Though the Washington Nationals say they are happy with center fielder Rick Ankiel's performance thus far this season, that has not stopped them from looking at other options for the outfield. They are still very skeptical about what they have in the minors, so it is no surprise the Nationals are looking at possible trade options to improve the center spot. The most recent rumor, via FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, has the Nationals being interested in trading for Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder B.J. Upton.
Upton, currently batting .232 with two home runs and five RBI, will be a free agent at the end of 2012 so the Rays are inspired to move him. The Nationals would be interested in Upton taking over the centerfield role, but Upton also has experience at third and second base as well. As Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com notes, the 26-year old might also be enticed by an offer from Washington due to the proximity of the team to his hometown of Norfolk, VA, where third baseman Ryan Zimmerman grew up.
However, while the Nationals have indeed scouted Upton, they are not in any hurry to make a deal and the Rays are not pressed to deal either, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Ladson reports that the Rays will only trade Upton if they fall out of contention and if that happens Upton will certainly attract interest from other teams.
For now, an Upton to D.C. trade is on the back burner, but it would be foolish to think the Nationals have stopped looking to see what is cooking from time to time.