The Washington Nationals did, in fact, scout outfielder Yoenis Cespedes before the then-26-year-old free agent signed a 4-year/$36M deal with the Oakland A's in February of 2012.
Washington Post beat writer Adam Kilgore reported that winter that the Nats held a private workout for Cespedes 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."
When Cespedes was available at the non-waiver trade deadline this past July, the Nationals were once again mentioned as a team with interest in the now-30-year-old outfielder:
#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
Cespedes was, of course, dealt to the New York Mets just before the deadline.
In 57 games and 249 plate appearances for the NL East and National League champions, he posted a .287/.337/.604 line, 14 doubles and 17 HRs, finishing the year with a .291/.328/.542 line overall, 42 doubles and 35 HRs in 159 games and 676 PAs, over which he was worth 6.7 fWAR.
He became a free agent this winter and Cespedes is still available, and this afternoon the Nationals were once again mentioned as a team with interest:
Where would Cespedes fit in a Nationals' outfield that currently consists of Jayson Werth, Michael A. Taylor, Ben Revere and Bryce Harper?
Could the Nationals sign Cespedes and deal from their outfield depth to meet other needs? Are you buying the rumors of interest?