The Washington Nationals do not only face challenges from other teams in the MLB, but apparently they are facing challenges from other players as well. 

Washington showed great interest in many free agents this offseason.  Names such as Cliff Lee, Jorge De La Rosa, Zack Grienke and Derek Lee were all on the list of targets for the Nationals.  Each player however turned down general manager Mike Rizzo when talks arose. 

Rizzo explains the challenges in the same respect as the old which comes first analogy.

“It shows the difficulty of trying to build something,” Rizzo said. “The only thing that convinces players to come is winning. It’s the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? Do you win and then the players come, or do the players come and then you win?”

So which really does come first? 

This week, Derek Lee agreed to sign with the Baltimore Orioles and turned down the Nationals. The Nationals had a slightly better record than Baltimore last year, which leaves Rizzo puzzled.  The Nationals showed a clear interest in landing the powerful first baseman, but were again unsuccessful. 

While the Nat’s have landed free agents Jayson Werth, Adam Laroche, and Rick Ankiel, they are hardly what was expected in Washington. 

The Nationals are clearly building up a team of the future with prospects such as Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper signing long term contracts to begin their career in Washington.  However Rizzo had a goal this offseason to land big names which could help the team make a push for the playoffs this season. 

Washington has one big target left on the radar.  Reports show that the team is still very interested in Carl Pavano to add more depth to their pitching rotation.  However, another report yesterday conflicted this belief, and Washington looks to be missing out on another top free agent. 

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