The Nats are being aggressive in the early trading season

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No deals of note have happened yet, but Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that one team has been blowin’ up other teams’ cell phones:

One rival executive said that while trade talk around the league remains mostly quiet and preliminary, as is typical with more than a month to go before the deadline, Washington has emerged as the most aggressive team.  “They’re calling everybody, trying to do something,” the exec said.  “They’re looking for pitching, and they’re being really aggressive.”

Martino notes that Ricky Nolasco is being made available by the Marlins. While inter-divisional trades are rare, one gets the sense that Miami doesn’t really care about such things if it means moving veterans.

Martino has some other notes about teams who may be competing with the Nats for pitching depth. Check it out.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?