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Nationals interested in B.J. Upton

The Nationals have had 'initial dialogue' with Upton, who is a potential replacement should Adam LaRoche leave via free agency.

J. Meric

The Washington Nationals are interested in free agent centerfielder B.J. Upton. According to the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, the Nationals engaged in 'initial dialogue' with Upton, with potential for increased dialogue in the future.

Washington's interest in Upton potentially depends on the status of Nationals free agent Adam LaRoche. LaRoche hit 33 home runs and drove in 100 for the Nats last season, and is considered their top off-season priority. However, with the free agent market slim at first base, LaRoche figures to be a hot commodity. The Nationals would have the option of moving Michael Morse to first base, and target an outfielder to replace LaRoche's production.

Upton, 28, is the youngest centerfielder on the market. While his OBP dropped to .298 last season, his .246 average was his highest since 2008. He also hit a career high 28 home runs while stealing 31 bases. He is a plus defender and would allow Washington to move Bryce Harper to left field.

The Nationals may not have long to make their move. Reports are that Upton has already met with the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves, with the Phillies said to be particularly interested.