While the Dodgers have made headlines in their pursuit of free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke, another team may have improved its position to make a run at Greinke, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
The Nationals' smart move to acquire Denard Span for pitching prospect Alex Meyer solved GM Mike Rizzo's long-running center field fixation, improved them in left field with phenom Bryce Harper moving there and covered them at first base with Mike Morse ready to move there in case Adam LaRoche leaves for the Red Sox or someone else via free agency.
But the Span trade did something more, it saved the Nationals millions because it meant they weren't going to be in the market for Michael Bourn, who they also liked as a center field option. (Ultimately, Span made more sense for the Nats, too, because top center field prospect Brian Goodwin is expected to be ready in two years.
The Rangers are still considered to be a serious contender for Greinke, but the Angels, who have worked hard in an attempt to retain the pitcher they traded for during last year' pennant chase, maybe out of luck. Danny Knobler reported on CBSSports.com, that the Angels appear to be an "unlikely'' winner in a race that includes three other "determined and wealthy teams with fewer financial constrictions" bidding for Greinke.
The Nats have chased Greinke before.
The Nats love Greinke. They tried hard to trade at least a trio of fine young players, possibly including pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, reliever Drew Storen and infielder Danny Espinosa, and to give Greinke a $100-million deal two years ago before Greinke said no. Greinke told me this summer he rejected the Nationals only because he didn't think they would win, and he appeared to have some misgivings about that call as Washington was en route to the best record in the majors.