LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo talked about Josh Willingham as one of the team's middle of the order hitters in 2011, a second source told MLB.com that Willingham will most likely be traded before the start of the '11 season.
The Nationals would like to get something in return for Willingham, who becomes a free agent after the '11 season. Rizzo already announced that the team is going on a year-to-year basis with Willingham.
Another source went so far as to say that every healthy player on the Nationals' roster, with the exception of Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, are being considered for trade discussions.
Deal sends Morse to Nats' bench
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With Jayson Werth expected to be the Nationals' regular right fielder, Michael Morse will likely start the season on the bench, according to a baseball source. Morse is not being considered to become the everyday first baseman.
This past season, the knock on Morse was that he didn't hit well against the opponent's best pitchers and his swing was too long.
Morse ended up having the best season of his career, hitting .289 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs.
Nationals looking for first baseman
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Washington is looking for a left-handed-hitting first baseman. Carlos Pena remains the team's top target, but it has competition in the Orioles and Cubs.
A baseball source said Pena's first choice is to play for the Rays, the team he played for the last four years. The Nationals are not concerned that Pena hit .196 last year. They like the fact that he is a leader who could help young players such as shortstop Ian Desmond and second baseman Danny Espinosa.
If Pena decides to go elsewhere, look for the Nationals to go hard after Adam LaRoche, another defensive-minded first baseman. He had the best year of his career in 2010, driving in 100 runs for the D-Backs.
Rizzo talks about Dunn
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- General manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged that the Nationals were not going to give Adam Dunn the four-year deal that he received from the White Sox late last week. Money wasn't the only reason the Nationals allowed Dunn to walk away and sign with another team.
"I love Adam Dunn. I love what he brings in the dugout, on the field and in the clubhouse," Rizzo said. "But we have a plan in place. We had a price point where Adam Dunn made sense for us. Beyond that, the terms, the dollars at a point didn't make sense.
"As I've said before, I have a philosophy that we are putting on our ballclub -- pitching, defense, speed and athleticism. That's how we feel championship caliber ballclubs in the National League are built. At a certain point, Adam Dunn made sense. Beyond that, he didn't. We have taken those principles and brought in Jayson Werth because he exemplifies that type of player."
Werth reunited with Riggleman
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- By agreeing to terms with the Nationals, outfielder Jayson Werth was reunited with manager Jim Riggleman.
The two worked together, when both were with the Dodgers in 2004 and '05. Riggleman was a bench coach, while Werth was a reserve who was often injured.
Riggleman said he started talking to general manager Mike Rizzo about Werth toward the end of the '10 season. With Werth in the fold, he will play right field and bat fourth in the lineup.
"Since he has been in Philadelphia, he has been on the field," Riggleman said about Werth. "He has had two years in a row where he led that team in at-bats. He really picked that club up when a couple of the Phillies were hurt last year. Jayson really picked up the slack there."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.