There were reports this winter that the Washington Nationals were interested in Ben Zobrist before he was dealt to the Oakland A's by the Tampa Bay Rays, but Washington Post reporter James Wagner wrote that though the Nationals were in the market for a second baseman at that point, they, "...sensed, around the time of the winter meetings, that it would be too difficult to pry [Zobrist] away from the Rays."
The Athletics eventually acquired Zobrist and infielder Yunel Escobar from the Rays in return for minor leaguers Boog Powell and Daniel Robertson and catcher John Jaso, then flipped Escobar to the Nationals four days later in return for reliever Tyler Clippard.
Escobar was acquired with the intention of having him play second base in the nation's capital, though he moved over to third base when Anthony Rendon was injured this Spring. Rendon returned from DL last night, and Escobar left the game with a wrist injury, but the more pressing injury issue for the Nats right now is the absence of Jayson Werth, who suffered two small fractures in his wrist when he was hit by a pitch during Washington's trip to San Diego three weeks back.
Werth is expected to miss at least two months.
According to reports from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal this afternoon, the Nationals have once again inquired about Zobrist's availability, reaching out to their frequent trade partners in the A's front office:
The Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees have also been mentioned recently as teams with interest in the 34-year-old super-utility man, who missed over a month after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn left meniscus, and has played just 23 games with the A's this season. In 2014, the 10-year veteran, who will be a free agent after this season, put up a .272/.354/.395 line with 34 doubles, three triples and 12 HRs in 146 games and 654 plate appearances in a +5.6 fWAR campaign with the Rays.
Writing about the rumors involving the Cubs last week, however, Chicago Sun Times' reporter Gordon Wittenmyer wrote last week that A's GM Billy Beane hasn't conceded anything yet:
"While it’s widely expected the last-place A’s will be sellers, industry sources say ... general manager Billy Beane has not yet conceded and, consequently, not made Zobrist available. They’ve lost an astounding 15 one-run games, with several key players on the disabled list early. And they’ve told teams they believe they have a chance to get healthy and go on a run."
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