reynolds said. “We’re happy with what’s going on with him physically, but we’re just going to get through this, and we’ll probably talk to teams between now and Christmas.”

Reynolds wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Cordero would return to the Nationals at a discounted salary but said he believes there will be enough interest in the right-hander - possibly as a setup man or seventh-inning reliever - that he will be able to pick from several teams.

As for Young, agent Adam Katz said he wasn’t bitter about the Nationals’ decision to outright him to Class AAA Syracuse. He said he hopes Young could return to the team, even though Washington is pursuing free agents like Teixeira and Adam Dunn.

“He can contribute on lots of levels and lots of ways,” Katz said. “I’m hopeful. I have a lot of confidence in Dmitri. I wouldn’t bet against him.”

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