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With the winter meetings hosted in his own backyard, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is swinging for the fences.
Rumored to be interested in both Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Rizzo is reportedly trying to acquire both All-Stars and believes he has the prospects to pull off both trades, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.
The White Sox have been shopping Sale, but the asking price is said to be extreme, with the return expected to require a club’s No. 1 prospect along with two other highly regarded young players. At present, the Nationals’ main competition for Sale appears to be the Atlanta Braves, after the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers reportedly backed off due to the asking price.
The Nationals and Pirates have been in discussion with McCutchen over the past week, with Pittsburgh said to be asking for Washington’s top outfield prospect Victor Robles in return.
Adding the duo would make the Nationals the clear favorites to repeat in the National League East. Despite winning the division last season, there’s reason for some urgency for Rizzo. The club hasn’t advanced past the Division Series in the 12 years since moving to Washington, and only has Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy locked up for the next two seasons.
The Nationals are loaded with young talent and have the pieces to execute both deals, though it would likely clean out their minor-league system. Right-hander Lucas Giolito (No. 3), Robles (No. 10), right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (No. 37), and right-hander Erick Fedde (No. 75) are all ranked within the top-100 prospects, according to MLB Pipline.