Jan 5, 2011, 12:40 PM EDT
Carl Pavano has been linked to the Nationals for nearly the entire offseason, with recent reports suggesting that he’s basically narrowed his choices down to Washington or Minnesota, but in talking to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post yesterday general manager Mike Rizzo surprisingly downplayed the Nationals’ interest:
I hear we are “the finalist” along with the Twins. We’ve never spoken to Pavano and we haven’t talked to his agent since the winter meetings.
The “we’ve never spoken to Pavano” part is essentially meaningless, because as Rizzo indicated any contract talks would technically go through his agent. However, the notion that the Nationals “haven’t talked to his agent since the winter meetings” in early December is hugely surprisingly given the constant stream of reports since then linking Pavano and the Nationals.
Rizzo is either playing coy and being intentionally misleading regarding the Nationals’ pursuit of Pavano or the Twins should be considered heavy favorites to re-sign the 35-year-old right-hander.