Before he traded 25-year-old utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi and 22-year-old lefties Ian Krol and Robbie Ray to the Detroit Tigers this winter, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told nationals.com writer Bill Ladson that there was interest around the league in a number of the Nats' talented young players.
"'We have a lot of desirable assets in the Minor Leagues,'" Rizzo told the MLB.com's Nationals beat writer. "'We also have young Major League talent. I know we have had a lot of discussions with teams that like our players, our depth.'"
An unnamed "Astros official" told MASN's Dan Kolko at the Winter Meetings in December that Houston's manager had interest in Lombardozzi before he was dealt.
"Bo Porter apparently really likes Lombardozzi's skillset and had hoped to bring him to Houston," Kolko reported.
Porter was, of course, a coach in Washington before he left for the manager's job in Houston.
Lombardozzi isn't the only young National that has previously been mentioned as a target for the Astros.
As far back as November 2012, then-Nats' skipper Davey Johnson said Porter called to ask about Tyler Moore's availability:
Davey Johnson said #Astros' Bo Porter called to ask if the #Nats would trade Tyler Moore to HOU. "Forget it, no chance." @mlbnetworkradio— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) November 14, 2012
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote this winter that the Nats were one of three teams the 'Stros should look to in their search for a first baseman.
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"The Astros could look at the Nationals’ Tyler Moore, who played for ‘Stros manager Bo Porter in Washington when Porter was a coach with the Nationals," Rosenthal wrote then.
Moore's name came up again today when ESPN.com's Jayson Stark wrote on Twitter that Houston was calling around to check on some first basemen around the league:
#Pirates aren't only team looking for 1B. #Astros calling around on group that includes Mike Carp, Mayberry, Tyler Moore. All unlikely fits— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) March 18, 2014
Moore, 27, is fighting for a spot on the Nationals' bench this spring. He's also the primary backup at first behind Adam LaRoche.
The Nats' '08 16th Round pick out of Mississipi State debuted in the majors in 2012, posting a .263/.327/.513 line with nine doubles and 10 HRs in 75 games and 171 plate appearances over which he was worth +0.6 fWAR.
The slugger struggled in the same role last season, however, with a .222/.260/.347 line, nine doubles and four home runs in 63 games and 178 PAs in a -1.2 fWAR campaign.
In each season of his first two major league seasons, Moore has made a trip to Triple-A Syracuse, where he's found his swing before returning and hitting at the major league level.
When he came back from a long stint with the Nats' top affiliate last August, Moore went on a run, putting up a .344/.375/.459 line with four doubles and a home run over his final 65 PAs.
Would the Nationals consider dealing Moore with Ryan Zimmerman the top option to back up LaRoche if they do? Matt Skole's the top first base prospect in the organization, but the 24-year-old 1B/3B is coming off a lost season in which he suffered a torn UCL and wrist fracture in his right (non-throwing) arm. Has 30-year-old first baseman Brock Peterson shown enough this spring? Would the Nationals really consider dealing Tyler Moore?