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Nationals, Mets, Rays reportedly discussed deal involving Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar

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FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting tonight that the Washington Nationals, New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays discussed a deal that would have sent Ian Desmond to the New York Mets and brought Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to D.C.

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Ian Desmond seemed to accept the idea that he might be traded this winter when he spoke to reporters at NatsFest in the second week of December.

Washington's 29-year-old shortstop, who's due to hit free agency after this season, said he'd heard the rumors.

"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..." -Ian Desmond on possibility he gets traded this winter

"It's part of the business," he said. "The Nationals didn't get here by sitting still. 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. But as of right now I'm here until 2015 and I'm doing everything I can to work hard and be ready and prepared for 2015."

According to a report by FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tonight, a trade was discussed in recent days that would have sent Desmond to the Nats' NL East rivals from New York.

The bow-tied reporter's sources told him that the deal which was discussed would have sent Desmond to Tampa Bay in return for utility man Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar, who were dealt to the Oakland A's on Saturday, and the Rays would have then flipped Desmond to New York in return for some of the Mets' top prospects.

"The roadblock," Rosenthal writes, "was the Rays’ request for two top Mets prospects from a list of three – a price the Mets considered too steep for Desmond, who is entering his free-agent year."

One of the prospects discussed was New York's no.1 prospect, according to Baseball America, right-hander Noah Syndergaard.

"[The Nationals] evidently preferred the double-play combination of Escobar and Zobrist to Desmond and their current second baseman, Danny Espinosa." -FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal on discussed deal for Ian Desmond

Instead the Rays received major league catcher John Jaso, the A's top prospect according to Baseball America, shortstop Daniel Robertson and minor league outfielder Boog Powell, "... who led the team’s minor leaguers with a .451 on-base percentage at Class A last season," as Rosenthal noted.

The discussions, the FOXSports.com reporter writes, suggest several things.

In the Nationals' case, Rosenthal says that the Nationals were willing to trade Desmond and, "...evidently preferred the double-play combination of Escobar and Zobrist to Desmond and their current second baseman, Danny Espinosa."

Zobrist, Rosenthal says, would have served as a "one-year bridge" to Nats' second base prospect Wilmer Difo and Escobar a bridge to Trea Turner, the prospect to be named later in the three-team trade with the Rays and San Diegeo Padres who is reportedly headed to the Nationals as soon as he can be traded this June.

Also... the Nationals were apparently willing to make a deal that would have resulted in Ian Desmond playing short for the Mets in 2015.

As Rosenthal puts it, "Rival executives say Nats GM Mike Rizzo generally moves aggressively when he knows what he wants in a deal."

That trade certainly would have qualified as aggressive and shaken things up in the nation's capital.

It didn't go down, of course, but that doesn't mean Rizzo is done looking for a second baseman this winter.

Asked about the possibility of another solution at second this morning in an interview on MLB Network Radio, the Nationals' General Manager said, "We never know how we're going to go into camp yet. We still have a lot of time in between. We're still working on a lot of possibilities and with the front office minds that we have here, there's a lot of creativity that goes into a lot of these decisions and we'll see where we end up."