The Washington Nationals scouted Yoenis Cespedes before the free agent outfielder signed a 4-year/$36M deal with the Oakland A's in February of 2012.
Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore reported that winter that the Nats held a private workout for the outfielder at, "... their Dominican academy in Boca Chica," with, "both [GM Mike] Rizzo and Nationals international scouting director Johnny DiPuglia," in attendance according to "a source with knowledge of the workout."
"We've scouted him quite a bit," Rizzo told ESPN980's Thom Loverro that winter.
"Our professional scouts have seen him play in all the international tournaments," Rizzo said. "I think we've got a log of 26 actual games that we've seen him play in live. I went down to the Dominican [Republic] about a month or so ago now and had a private, personal workout with him. He's a very impressive-looking player. He's a big, physical, strapping guy. Kind of on the lines of an NFL running back or outside linebacker. He's about a 5'11'', 200 lb center fielder. He moves great, he runs well and he's got all the skills that can translate into being a good major league player."
Through four major league seasons, the now-29-year-old outfielder has a combined .269/.317/.473 line with a 162-game average of 34 doubles and 28 home runs.
He's also been traded twice in the last year, first from the A's to the Boston Red Sox and then on to the Detroit Tigers in the Rick Porcello deal this past December, and he's also set to become a free agent after this season and he can't receive a qualifying offer since his contract stipulates that he can become a free agent.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman tweeted this afternoon that he was hearing talk of the Nationals' interest in Cespedes:
#Nats could be a possibility for cespedes. mike rizzo loves him. mets also make sense. price tag understandably high.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 31, 2015
Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga quickly took a pin to that balloon, however:
I'm told Nationals do NOT have interest in Detroit OF Yoenis Cespedes.— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) July 31, 2015
Where an everyday outfielder would fit on the Nationals now is one of the obvious problems with the idea of adding a player like Cespedes with Jayson Werth, Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper left to right right now, Denard Span expected back (when exactly is not clear), Clint Robinson (1B/LF) and Tyler Moore (1B/LF) already on the roster.
Will the Nationals make another addition before this afternoon's non-waiver trade deadline? They already added Jonathan Paplebon to the back of the bullpen. Will they do anything else?
When Rizzo was asked about the Nats' plans earlier this week in an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, he reminded the show's hosts and everyone listening that today's deadline is just one deadline.
"We've got a lot of things that we're talking about, internally discussing," Rizzo said.
"I don't think there will be any major shifts in the lineup or in the rotation or in the bullpen. If we have a chance to upgrade in any one given part of our roster we certainly will look at it."
"We all make a big deal of the July 31st trade deadline," he said. "We've made trades before that deadline. We've made good trades after the deadline. This is just 'a deadline'. It's not 'the deadline'.
"And we're going to continue to try and improve our baseball team any way, shape or form we can."
For what it's worth, however, the Nationals' main rivals for the NL East division crown are reportedly currently making a push for Cespedes:
mets making push for cespedes. http://t.co/VKA0qpdNxG— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 31, 2015