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Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats reportedly pursuing Yoenis Cespedes

How exactly Yoenis Cespedes might fit in the nation's capital is unclear, but's Ken Rosenthal's sources tell him that the Washington Nationals "are indeed pursuing the slugger." Will the Nationals make a big splash in the free agent market again this winter?

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' left fielder Jayson Werth, who turns 37 this May, talked earlier this winter about being healthy and ready for the 2016 campaign, which will be his sixth in D.C.

Werth's fifth season in the nation's capital began with the veteran outfielder recovering from offseason surgery on his right shoulder. Just as he got going, he got hit by a pitch and suffered fractured bones in his wrist which led to a two-month DL stint.

"Until I feel like I can't play every day, I have no other reason to think I can't go out there and do what I've always done..." -Jayson Werth on preparing for the 2016 campaign in D.C.

In spite of all the injuries over the course of his career, however, especially to his wrist, he said he was still capable of playing every day in the majors, though he said he knew it wouldn't last forever.

"At some point it's not going to be the case," Werth said. "It's just the reality of it. Until I feel like I can't play every day, I have no other reason to think I can't go out there and do what I've always done, so I feel good, I feel healthy. The wrist thing is tricky. I've had three surgery and four fractures. It's a real thing. You can't outrun Father Time. I know I'm at the end of my career, more so than the beginning, so I know at some point... but I don't feel like I'm slowing down any time soon."

But what if the Nationals did actually sign Yoenis Cespedes this winter?

Werth or one of the other outfielders in Washington moving into a bench/part time role is one of the possibilities's Ken Rosenthal discussed last night in an article about the Nationals' rumored interest in the 30-year-old free agent outfielder and how things might work if the Nats added Cespedes to the mix.

A year after the Nationals shocked the baseball world by signing Max Scherzer, and after already signing Daniel Murphy this winter, are they once again going to land one of the top free agents on the market?

"The exact market for Cespedes remains unclear," Rosenthal wrote, "but the Nationals are indeed pursuing the slugger, according to major-league sources."

After checking in on both Jason Heyward (who reportedly received a $200M offer from the Nats before signing with the Chicago Cubs) and Justin Upton (who signed a 6-year/$132.75M deal with the Detroit Tigers this week), GM Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals' front office are reportedly still in the market for outfield help.

"The team’s offer to Cespedes is said to be for less than the Tigers gave Upton," he notes, but, he adds, "Nats ownership is intrigued by Cespedes, sources said."

After adding Ben Revere in a trade with Toronto, however, the Nationals have the left-handed hitting outfielder, Werth, Michael A. Taylor and Bryce Harper on the roster. So how would the potential addition of Cespedes work?

"The addition of Cespedes likely would mean that either he or Harper would be in center. The Nats, however, want Revere to play regularly -- they acquired him in part to be their leadoff man. Perhaps Revere and Werth could share time in left, with Revere occasionally rotating into center and even right to rest Harper.

"A trade of Werth would appear highly unlikely."

"Cespedes could hit behind Harper," Rosenthal writes, "otherwise, that role might fall to a player who is frequently injured, Werth or first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. However [Dusty] Baker lined it up, the Nats would feature a deep, dangerous group."

Rosenthal's sources say the other teams reportedly still in the market at this point, the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets, "... remain interested in Cespedes, but only are willing to offer him three-year contracts," so the, "... Nats possibly could land Cespedes with a longer deal, assuming no other teams are involved."

Cespedes is coming off a 6.7 fWAR, .291/.328/.542, 42 double, six triple, 35 HR campaign with the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets, who acquired the outfielder in a non-waiver deadline deal.

Will the Nationals make another big splash this winter and sign the top outfield bat left on the market? Rizzo said he liked the roster after the Revere deal, but as always left open the possibility of further moves.

Is the fact that this rumor is in print a sign that it's not likely to happen considering the way the Nationals' GM usually conducts business?