Lefty power, pitching on list for Nats
Washington has sights set on Teixeira but could talk to Dunn
After having the worst record in baseball this past season, the Nationals go into the Winter Meetings with a lot of needs. Here is what they hope to accomplish in Las Vegas.
POWER-HITTING FIRST BASEMAN -- The Nationals are looking for a first baseman with power from the left side of the plate. They have their sights on free agent Mark Teixeira (a swtich-hitter who hit .311 with 26 homers from the left side in 2008), but will talk to Adam Dunn if their top target decides to sign elsewhere.
Washington feels it has enough power from the right side, thanks to Ryan Zimmerman, Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge.
PITCHING DEPTH -- The Nationals are also looking for starting pitching and relief help. As far as the starters go, John Lannan and Scott Olsen are the only pitchers who will likely have a spot in the rotation. Washington also needs a veteran starter who can teach the young pitchers how to win.
After trading Luis Ayala and Jon Rauch, the Nationals are looking for setup men.
Whom the Nationals can or need to trade
The Nationals want a first baseman who can stay healthy, and could entertain the possibility of dealing the oft-injured Nick Johnson before Opening Day. Several teams interested in Johnson have access to his medical records and are monitoring his recovery from surgery on his right wrist.
Washington is also overloaded with corner outfielders, but most of them appear to be untradeable because of injuries. On last year's team, Milledge and Willie Harris were the only corner outfielders on the 40-man roster who ended the season without some kind of injury.
The Nationals are so high on right-hander Jordan Zimmermann that they expect him to be in the starting rotation in 2009. Zimmermann, Washington's second-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, went a combined 10-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 25 games with Double-A Harrisburg and Class A Potomac this season. He led the Washington organization in ERA and strikeouts (134), and finished tied for first in wins.
Other prospects: OF Roger Bernadina, RHP Adam Carr, OF Leonard Davis, LHP Ross Detwiler, SS Esmailyn Gonzalez, OF Justin Maxwell, 1B Chris Marrero, C Luke Montz, and RHP Zechry Zinicola.
Big contracts the Nationals might unload
Austin Kearns, Johnson and Dmitri Young, who played a combined 174 games this past season, will make a combined $18.5 million in 2009. If the Nationals sign Teixeira or Dunn, Johnson most likely will be traded.
Young's future with the Nationals is questionable. He must come into Spring Training in the best shape of his life. If he makes the team, he will be no more than a backup first baseman. Kearns is coming off the worst season of his career, but will likely be the regular right fielder if Dukes has off-the-field problems.
Free agents who will be gone -- not by trade
1B Aaron Boone and LHP Odalis Perez.
RHP Jesus Colome, Harris, Olsen, RHP Tim Redding, Zimmerman, LF Josh Willingham.
The Nats' 2009 payroll will be somewhere in the $60-$70 million range.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.