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Little movement for rapid-talking Nats

Little movement for rapid-talking Nats

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LAS VEGAS -- General manager Jim Bowden was so busy trying to improve the Nationals on Tuesday that he politely cancelled his afternoon meeting with reporters at the Bellagio Resort.

It turns out that Bowden was trying to make a trade and deal with free agents. In fact, there were published reports that he traded right-hander Tim Redding to the Rockies for center fielder Willy Taveras, but a baseball source said the report was not true because the Nationals are not interested in Taveras.

The source confirmed that the two clubs were in discussions, but Taveras was not part of it. Earlier in the day, the two clubs had been discussing a Redding trade, but it is believed Washington was interested in center fielder Carlos Gonzalez instead of Taveras.

Team president Stan Kasten said there has been a lot of talking at the Winter Meetings, but hardly any movement.

"It's Tuesday night and there is still no deals, so that is slower than usual," Kasten said. "Is it because of the economy, or is it because the top free agents [are not signing quickly]? I don't know. It's the first time I've seen it this slow. I don't have an explanation.

"I don't know if deals get done here this week. I'm sure things are going to carry over into next week and beyond. That is clear."

As is his custom, Kasten declined to say what the Nationals were doing in terms of trades and free agents, but they are still after first baseman Mark Teixeira. Some believe the team made him an offer, but no one in the organization is talking.

First baseman/outfielder Raul Ibanez and closer Brian Fuentes, both free agents, have been mentioned as targets for the Nationals. Manny Ramirez continues to pop up as a person the Nationals are looking at, but another baseball source said this afternoon that Ramirez is not on the team's radar.

"We are talking numbers with agents, but so far, the numbers are still higher than anything we have had interest in or else we would make a deal," Kasten said. "I think agents are still asking for what they think they might have gotten in the past.

"Personally, I won't be unhappy if we move the next phase away from this [Winter Meetings] setting -- I never liked this auction setting with agents all in one place," Kasten said. "So next week, when agents are back on the phone, we will talk to them one at a time. That will not be a bad thing."

Kasten reiterated that the Nationals' farm system has been fixed and said they can now work on improving the big league club, which lost 102 games this past season.

"We think we have the Minor League part done. We can now turn our attention on the Major Leagues," Kasten said. "We are trying, but it takes a while. It may get done this week. It may not get done this week."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }
{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }
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