Nats interested in free agent Jacobs
Slugging first baseman struggled with Royals last season
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday on the MLB Network that he has interest in free-agent first baseman Mike Jacobs.
When reached by phone, the left-handed-hitting Jacobs, 29, sounded like a person who could still play every day.
"The Nationals were one of the first clubs I talked about with my agent," Jacobs said. "I feel I would be a good fit in that lineup, especially with what they already have there. It's a pretty good lineup. It's a place that I would love to go."
Jacobs is coming off the worst season of his career, hitting .228 with 19 home runs and 61 RBIs for the Royals. His best year came in 2008 with the Florida Marlins, when he hit 32 home runs and drove in 93 runs.
Asked if he was willing to come off the bench with the Nationals, Jacobs said, " At this point, I'm not sure. Coming off a down year, you obviously [have] to prove yourself again. When you look at my season when I hit 32 home runs and drove in 90-something runs, the reason I was able to do that was because I was given at-bats to do it.
"I truly believe, as a power hitter, you need to have your at-bats. If you don't get your at-bats consistently, you are not going to be as productive as you need to be. I feel I'm pretty young. I feel like I have a lot left in the tank. I need that opportunity to get those at-bats. If [being a reserve] was the only way, then I would have to make that decision."
In the same interview on the MLB Network, Rizzo also said he has interest in right-hander Jon Garland and Orlando Hudson, but didn't reveal if he was going to acquire those players.
The Nationals went to Ben Sheets' workout on Tuesday. One person familiar with the workout said Sheets' fastball was clocked at 87-92 miles per hour, but he needed to get into better pitching shape.
According to published reports, Sheets is looking for an $8 million contract for 2010, but it's doubtful the Nationals will give him that kind money, because he's had problems staying healthy during his career.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.