UPDATE: The Nats are out of the Cliff Lee Derby

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UPDATE II: Never mind. Seems the Nats are out.

UPDATE: All kinds of mixed news on this Cliff Lee/Nats stuff. Mark Feinsand of the Daily News reports that, according to a Major League source, the Nationals are going to offer Lee a seven year deal and that the Yankees will not go seven.  Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, however, just followed that up by saying that, while negotiation might happen and the Nats could make a big offer, “a seven year offer won’t be made.”

Either way, I think it’s important to remember one thing here: even if the Nats did go seven years, there’s nothing to suggest so far that it would be bigger on a dollars-per-year basis as a six-year deal the Yankees could offer.  The upshot: this is all fun, but let’s not get too crazy until we hear numbers attached to this stuff.

10:02 A.M.: Buster Olney just tweeted that there is “growing speculation among rival agents and executives that Nats are going to throw a HUGE number at Cliff Lee.”

Like I said earlier this morning, I can’t really see Lee wanting to go to Washington.  But of course, I couldn’t see Werth wanting to go to Washington either. And I couldn’t see Washington going all Dr. Evil and offering billions of dollars to free agents for some damn reason either.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.