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Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats still a potential landing spot for Aroldis Chapman?

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Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo was asked this past weekend about how the recent allegations against Aroldis Chapman changed the Nats' interest in the flame-throwing left-hander. Rizzo said their level of interest changed with recent reports...

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The Washington Nationals have reportedly expressed interest in Aroldis Chapman in the past, going years back to when Nats' GM Mike Rizzo scouted the left-hander when he was an international free agent.

Over the years, and earlier this winter, Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals' front office have reportedly inquired about the flame-throwing Cincinnati Reds' closer as they attempted to add arms and depth to the back of their bullpen.

"It's something that we're not going to continue to go after until we find out how things have happened. It's something that we don't want to get into that because of the allegations against him." -Mike Rizzo on rumored interest in Aroldis Chapman

So, Rizzo was asked this past weekend, how has the interest in Chapman chanced since the recent allegations of a domestic dispute emerged?

"It's changed, obviously, with the allegations against him," Rizzo said.

"It's something that we're not going to continue to go after until we find out how things have happened. It's something that we don't want to get into that because of the allegations against him.

"So there [are] plenty of other targets that we have and we're going to move on to those."

In spite of those comments, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman writes today that, "rival executives opine Washington may still make sense for Chapman, who played for Dusty Baker in Cincinnati."

"It isn't known whether the Reds and Nats have spoken about Chapman since news surfaced about his alleged domestic incident, and the Nats could very well want to see how the case plays out before making any move, but folks around the game are speculating Washington may ultimately be the best hope for the Reds to trade their star closer."

The chatter about the Nationals as a potential destination for Chapman, Heyman writes, "may be about little or nothing more than the belief that Nats decision makers are big fans of Chapman."

Dusty Baker managed Chapman early in his career, when both were with the Reds.

"Nats assistant GM Bob Miller was also in Cincinnati when that team signed Chapman out of Cuba," Heyman notes.

Former Nationals' team President Stan Kasten told the Washington Post, when the Nats fell short in their pursuit of Chapman back in 2010, that Rizzo scouted the lefty and liked what he saw.

"We had a private workout with him," Kasten said, "'... liked him as much as any young left-hander he's ever seen.'"

Baker, of course, said in a press conference at the recently-completed Winter Meetings that he would, "... go on record and say I wouldn't mind having Chapman," though he admitted that he had yet to read the full details of the allegations against Chapman at that point and later clarified what he went on to say about hoping the reports weren't true.

Chapman, 27, finished the 2015 campaign with a 1.63 ERA, a 1.94 FIP, 33 walks (4.48 BB/9), 116 Ks (15.74 K/9) and a .179/.291/.235 line against in 66 ⅓ innings.

Over the course of his six-year major league career, Chapman's put up a 2.17 ERA, a 1.97 FIP, 4.37 BB/9 and 15.40 K/9 in 319 innings.

If the Nationals do trade both Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon this winter as they're rumored to be trying to, do they have to go out and get a late-inning arm? Is Dusty Baker going to embrace the idea of a bullpen-by-committee and match up with the available arms?

Are the Reds going to find any trade partners for Chapman this winter, given the nature of the allegations against him and the PR blowback any move is sure to cause?