The Nationals, in serious discussions to trade outfielder Josh Willingham to the Athletics, are trying to clear money for other pursuits, major league sources say.
Among the team’s possibilities:
- The acquisition of a major starting pitcher. The Nats are one of the clubs pursuing Royals ace Zack Greinke and reportedly are interested in Rays righty Matt Garza, as well. They also have been on the periphery of the bidding for free-agent right-hander Carl Pavano.
- The signing of a first baseman. Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee both are on the Nationals’ wish list. They are targets for the Orioles and Padres, as well.
- The addition of a closer. Not a major area of need, but one rival general manager says he would not be surprised if the Nationals bid on free agent Rafael Soriano.
The Nats do frequent business with Soriano’s agent, Scott Boras, who represents their two most recent No. 1 draft picks — right-hander Stephen Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper — as well as their new centerpiece, right fielder Jayson Werth.
The addition of Soriano or another free-agent closer could give the Nats a powerhouse bullpen, with righties Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard and lefty Sean Burnett performing in setup roles.
— Ken Rosenthal