Nationals to talk Webb deal at Winter Meetings

Nationals to talk Webb deal at Winter Meetings

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are still strong candidates to acquire Brandon Webb's services, according to a baseball source.

Talks between the two parties are not expected to heat up until the Baseball Winter Meetings, which start on Dec. 6.

It's not a secret that Webb has a close relationship with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who drafted Webb in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft when Rizzo was director of scouting with the D-backs, and Phil Rizzo, the senior adviser to the general manager.

Phil Rizzo was the first person who informed the D-backs to keep their eyes on Webb after he scouted the right-hander when he was attending the University of Kentucky. Arizona ended up listening to Rizzo's advice.

Webb has not pitched in a big league game in almost two years because of right shoulder problems. After having surgery last August, Webb was able to throw in the instructional league in late September and October without any problems.

Webb may be a risk worth taking. There was a three-year period where he was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He won the National League Cy Young Award by going 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 2006, and two years later, he won 22 games while posting a 3.30 ERA.

Mike and Phil Rizzo were not available for comment.