B.J. Upton, long a target of the Nationals, is not the team’s only focus in its search for a center fielder.
The Nats also have talked to the Twins about a trade for Denard Span, according to major-league sources.
The Twins possibly could address two needs in such a deal – acquiring a shortstop, Ian Desmond, and a late-inning reliever.
The Nats are unwilling to trade closer Drew Storen and reluctant to trade All-Star setup man Tyler Clippard, sources say.
However, the Twins likely would want better than a right-hander such as Todd Coffey or Henry Rodriguez in a package for Span.
In addition to Upton and Span, the Nats also are looking at the Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus and Astros’ Michael Bourn sources say.
The team considers Desmond a player with promise, but his .584 OPS is the lowest in the National League. Some club officials want to move second baseman Danny Espinosa to short and promote Steve Lombardozzi to second.
Span, 27, is under a club-friendly contract – he is earning $1 million this season, $3 million next season, $4.75 in 2013 and $6.75 million in ’14 with a $9 million club option for ’15.
The concern with Span is that he has not played since June 6 due to a concussion. He currently is on a rehabilitation assignment.