The Nationals want to deal for a pitcher and are "aggressively pursuing" a trade for Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, a major-league source tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post .
The Nationals like both pitchers, but have the problem that they don't exactly have the pieces either the Royals or Rays are looking for in return, especially since the team isn't ready to get rid of shortstop Ian Desmond (pictured) or starter Jordan Zimmermann.
"[Desmond] is a guy they think is going to be their shortstop for the next 10 years. That's a really tough guy for them [to trade]. It almost negates getting that pitcher," a source told Kilgore. "Everyone else [aside from Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth] is fair game. They're not going to move Desmond. They'd move [Danny] Espinosa in a heartbeat."
The Nats could get rid of Josh Willingham, but he's arbitration-eligible, Roger Bernadina and even relievers Drew Storen or Sean Burnett. The team could also move catcher Wilson Ramos.
"I don't see Washington having enough to do a deal with Kansas City," the source said. "I don't see that they have enough to offer unless they were willing to discuss a Desmond or a Jordan Zimmermann, and I don't see that happening. I can't see anyone else for Kansas City that gets them excited enough to do it."
The best fit for a Greinke deal, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick writes , could be Toronto, which has expressed interest in the right-hander. The Blue Jays have catching prospects Travis D'Arnaud, J.P. Arencibia and Carlos Perez, plus outfielders Anthony Gose and Travis Snider. The Jays have balked at giving the Royals Snider and Kyle Drabek, the pitcher they got for Roy Halladay.
Crasnick writes the Yankees and Rangers probably aren't a match for a Greinke trade.
The Brewers have also inquired, and the Reds were reportedly interested in Cliff Lee at the trade deadline last season. Cincinnati has the prospects, but not the payroll flexibility to be able to afford the $27 million left on Greinke's contract.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans