Nationals going after Greinke and Garza

According to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post, the Nationals are aggressively pursuing a trade for Zack Greinke and Matt Garza:

“The Nationals are “aggressively pursuing” a trade for Garza or Greinke, but it is difficult to see them actually pulling it off, a major league source said.

Both pitchers, especially Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young winner, have attracted several suitors. The abundance of teams interested has ratcheted up the price, perhaps higher than the Nationals are willing to go.”

Reports indicate that the Royals are looking for major league ready pitching and middle infield prospects in return for the 2009 Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke. Fortunately for the Nationals, those are the two area’s where the club possess quite a bit of talent and flexibility. They have the ability to do it, but if they want to acquire the Kansas City ace they will have to give up a combination of Jordan Zimmermann/Ross Detwiler and Ian Desmond/Danny Espinosa.

Kilgore says that Washington is very unlikely to trade Ian Desmond, the Nationals rookie who earned a leadership role on the team last year despite his sometimes difficult on the field adjustments. If true, this would be an interesting stand by Rizzo who usually seems to value baseball ability over clubhouse chemistry (Goodbye Adam Dunn). While Desmond, 25, showed solid potential at times last season, he also struggled both at the plate and in the field. He posted a dreadful -8.8 UZR in his first full season at shortstop last year while also only posting a .700 OPS in 574 plate appearances. Despite this, some in the organization believe he will be their shortstop for the next decade.

Kilgore also indicated that the club is not likely to trade Jordan Zimmermann, but that everyone else not named Zimmerman or Werth is pretty much available.

If they are not willing to move either J-Zimm or Desmond (a questionable decision for sure), then that would only leave the potential packed Danny Espinosa and Ross Detwiler in the queue to offer. The big distinction for the Nationals between the former and the later is that the first group has a track record of some MLB success while the second group’s value lies entirely within their future potential. Unfortunately, Kansas City probably sees it the same way as Washington. 

Tampa Bay starting pitcher Matt Garza, 27, likely serves as the Nationals second choice (or third if you cound Cliff Lee). Over the past three seasons Garza, once a top prospect himself, has posted an ERA below four and at least 30 games started each year. The secondary numbers aren’t so good on Garza, however. In that same span he posted FIP’s of 4.14, 4.17. and 4.42 with a shrinking ground ball percentage that sat at 35.8 percent in 2010.