Former Washington Nationals' GM and current ESPN analyst Jim Bowden wrote this weekend, in grading all 30 MLB teams on what they accomplished at the Winter Meetings, that the Nats' grade was pending since they had not yet signed any of their soon-to-be free agents like Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, who are two of five key Nationals set to hit free agency after the 2015 season, and hadn't yet found the infielder they are rumored to be after this winter.
Bowden did, however, report that the Nationals were willing to deal Desmond or Zimmermann if they couldn't agree on long-term deals with either and he added that there were rumors that there was, "... a lot of dialogue of a possible blockbuster that would send Ian Desmond to Seattle, but the Mariners' reluctance to include Taijuan Walker has made it difficult."
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal had previously reported on rumored discussions between the defending NL East champs and the Mariners which focused on 25-year-old Seattle infielder Brad Miller, but, he wrote on Twitter that the talks had, "... yet to gain traction."
In an article this morning, Rosenthal updated those rumors, writing that one of the deals discussed was for both Desmond and Zimmermann:
"[The Nationals] recently engaged in multiple conversations about both players with the Mariners, according to major-league sources. One of the many ideas the Nats proposed was Zimmermann and Desmond for right-hander Taijuan Walker and shortstop Brad Miller, sources said."
The Mariners, Rosenthal writes, "balked, unwilling to absorb $27.5 million in salary when they still need to find a right fielder for next season," and Seattle, "... did not want to yield five years of control on Miller and six on Walker while potentially getting both Zimmermann and Desmond for only one year, sources said."
Rosenthal also said sources told him the Nationals talked to the Boston Red Sox and other clubs about Zimmermann while "targeting young talent."
Desmond acknowledged this weekend that he heard the rumors, telling reporters at NatsFest it was all part of the business of baseball.
"It's part of the business," Desmond said.
"The Nationals didn't get here by sitting still. [Nats' GM] Mike [Rizzo] has done a great job since Day 1. He's going to do what's necessary and if me being moved is part of that, then so be it."
Zimmermann said he was tuning out the chatter.
"I'm really not listening to it," he said.
"I'm here for another year and I'm just getting ready for next year. That's the main focus right now."
Zimmermann did say that he remained open to the possibility of an extension.
"If it's a fair value, like I have said all along, I would gladly sign," Zimmermann said. "But at the end of the day, it's gotta be something that's fair and if it's not, then I'll be moving on."